Actor & Model Photo Release Form Templates

This post is part of the series AdHack Essential Files for Ad Creators.

There are precious few absolute blacks and whites in the law, only shades of gray. But in a way, this is not a bad situation. Indeed, if the law were exact, allowing all of us to predict the legal outcome of every event, there would be no need for lawyers. And without lawyers, of course, we would have no lawyer jokes.

You can use a simple agreement to protect yourself from invasion-of-privacy lawsuits brought by your actors (or even bystanders) in your video productions. The agreement is called a release. By signing the release, the person waives the right of privacy and cannot sue you at a later date for copying or exhibiting the tape. Below you will find two versions.

One for when your paying actors, and one for when you ask really really really nice and get someone to work for fre

We recommend you use the "paid work" form if you don't know the people very well, and want a little extra security. Even if you're not paying anyon

Since courts avoid having to determine whether compensation is adequate, it can hold a contract valid if the performer receives any consideration. Even $1.

So, if you want to include any part of a person (image or voice) or the person's property you should have them sign a release, and when possible give them 1$. (Keep a supply of releases in your camera bag.)

It's well worth a dollar to stay out of court.


Question about video actors/release

Submitted by Mark (not verified) on Wed, 04/20/2011 - 6:58pm.

I recently made my first video, home movie using friends as actors. We actually had extra people want to join in, I had releases already printed. Everybody signed except one friend who helped recruit, film carry props etc. Now that the film is complete he's acting like a pompous ass, saying you didn't have a release signed by me. The film does not show any deformation, he read the lines did his part. I have several hours of video out takes that will never be shown showing his 100% cooperation. He is making false claims to me online, everyone in it will be disapointed if they can't see it etc. It isn't that he don't like it or his performance, he thinks I should sell copies, and give him money for helping. I don't want to do it, everyone volunteered, including him. I'm paying a friend to edit it. What should I do? 

Get the release!

Submitted by James Sherrett on Mon, 04/25/2011 - 6:09am.

Simply put, you have to get his release to show his likeness.

If your friend refused to give his release, remind him that without it you can't show the work to the world.

If he still refuses, tell him that everyone on the project will be disappointed that you can't show the work.

If he still refuses, then tell everyone on the shoot publicly that you can't show the work and the reason why -- because your friend refuses to sign the release.

Make sure to include a way for your friend to save face at each stage above by signing the release.

Then always get the release for any future work.

Good luck!

Remember, in this industry there are no friends.

Submitted by Tim Doughty (not verified) on Tue, 01/10/2012 - 1:01am.

Get the guy drunk, massage his precious ego, tell him how wonderful he is and how you're going to give him a super wonderful place in the end credits. Get him to sign the release, then when it's signed and sealed, F*ck that prick right off and never speak to him again. In fact, once he's signed the form, I'd advise a liberal punch to the face for good measure.
Idiots like this abound in this dog eat dog industry. We have to deal with worthless turds like him every day.

Learn your lesson well, black and white is your friend, and nothing else

Reply to comment | AdHack

Submitted by this website (not verified) on Thu, 08/09/2012 - 9:32pm.

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Blur his face

Submitted by Nicholas Cox (not verified) on Mon, 02/06/2012 - 2:51pm.

Blur his face

Not only blur his face, but

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 02/17/2012 - 10:20am.

Not only blur his face, but you have to change his voice - do a voice over.  You need to change enough of his presence everywhere so that nobody would know it is him.

Release forms

Submitted by Stephanie (not verified) on Sun, 07/22/2012 - 7:52am.

Thanks, your article helped me understand, but I just wanted to let you know that all of the document links above are of the same document. They are all for unpaid actors. Would it be possible to post the "paid" actor one?

Again, thanks.

Offer a percentage of nothing

Submitted by steveorg (not verified) on Wed, 11/21/2012 - 8:20am.

If you do not intend to make any money with it, just have him sign a contract where he receives something like 5% of the profits. That would be $0.

Make sure it's profits and not gross. That would give you the ability to collect small amounts and offset it with your costs before calculating his non-existent share.

You may even be able to offset the value of your time. I'm not a lawyer, so you may want to confirm if this offset is kosher with an attorney.

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