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Shades of Gray

TV or Not TV

On April 12th, I got an email from a casting director (I’ll call her Ann) asking me to appear in a TV “docu-series”.  She had read in my blog that I found a half-sister I had never known about and she wanted to use my story in a documentary she was making about family secrets.

Once I figured out, thanks to LinkedIn, that she was a legitimate professional, my inner “ham” took over and I agreed to participate.

I worked with Ann for more than a month.  I persuaded my half-sister and other family members to participate.  We had two long Skype interviews to make sure I was a reasonable candidate for TV.  Finally, we set Tuesday for the taping to take place in New York at my 95-year-old sister’s apartment.  Ann advised me not to wear all black, all white, prints or stripes. 

 On Monday, eight days before the taping, Ann sent me a release to sign, scan and email back to her.  Well, it was a busy day at work, and I didn’t get to it. 

That evening, my half-nephew called.  He and his wife were going to participate in the documentary, and a film crew was flying to Minnesota the next day.  He asked me if I had signed the release, and I said I hadn’t got around to it yet.  He advised me to read it.

The release included phrases like:

            I expressly waive any and all moral rights I may have in connection with my appearance…

It also said that they had the right to reveal information about me that was

         …defamatory, disparaging, and/or embarrassing… 

Needless to say, there were no rights for me.

I immediately sent Ann an email saying that I couldn’t sign the release.  The producer called and said the release was standard and that I shouldn’t worry.  She said that the lawyers would not change a word.

And so, thanks to the lawyers, it will not happen.

I felt very sad for the next 24 hours.  And then I felt better.  My sister and I have made plans to get together this summer to make up for the television-taping-that-didn’t-happen. 



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Good for you for not signing. More people should read and refuse to sign forms that include lines like this. Wynne

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Good for you for not signing. More people should read and refuse to sign forms that include lines like this. Wynne

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