Is this offer legit or not?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by jrthebassguy, Mar 18, 2003.

  1. I recorded one of own songs on ( and I got this email today. While I'd love to take this offer seriously I don't know if its legit or not...what do yall think?

    This is a message for Jake Rawls Demos from Mike D <email address withheld>

    I just heard you for the first time on IUMA and was wondering if you would like to contribute anything to a soundtrack I've been working on for one of my independent films -

    If this is not possible I would be open to any other work you may be so generous to allow us to feature -

    Feel free to visit my website for details -


    I am writing, directing, producing and starring in
    Twilight Harvest: From the Legend of Samhain -

    Here is more info on the Samhain Movie -

    I have contacted various artisits/creative consultants who seem very eager to contribute something. The Team has been pulling together Musicians, Writers and various other Artists that will be brought on-board via e-mail, cell-phone and if necessary on-location during the filming process (for continuity purposes and formal introductions to the Team).

    This is the Third film in a series that began as an homage to the 80's slasher flicks. It has now turned into my mission to create a film introducing for the first-time ever local Exeter (Rhode Island) Vampire folklore/history (Mercy Brown in particular) along with the Legend of Samhain created by Timothy Whitfield founder of Timberwolf Digital.

    Most of the interested parties that have contacted me asked the same question - I have a limited budget and will be able to help compensate for material costs only until we receive additional funding sources that we have been in-touch with.

    This is an independent feature that will be shot on-location at the circa 1755 BLACK HORSE TAVERN in Exeter, RI. This Tavern was also the home of the Brown Family, notably Mercy, who was thought to have been a vampire due to mysterious illnesses that struck her family after her death. As local folklore has it, the townspeople were so disturbed by this that they went ahead and exhumed Mercy's Grave (still in the Chestnut Hill Baptist Church graveyard). Even more disturbing was the fact that her body did not show any signs of decay and was noted to be full of blood. The townspeople of Exeter went ahead and cut out Mercy's Heart and burned it on a rock in that very cemetery.

    That is my motivation so far and I hope it has yours also.

    All the best -

    Mike DeFrancesco
    Timberwolf Digital

    P.S. - The Mercy Brown story was also the motivation for a more famous Vampire Legend... "Dracula".

    Mike DeFrancesco
  2. secretdonkey


    Oct 9, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Sounds like he's basically saying that he's doing an indy film and can't really pay much if anything, but is hoping people will contribute music mainly for the sake of exposure.

    I'd probably go along with it if I wanted to get some exposure and didn't have any realistic prospects for better things for the material (i.e., no real prospects for a record deal or selling the song to someone else, etc.). I'd get something in writing that assures that you will receive credit in the film, and that you're authorizing your music to be used only in a certain film and that you retain all rights not specifically granted to him, yadda, yadda. I'm sure others will chime in and insist on entertainment lawyers and formal contracts, but this sounds pretty low budget and informal to me.

    Is this guy legit? Who knows? How do you define legit? I didn't check out his website, but that might give a clue.

    Did he carefully review your material and write you because he thought your song would be perfect, or is he mass mailing every Tom, Dick and Harry with a demo, with the thought that he'll throw some mud at the wall and then sort through what sticks? Who knows?

    What's the worst that could happen? I guess the film could be wildly successful and you still wouldn't get paid. Perhaps your song could get used for some other film, or get put on a soundtrack, and you'd have to sue to try to secure your interests.

    I dunno, so I'll stop rambling now. ;)

    Here's to it being something worthwhile, FWIW. :)
  3. Ziggy


    May 9, 2001
    Orange County, CA

    I see these type of ads all the time in the trades... I'm not making a living playing the bass, and freelance operator and 1st / 2nd A.C. for other income.

    SecretDonkey seems to see where this is going, or is it coming from?? As I read the email message, this is a "digital", independent short. (no more than 20 - 30 minutes total running time) That being the case, it's likely to have very little budget, and certainly not anything set aside for music rights. At best, you might get some type of "deferred" payment, of which, is just a nice way of saying "we can't pay you".

    Yes, you wil receive notice in the end credits and, unless otherwise pre-arranged, a VHS copy of the finished project. But, how much and which part of your music are they thinking of using?? Whatever length of music you provide them - unless it's used in the opening or end credits, will most likely end up as short 10 seconds or so transition. Or; even worse, some almost uninteligible background music for a lounge or bar scene...

    Depending how you feel about where your music gets heard, I would ask for a copy of the script. Or; atleast a synopsis and first ten-pages... assuming there is atleast that many. Read and / or check out the website url he sent along and be sure you're comfortable with your music being used in the project. If reads or sounds like some kind of 'teenage' cut em' up, shlocky story, you might be better to say; .."thank you for the the offer, but I'll have to decline... feel free to contact me about any future projects you may have a need for original music."

    Be sure to get any financial 'promises' in writing and always request, at least a vhs tape copy of the project. (if you decide to make a career change and start writing for films, ask for a beta-sp or digital tape for editing your demo.

    Hope this helps,
    michael s.
  4. I agree with Ziggy in that the most important thing is to make sure that your music is used in an appropriate fashion.

    I don't think you have to worry about the filmmaker's becoming rich off your music. I recently completed some producer courses at the Vancouver Film School and was fortunate enough to have a very famous Canadian director teach the course. Based on what she taught and the post-class conversations, I would say that the filmmakers will lose money on the film. If it does make money, chances are the profits will be sucked up by the distributors before they see a single penny. But still protect your music legally...get it all in writing.

    Indie filmmakers face greater challenges than indie music artists so I would say "go for it" if you felt comfortable with the project.