A dumb question concerning DVD commentaries

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Gary_O, Sep 9, 2001.

  1. Gary_O

    Gary_O Stunt Coordinator

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    For the most part are the participants of DVD commentaries paid for their commentary in order to persuade them to do it or do they do it for their love of the film??
    I was wondering about this the other day and it got me curious as to whether directors/actors voluntarily did commentaries or if they had to be persuaded into doing so through being paid or compensated in some other way
     
  2. David Lambert

    David Lambert Executive Producer

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    I'm not for sure on this answer, so take it with a grain of salt.
    But, as long as I've followed DVD websites (more than the 2 years I've had my player, as I was investigating before I made the purchase), I'd always heard they were done for free. As you say, out of love for the film.
    During the past 6-8 months, or thereabouts, I've seen more and more where snippets here or there are commenting that these people want to be paid for their time. Maybe as an up front fee, maybe as a percent of the take. I don't know that anyone's actually been paid for doing a commentary yet, but I've heard things that they want to be, as I say.
    The reason for this seems to be twofold: 1) Their time is, of course, valuable. But, more to the point: 2) The studio who they record these for will tend to use it as a selling point for their edition of the film's DVD, in comparison to either a previous or predicted forthcoming edition of the film on DVD by a different studio. You know, licenses and rights come and go due to all the deals in Hollywood. But the studio figures that they can sell more copies of their edition if they have an "exclusive" commentary not available before. And, if it's good, it's a commodity they can then license out to the next studio for that edition of the disc, because the public will demand to have it. And, since the studio plans to make money off of that commentary track, the participant feels gypped if they don't also profit from it.
    Seems fair, but tends to make it more of a business and less about the art, doesn't it? [​IMG]
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  3. Alex Shk

    Alex Shk Stunt Coordinator

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    Hmmmmm... just thinking out loud here, I have no facts to back this up (so no flames please) - but....
    Unless the participants are contracted to the "organization releasing the DVD/LD" (which may not be the same as the studio and production company responsible for the film), I don't think anyone would do this for free. While I am not saying the participants don't have a "love for the art", this is, after all, their chosen profession. At what point does any professional determine that they have fulfilled their obligation, and request renegotiation if you want an additional service?
    I am sure that the initial contracts cover home video releases, but I would imagine that they do not include commentary. After all - it wouldn't make sense to be contractually owing a company a commentary if the film isn't released on home video for a decade. Even if they contract for a percentage, I would imagine the contract is exclusive to the precise issue of the DVD/LD concerned. After all - this allows a renegotiation if the commentary is to be re-issued. That may explain why it is so rare for re-issued titles to contain duplicate supplements or commentary.
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  4. Mark Cappelletty

    Mark Cappelletty Cinematographer

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    When I was an assistant to a writer/director in the early days of DVD (1997-1998), he did a commentary for a film where he was paid a very small pittance-- he got a free Panasonic DVD player, I think.
    People should WANT to do this-- both the participants should want to be involved and the studios should give them something for their time. But if it becomes all dollars-and-cents, then what's the point? I'd rather hear someone talk if they really want to and have something to contribute than someone mumble through and tell us what we already know ("This scene has our hero standing in a field...")
     
  5. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    i'm totally guessing here...
    i wonder whether it's in their contract or not. something similar to how they actors have to make those guest appearances on the talk show circuit? i hope it's not the case and that actors want to do it, but i'm sure in the real world it's a different story.
    i akin this train of thought to band members who end up hating each other but still have to perform on stage together...it's no longer fun for them...it's becomes a job in every sense of the word.
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  6. Charles J P

    Charles J P Cinematographer

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  7. HalS

    HalS Stunt Coordinator

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  8. Alex Shk

    Alex Shk Stunt Coordinator

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  9. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    alex, you make a good point and i do agree with it. i think i meant by "a different story" that, even during first run, that some of the actors probably don't like doing these things.
    as an extreme exception, look at jack nicholson. he's one of the only people i can think of who can make a movie and not do the circuit. granted...he's probably earned the right to dictate what he wants to do, but i still wonder why? it has to be getting boring and tedious...going from place to place, being asked the same questions over and over. especially if you've been in the business a while.
    another example that i can think of is sandra bullock's commentary from miss congeniality. talk about the most uninspiring commentary! i actually stopped watching it was so bad. even my girlfriend confirmed that she definitely didn't sound like she wanted to be there.
    i guess i just hope that some actors still enjoy what their doing enough to give us dvd's with sincere insight and that they're not just "going through the motions". although i'm sure some of them are.
    i'm not blaming actors/producers/directors or anything...i know they've got their own lives, priorities and concerns.
    just like we do...
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  10. Colin Jacobson

    Colin Jacobson Producer

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  11. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    colin -
    thanks for your comments.
    we did watch the same movie right? [​IMG]
    oh well...to each his own.
    [​IMG]
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