"Lost Privileges"

FPP wrote on 12/21/2013, 9:32 AM
Just wrapped up shooting of a self produced/written/directed Christmas script.
I will be posting with VP12 of course.
One of my actors revealed to me after 4 weeks of shooting that his parents raised him in the Jewish faith and that he wants me to bleep out any dialogue that refers to Jesus from his lines.. He did his lines according to the script almost verbatim but now has second thoughts... He was given the script 2 months ago to study and participated in round table rewrites and rehersals without ever expressing his concern about Christian celebrations.
This project will give me a healthy workout on my NLE and everybody else involved has no regrets about the script. I don't even plan to try and distribute it until next year after Thanksgiving.
I have a lot of FX and original music just to name a few things planned for post production.
One effect I don't know how to do is edit another face onto this actor's face without it making my video look like a joke.
I don't want to offend the Jewish people or the actor's family but I'm a Christian and an artist with a completed shoot that I may not be able to use unless I get a waiver or something.
How do I get myself in to these kind of messes?
Why can't I do my own thing without religion becoming the Executive Producer.
It would be next to impossible to reshoot the entire project in light of the fact that I can't afford too.
The actor mentioned is in some very important and revealing scenes and cutting him out would kill the story.
I am an American artist with no privileges or creative freedom?????


Arthur.S wrote on 12/21/2013, 9:35 AM
Surely you have some kind of written contract between yourself and the actors?
Gary James wrote on 12/21/2013, 9:42 AM
Two questions:

1. Did he sign a release?
2. Is it unfeasible to the production flow to mute his voice where he wants?

If 1 = True, he has no recourse and can only be upset at your finished work. If 2 = No and it isn't to difficult, then in good conscience do what he asks. Any other option seems to place you in the "You must do what he wants" or "You must do what you want" category.
FPP wrote on 12/21/2013, 9:45 AM
Yes but very bare boned wording.
Things like no drinking or drugs on the set.. Only 2 visitors per actor around the sets. that sort of thing.
Ultra low budget and such but very pro attitude every step of the way when it came to actual production work.
Gary James wrote on 12/21/2013, 10:11 AM
If you want to go ahead as planned, then you might warn him that if you do what he asks, he will be financially responsible for the production costs that will be lost, including the personal loss anyone of the other actors invested in the project. Then see if he's still willing to stop you.
tim-evans wrote on 12/21/2013, 10:16 AM
You can only blame yourself. The release is created for this kind of scenario. But if your only reason to redo is so as not to offend his faith then you would be in the same situation even if he had signed a release.

You would not be able to pull of a replacement face and have it look believable. Better off with blurring the face and living with the consequences or ADR his lines with something that he found acceptable.
FPP wrote on 12/21/2013, 10:32 AM
-Gary James-
I find that to be a logical solution.. Given the nature of the story line of my project it seems like I may have been drawn in to a fight that totally contradicts my own beliefs.
Evil is everywhere when you don't look for it.. I'm not prepare to challenge the Jewish people, nor do I want to.. Just wanted to produce a Christmas Video/Movie for next year.. Within that time I would focus on marketing and distribution.
I think I may have been exposed to a person that has a lot of hatred for my ambition with a low budget.
This may have nothing to do with religion at all but I can't afford to find out his motives.
I need to learn so much more about "Show Biz" before I ever roll tape again.
FPP wrote on 12/21/2013, 10:35 AM
A voice-over is a reasonable solution.. A lot of extra work.
So unfair to all the other talent on this project.
Chienworks wrote on 12/21/2013, 10:40 AM
Remind him that Jesus was a Jewish Prophet!

Seriously though, it's a Christmas story. How much will be left of the story if you bleep out all those lines? He agreed to play the part knowing the story fully well. I'd say it's past time for him to expect to be able to object.

If you do want to honor his request, The Potter probably has the best idea with ADR. Rewrite the lines so that they are acceptable to him, yet still get the story across, and have him read those lines while timing it to the video playback. No reshooting necessary.

My boss is Jewish and i'm Christian. This sort of situation wouldn't come up between us, as we've developed a great respect for each other's religions. We'd be happy to do favors for each other that promote our respective faiths.
FPP wrote on 12/21/2013, 11:11 AM
To replace words like Jesus Christ, Lord, and God to me is like replacing spaghetti with Ramen noodles.
Creative writing would have to prevail while preserving the punch line, sort of speak.
Dialogue Replacement is so invasive to my story that it would be rendered to a high school video project level.. I'm willing to try ADR but I not sure I want to be near this person anymore or invite him to my precious studio.. I may use another voice actor and take my creative chances.
riredale wrote on 12/21/2013, 11:19 AM
I STRONGLY suggest keeping "religion" per se out of the discussion. Different people are driven by different ideologies, and that's fine and it's what makes western culture so much more refreshing than the "agree with us or we will behead you" Islamists.

The guy is part of a production. He had his chance to object or tweak a long time ago. Now it's done. Finish the project as you intended. If he objects, tough. He is obviously a flake, so let it go. What can he do to hurt you? That's the real question going forward.
FPP wrote on 12/21/2013, 11:45 AM
This may have nothing to do with religion at all but I can't afford to find out his motives.
Throughout this post I have tried to tread lightly if at all on the religion issue.
I do not belong to the clergy and only have my own beliefs, so I don't preach the gospel.
Yes he had plenty of time to protest and failed to so any signs of discomfort during production.
I could not have seen this coming.. But that just shows how much more I need to learn about the "biz".
He has a lean resume' and so do some of the other actors, but maybe he wants a piece of the pie if I make money on this later down the line.
JackW wrote on 12/21/2013, 11:50 AM
I STRONGLY agree with riredale. The discussion between you and the "actor" should have nothing to do with religion. The issue is that after more than two months of production someone in the cast has decided he doesn't like his lines. Keep your discussion at that level and just say NO.

Playing amateur psychologist, I'd bet that his parents or friends have brought him to this and he's trying to ease the pressure by transferring it to you.

You might consult with an attorney regarding where you stand legally, but I certainly wouldn't yield to this kind of pressure. You know what the film is supposed to be, you planned and shot for it starting several months ago; there have been no surprises along the way and your actor has know from the start what he had to say.

Suggest ADR if that will work for you but if not, do what you set out to do.

Good luck and happy holidays.

FPP wrote on 12/21/2013, 12:03 PM
I definitely need to toughen up if I expect to survive in this "biz".
I too believe he is experiencing external pressure from his family/friends or even his place of worship..Meaning he may have released my script to them to approve after the wrap.
I never talk religion with people just for the "heck" of it.
dlion wrote on 12/21/2013, 12:18 PM
its done, in the can. he had plenty of time to speak up and he didn't. now it is too late.

next time, use a proper release form...
FPP wrote on 12/21/2013, 12:38 PM
General consensus on this subject suggests that you are correct.
I will make a decision about how to move forward in (post) any moment.
This is what "Stand Your Ground" law is all about for a non violent person like me.
rs170a wrote on 12/21/2013, 12:59 PM
FPP, you know in your heart that diion is right. Your actor had plenty of time to change his mind before shooting started. Do your post work on it knowing that, from an ethical, moral and legal standpoint, it's the right thing to do.

larry-peter wrote on 12/21/2013, 1:08 PM
You don't mention what your "bare bones" release states but if it includes wording such as, "permission to use my likeness and voice in XYZ production," you have a degree of protection. You don't mention if any payment was made to the actor, but if so and it is documented, your protection is even stronger. Added to that, the lines were read and recorded at least once without any complaint from the actor.

If this is intended for distribution, even self-distribution, this is a perfect example of where Exclusions and Omissions insurance can save a production. It's not cheap, and you will pay more for coverage if the releases aren't tight, but at any time after distribution begins, if the actor wants to cause trouble, it won't be you paying legal expenses or damages.
John222 wrote on 12/21/2013, 2:46 PM
He knew what he planned to do ahead of time. He didn't want to tell you until you were at a point where he was irreplaceable. If he told you up front, he wouldn't have gotten the part.....

Just my 2 cents

Maybe spending a $100 for quick sit down with a lawyer would save you a Lot to time and money.
ushere wrote on 12/21/2013, 3:59 PM
+ 1 to billing him for the changes

+ 1 to checking with a lawyer

maybe that should be the other way around anyway (plus adding the cost of 2) ;-)

btw. i'm jewish and have NEVER heard of any problem with speaking the name of jc (no, not john cline in this instance), quoting / reading the new testament, etc., and my experience covers living in israel for 10+ years.

ask for a written statement as to his objections so you can show it to your lawyer - that should make him start thinking logically....
JohnnyRoy wrote on 12/21/2013, 4:15 PM
> "The guy is part of a production. He had his chance to object or tweak a long time ago. Now it's done. Finish the project as you intended. If he objects, tough. He is obviously a flake, so let it go. What can he do to hurt you? That's the real question going forward."


You are running a business. He didn't object to his lines when given the chance, The chance is now over. It's in the can. Tell him that the only way you could accommodate him is if he's willing to pay to have the production re-shot with another actor. Short of that... it's not your problem. This has nothing to do with religion. It's strictly business. I would also tell him to seek another profession. Acting has nothing to do with who you are in real life.

Rainer wrote on 12/21/2013, 4:38 PM
Chill out. It's fiction. It's acting. Pretending. Try reasoning. "I'm Jewish, I don't want to appear as a Christian" is like "I'm a nice person, so I've decided I can't let you use footage where I'm pretending to be the serial killer".
FPP wrote on 12/21/2013, 4:40 PM
"Spot On" man.. I can dig it.
FPP wrote on 12/21/2013, 4:42 PM
"Boing"..Another good view.
I hear you loud, Rainer.
PeterWright wrote on 12/21/2013, 6:13 PM
Yeah, to continue JohnnyRoy and Rainer's theme, acting is pretending to be someone else - this guy needs to distinguish between himself and the person he plays in your film - they really are two separate things.
That doesn't mean that he and his ilk will accept this, but that is their problem, not yours. Good luck!