The Hollywood Reporter’s Studio Executives Roundtable features Donna Langley (Chairman, Universal Pictures), Tom Rothman (Chairman, Sony Pictures Motion Picture Group), Rob Moore (Vice Chair, Paramount Pictures), Stacey Snider (Co-Chairman, 20th Century Fox), Alan Horn (Chairman, The Walt Disney Studios), and Rob Friedman (Co-Chair, Lionsgate Motion Picture Group).
YouTube presenter Tom Scott isn’t willing to chance a lawsuit, so he pixelated the famous Hollywood sign in this video of the classic LA landmark.
But does he really have anything to fear? I reached out to Betsy Isroelit Press/News Contact for the Hollywood Sign for some thoughts. Clearly this would have fallen into the news category as it is a story about the Hollywood Sign and therefor Scott would not need a license for his video.
And you won’t need a license to grab a selfie after a leisurely hike around Hollywood Hills.
The only time licensing becomes an issue is when you’re using this trademark for commercial purpose. In regards to trademark, this is mostly in regards to using the image to sell something (like putting the Hollywood sign on your album cover, movie poster, as a splash page for your website or featuring it prominently in your department store).
The Hollywood Sign along with Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame are owned by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce (a non-profit organization) and the licensing is handled by Global Icons. Now there is incidental use – if the sign can be seen in the background of your shot and it’s not featured prominently, you may not have an issue (though it’s best to clear it) – the problem occurs when you utilize or feature the sign in your branding or in your film. Even if you purchase stock footage you may still need to license the use through Global Icons (Getty Images and Istockphoto won’t even accept images of the Hollywood Sign for their library because of this)
Some people may balk at idea that such a prominent landmark could be under trademark protection – but the simple truth is the Hollywood Sign is a very important symbol of a big industry and there’s plenty of people out there who just want to exploit it for a quick financial gain. But the fact is there are a lot of protected buildings and structures under trademark protection such as the Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, the Wrigley Building in Chicago and the Citicorp Center and Guggenheim Museum in New York. Donald Trump’s buildings are under trademark protection. Even the Eiffel Tower, which is in the public domain and free to photograph during the day, is under copyright protection at night.
So in conclusion – no one is going to sue you for taking a picture of the Hollywood Sign. But if you want to make money off the imagery that’s not protected under fair use such as news or commentary about the sign itself – then you need a license.
Screencraft sits down with Diana Ossana about getting started, the experience of writing Brokeback Mountain, and some advice for new writers.
Diana Ossana: I supposed my storytelling roots, such as they are, began with reading. I have been a voracious reader since childhood. I started reading the newspaper when I was seven years old (with a dictionary by my side). I was — and still am — a completist. I would start a shelf at the public library and simply check out eleven books (the most allowed) and return in two weeks and check out the next eleven, until I was finished with a subject or genre.
Diana Ossana: Larry McMurtry had been recuperating at my home for more than two years after his quadruple bypass surgery in late 1991. He had stopped reading, stopped writing, and batted away every screenwriting job offered to him. It was overwhelmingly sad to watch this talented man wither away. An offer came to him from Warner Brothers to write a screenplay about Pretty Boy Floyd, the Depression-era outlaw, and I saw this as an opportunity to jump-start him back into writing. For several days, I researched Pretty Boy and came up with 20 pages of interesting notions about him. I sat Larry down and told him I was going to read him all the reasons why he should write the screenplay. When I finished, he told me he would write the screenplay only if I wrote it with him. We went to Hollywood, spoke to the executive at Warner Brothers, and we proceeded to write our first script together.
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Paul Dano has drawn a lot of attention for roles in films like Little Miss Sunshine and There Will Be Blood, but with Love & Mercy, in which he plays the young Brian WIlson of The Beach Boys, he is getting not only raves, but continued attention long after the film has left theaters. He spoke to David Poland about this film and a life in acting.
There are a lot of ways to make the screen bleed – in this course we dissect the history of fake blood from its origins in the Theater to modern recipes for making characters bleed on screen.
This course is sponsored by RØDE Microphones
Grand Guignol (modified)
Color with Red, a little Yellow and a drop of Blue Food Coloring
2 Parts Golden Syrup (Light Treacle)
1 Part water
Red/Yellow/Blue Food Coloring
A bit of Corn Starch (Corn Flour in the UK)
Peppermint Extract to taste.
Modified Dick Smith Recipe
2 Quarts Corn Syrup
5 oz Water
Red/Yellow/Blue Food Coloring
Non-Dairy Coffee Creamer to Thicken
Peppermint Extract to Taste
Rewriting is a skill, Ken Miyamoto offers 7 tips to develop your rewriting talents.
This starts before you write one single word in your first draft. Preparation is key. You need know your concept, story, characters, themes, and tone before you begin typing. This is called development. How do you accomplish this? Do your homework. See as much of the film through your own mind’s eye before you type a single world. Read ScreenCraft’s 5 Habits to Get Those Creative Juices Flowing for more on that. When you’re well prepared going in, you’ll have won rewrite battles before you have even started writing.
This hog wash of writing blindly or frantically non-stop with no looking back through the first draft will do you no favors as a screenwriter and will certainly get you no work as a professional. With the proper preparation that we’ve already covered, you should already have an overall idea where the stories and characters are going.
But you need to know the broad strokes from beginning, middle, and to the end. Writing blindly may work in certain mediums like literature, but for screenwriting — and the rather technical format with such restrictions (certain page count expectations, no inner thoughts, needing to write less than more, etc.) — it just doesn’t work. The eventual rewrite will prove to be TORTURE.
Have a general map in your mind (or on paper) to your destination. Feel free to veer from the set path to explore the unknown, but always be able to find your way back to that original path that you had set forth on.
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