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directing Asking to share the Directing title of a Feature Documentary

Hi there,

I'm a filmmaker with almost 20 years of experience. I've directed a number of sports films and branded content for some of the largest companies in the world. This includes a lot of documentary work in addition to commercials and branded content.

I'm reaching out because I was hired as the editor of my first feature documentary 18 months ago. The director had been working on this film for awhile, but had only filmed the interviews. He had met the subject a few years prior and this it was his idea to work with him and create the documentary.

Before jumping into my question, here is a brief overview of what I've done for the making of the film:

I was given 45 hours of interview footage with very limited details and story lines. No script. No real direction other than bullet points for topics. In addition I was given a small amount of photos, tiff images from a book, and a very limited amount of video footage that would work for the film.

Since then I've put together the entire storyline, researched a ton about the subject, found and licensed video footage and photos that fill up a two hour documentary (which has been an insane amount of work), shot a ton of b-roll footage that goes over the interviews, organized all those shoots, came up with the idea for those shoots, directed those shoots, created shot lists for those shoots, came up with the idea to animate content in the film, hired animators, directed those animators, came up with intro idea, hired artists to complete the intro, hired lawyers, PR people, given all the direction for the look and feel of the movie, directed artists to create original artwork that will be animated, hired the music licensor, chose songs in the film, worked with the film transfer lab to retransfer all the vintage film that we found for the movie, found and licensed all that old vintage film, and pretty much helped the director do everything else other than shoot the interviews, which he did without any notes or questions, which made the interviews super long and a lot of them didn't work.

I'm not talking down about the director at all. It's his first film and he has a lot of great ideas and he's an awesome person. He's also paying me to work on the film (cut-rate) and has been a great boss. However, I feel like I've gone above and beyond my duty as an editor and would like to ask to share the Directing title. I really feel like this doc is going to do well and my direction will have had a huge part of its success. I've really put my heart and soul into this as well as my 20 years of experience to make this thing successful. I suggested he has the tile of "a John Doe film" Directed by John Doe and Jim Doe." I'd be Jim Doe in this equation.

I’m sure he’ll be ok with giving me producer credit in addition to editing credit, which I know a lot of the above falls under, but I also didn’t have to do all of that. It wasn’t under his guidance and I really feel like I’ve set the look and feel for this film. He also has a full time job and isn’t working on this film all the time.

Id love to hear feedback and find out what you think? Is this fair to ask? Is it fair for him to say no? What do you think?

Not sure if this needs to be said, but I've been working for a much smaller rate than I normally would. In fact, I've already been hired for my next job after this documentary at 3 times the amount I'm charging plus a lot of other perks, benefits, and equity.

Thank you in advance for your insight.
 
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Before jumping into my question, here is a brief overview of what I've done for the making of the film:

I was given 45 hours of interview footage with very limited details and story lines. No script. No real direction other than bullet points for topics. In addition I was given a small amount of photos, tiff images from a book, and a very limited amount of video footage that would work for the film.

Since then I've put together the entire storyline, researched a ton about the subject, found and licensed video footage and photos that fill up a two hour documentary (which has been an insane amount of work), shot a ton of b-roll footage that goes over the interviews, organized all those shoots, came up with the idea for those shoots, directed those shoots, created shot lists for those shoots, hired animators, directed those animators, came up with intro idea, hired artists to complete the intro, hired lawyers, PR people, given all the direction for the look and feel of the movie, hired the music licensor, chose songs in the film, worked with the film transfer lab to retransfer all the vintage film that we found for the movie, found and licensed all that old vintage film, and pretty much helped the director do everything else other than shoot the interviews, which he did without any notes or questions, which made the interviews super long and a lot of them didn't work.
I think you could ask for producer credit and editor. You could ask for director credit..... but all the task's that you did, did you discus this beforehand with the first director? Did he ask you to do all of this?

 
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I think you could ask for producer credit and editor. You could ask for director credit..... but all the task's that you did, did you discus this beforehand with the first director? Did he ask you to do all of this?

I updated the post to say that I’m sure he’ll be ok with adding the producer credit and that no, he didn’t ask for me to do most of anything outside of editing, he has a full time job. We didn’t talk about it before hand.​

 
I was in a similar position in my last movie. I share Directing credit with 3 other people. We did not have a good story narrative for Mijn Landbouwbellang. Michiel Ubels directed most of the second half of all the material, and together we edited this movie. I had a choice.... Take all Directing credit and have final cut......but loose all of Michiel's work including the material we shot together. It was a question ask't by a friend of my (that is one of the producer's in this movie ) that mediated in the communication between me and Michiel. I gave up on final cut and shared directing credit together with him and 2 other people. My producer gave final cut to Michiel.

It was for me a difficult ting to do. It felt like failing... But we made a good movie. And making movies is a process where you work together to a bigger picture. It would be good to discus these tings before .... I don't know if you can demand director credit. But you can make the argument that you directed the second half of this movie. Its just....I don't know if you can demand it.
 
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