Subject: Payment for Interviewees/Code of Ethics
Author: Kerry Clemens
Date:   5/30/2011 9:49 pm EDT
Dear Barry,
I am a young documentarian and I am having a hard time with the logistics of making an Independent Doc. I've been talking to all my friends and people in the business about whether or not to pay your interview subject. I feel that paying a person for their eyewitness testimony is completely unethical and turns your Doc into a Tabloid. I equate it to buying someone's story and that makes it completely fictional and unauthentic. But, my friends in the biz say that this sort of thing-- paying your subjects for their time and testimony- happens all the time-- and even Oprah and shows like that do it. Is this true? Is everybody paid off? I thought documentaries were pure journalism, facts, and not a bought story. The reason I ask is because my documentary idea that I wanted to do on Gangs in LA has sort of fallen apart because the people that I want to interview want money and compensation now. Their argument is well your getting paid to make it so why aren't we? I understand their POV but it just doesn't seem right. I found out later that they did a similar doc 4 years ago where they got $5k each for being interviewed. What is the right path here? Do I now have to pay everyone that is in my doc or future docs just like they were actors?
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 Topics Author  Date      
 Payment for Interviewees/Code of Ethics    
Kerry Clemens 5/30/2011 9:49 pm EDT
 RE: Payment for Interviewees/Code of Ethics   new  
Kerry Clemens 5/31/2011 6:39 pm EDT
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