February 1, 2016 at 7:15PM, Edited February 1, 7:35PM
I am producer, DP, and editor. Who has the rights to the film?
I'll try to keep this short. I was an unpaid producer, DP, and editor for a short film. The writer was also the director. He turned out to be a real jerk on set (I know, a real shocker, right? - this is sarcasm).
He is an amateur and was angry from 10 AM - 11 PM over every lens change, batter change, lighting change, little tweaks needing to be made, audio issues, actors showing up on set late, you know the run of the mill B.S. that happens on just about every film set. He was a control freak and manhandled me at some point to get certain camera angles by grabbing my wrist (I have finger marks and bruising), he grabbed MY camera several times, sometimes out of my hand or my entire tripod with camera attached and would adjust legs and also while I had the strap around my neck, jerking my head and neck at times. The entire cast and crew were shocked by the way he handled me and spoke to me as we were all doing this as a labor of love.
He barked at me relentlessly for absolutely no reason and got angry when the shots he wanted were in front of a store front window and I informed him that I could see my reflection and he refused to listen to my recommendation for the best place to set up for the shot. Once we tried his three other spots to run into the same problem with my own reflection or the boom operator reflection, he finally moved to said recommended spot I had first made note of.
He had no understanding of how a 50 mm lens works and was furious when I informed him that you don't have a zoom option with that lens and why. Just as we were filming the last scenes of the night, I was getting an overhead shot of the actors as they lay in the bed and as I stood there, I had already asked my assistant to stand behind me with hands lightly held to my hamstrings just in case I lost my balance. She was capable of doing this job. When I had her run the memory card over to the laptop to make sure we had what we needed, he put his hand on my rear end and not in a way that was to support me. (Assistant told me when I was on bed she could tell he really wanted to grab my rear - that was via text the next day) I said absolutely nothing. No one realized what was happening. I just wanted to finish and leave. I felt demoralized in every sense of the word and just fought back tears.
As I am editor, he wanted to sit and edit with me, which I cannot stand to edit WITH a director especially a first cut in the first place, but I do not trust this guy one bit to spend hours upon hours alone with him nor do I care to have him yell and belittle me any further or try anything physical.
He signed a crew member release as screenwriter/director assigning the producer rights to use or distribute the film and has no injunction or right to interfere or hinder the production of the film in any way. This is my first time producing and certainly the first time experiencing this kind of behavior. I guess I have been fortunate to work with incredibly talented, yet nice, genuine people in the past. So, my question is, do I have the right to edit as I see fit, have say over the final product and distribute as I choose to film festivals, etc? Also, how would any of you handle this as I have not spoken to him since the filming took place 2 days ago. I have emails and text messages stating that he found me attractive, which I never remarked on other than the first time when I thought it was because he was trying to cast me in the film and I stated, "you are very kind". I appreciate any input and I thank you for your time regarding my issue. Thanks!