When a Location Agreement is not enough…
Most production companies will have a standardised one-page Location Agreement that is used day-in and day-out in all variety of filming locations. These ‘one-pagers’ certainly serve their purpose when you need non-exclusive access to a location and want to keep things simple.
Nevertheless, a Location Agreement is not going to be adequate when you want exclusive access, filming will be for an extended period, or where obtaining access is integral to the editorial objectives of the filming. In these circumstances a much more robust and comprehensive Access Agreement is going to be required.
A good starting point is the Access Agreement Template and Guidance, available via the Pact website. As well as the points covered in those documents you will also need to keep in mind the commissioning broadcaster requirements, for example, in relation viewing rights, fees and credits. However, in some circumstances you will find that the access provider will either want to heavily negotiate your agreement or will have their own version that they will want to use. When entering into these kinds of negotiations it is paramount that you are fully aware of both your obligations under the Ofcom Broadcasting Code and the requirements and guidelines of the commissioning broadcaster.
Another necessity is to negotiate access in a timely manner. Do not be fooled into thinking that you can get your Access Agreement signed on the morning of filming. This never works. You will either end up wasting everyone’s time and taking a hit to the budget by delaying filming or, if you do begin filming without an agreement signed, then you firmly place yourself in a very weak negotiating position further down the line. No commissioning broadcaster is going to be impressed with requests to infringe their own guidelines, to increase the budget or delay delivery – all very real consequences of not getting your Access Agreement right.
Please contact Laura at The Cow Shed Media Services if you would like to discuss your Access Agreement requirements further. Laura has experience of drafting and negotiating Access Agreements for a huge variety of locations including the MOD for Royal Marines Commando School, various schools for Educating…, numerous public bodies for Dom on the Spot, an entire train network for The Railway: First Great Western and a mountain for The Jump!