mermaidfathom-delmar asked: Hey Raina! I was wondering if you knew of any websites to watch/buy the movies Sharkwater and Revolution? I saw in the Tail Flip magazine the article about them and really want to watch them, but I'm US-based and don't know where to find a copy or watch them online. I greatly appreciate any help! ~Fathom
Revolution isn’t out on DVD yet- they’re touring film festivals and hoping to get the movie into theatres in the US.
Sharkwater can be bought online or in DVD stores etc. You can also buy or rent it from itunes. IT’S AN AMAZING MOVIE but fairly graphic. If you survived watching “The Cove” you can probably handle this. http://www.sharkwater.com/
Photography and Professional Mermaiding (FAQ)
So, I realized through a bit of drama that sometimes people aren’t aware of photography laws. I remember when Sirena Solaris had an issue with a videographer, and it made me recognize that these issues can go both ways either affecting the mermaid or the clients. So, I’m going to share some helpful links and some pointers, and if you have questions I’ll try and answer them. If I can’t, I’ll try and find the answer through photography law websites and consulting well known photographers.
For the Mermaid
The main thing you should know about having YOUR photo taken during a photoshoot is that you retain all rights to your image until you (with a witness watching you sign) give permission to the photographer. Some photographers will ask you to do this beforehand, some after, and some will combine. I suggest sitting and hammering the details out of the photo use before your shoot and having the photographer draw up a custom release form. Then after the shoot you and the photographer can sit down, make sure all the conditions are met, and sign the forms. Any professional photographer should have release forms. If they don’t or don’t want to use them that may be a sign to you that this may not be a good person to work with! Though there are certain situations (like educational use) that really don’t need a form- many simply use them to be safe! This website talks about model release forms, when to use them and not to, as well as giving an example and template:http://www.betterphoto.com/article.asp?id=37 you’ll want to copy the form! (or sign two) One copy for the photographer and one for your records. (in some cases MUA’s may also have a form)
Your release form may be a generic form the photographer uses, a generic template, or something tailored exactly to you.
Here are some examples of model release forms:
http://www.nyip.com/ezine/techtips/model-release.html (a great article, that links to legal forms for photographers)
http://www.professionalphotographer.co.uk/Magazine/Downloads/Model-Release-Form (a great article which also includes pdf’s when you scroll all the way down)
Some things you may want to have in your form:
- how/where the image will be displayed specifically (personal portfolio, art gallery, newspaper, etc.)
- if you give permission for commercial use (selling the image)
- your compensation for commercial use (tfp, money)
- how/where YOU can share the image (generally a model’s portfolio, our mermaid pages and websites)
- context (usually some sentence to clarify if you don’t want an image portrayed in a sexual context- this can help for mermaid fetish stuff)
- unflattering/outtakes/unusable photos from the shoot destroyed (basically if you really hate a photo the photographer can’t turn around and use it)
- how you want to be credited, how the photographer wants to be credited
- any other stipulations
some people don’t do a formal model release form- they just hash all these details out via email or fb etc. So long as you retain proof that these details were both agreed to- they hold up in court should you ever need to seek legal help against a photographer or someone stealing your image! It’s a lot less headache however to have the form.
The Clients and Children
Essentially, your clients (including the children) have the same rights to a release form as you do as a model. So it’s important to go through the same steps of hashing out the details. When I am speaking with a client it’s one of the first things I brings up “Can I have your permission to take photos during the event and publish them online?” I always get that in writing. If children are involved- we provide photographic services already to the parents as one of my packages. They fill out all the forms anyway if they choose those services, and then I make sure to get (usually both in email and on a form) permission to publish the images. I ALWAYS ask parents of a birthday child to ask every single parent involved to let me know if there are any children they do not wish to be photographed and or published. Retain PROOF that this happened. Do NOT delete your emails!
I think it’s good form as a children’s entertainer anyway, to let parents know that if at any time they change their mind you will remove an image from online. I have done that before, and there have been cases where a year later the parent decided they no longer wanted the photo up so I took it down. You are not obliged to do that, I think it’s just right though.
Legally, when you’re doing public appearances like festivals or parades you don’t need permission.(I’m in the habit of asking the event coordinator anyway) It gets a little grey perhaps if the child is the only thing in the photo from a public event- but even then no photographer has ever gotten in trouble that I have heard of, or could search, legally. I would just suggest as common sense, that you don’t post an image from a public event that’s only of a child to avoid that. Something that I do when I do public events like that, is whenever we’ve got a crowd of people I literally just yell out “is there anyone uncomfortable with being in a photo or their child being in a photo?” The only time I have had someone say no is when I see pre-school groups during world ocean’s day. Most kids have signed photo release forms already through their daycare both for daycare use and photojournalism- but if someone hasn’t signed or given permission a teacher tells me that and we don’t do photos or make sure that child isn’t in the photo. LEGALLY a child who hasn’t given consent (this applies to daycare as well) can be in a photo if they are not recognizable. Meaning most of them including their face is cropped out, or they have their back to the camera.
As far as making money off prints from public events or public shots with children… I think this paragraph from http://www.usatoday.com/tech/columnist/andrewkantor/2006-08-11-photography-rights_x.htm really sums it up perfectly:
There are a few more restrictions on publishing photos or video, though, as mentioned back in December.
You can’t show private facts — things a reasonable person wouldn’t want made public — unless those facts were revealed publicly. So no long-lens shots of your neighbours’ odd habits.
You also can’t show someone in a negative false light by, for example, using Photoshop tricks or a nasty, untrue caption.
And you can’t put someone else’s likeness to commercial use without their permission. This is usually mentioned in terms of celebrities, but it applies to making money from anyone’s likeness.
For example, if you shoot individual kids playing in a school football game, you can’t try to sell those shots to the parents; the kids have a right to the use of their likeness. You can sell photos of the game in general, though, and any shots where what’s happening (“A player celebrates a goal”) is more important than who’s doing it (“Star running back John Doe takes a momentary rest”).
Sound like a gray area? It is if you’re planning to sell the pictures, but not if you’re simply displaying them. And if you’re using them for news purposes, all bets are off — you can pretty much publish whatever you want if it happens in public view.
The other gray area is copyrighted material. Even if it’s in public, you can’t sell pictures of copyrighted work — a piece of art, for example. But if the art is part of a scene you can probably get away with it.
All this in mind, it’s almost always a good idea to get permission where you can and to be polite and friendly with anyone you deal with. Like good urban legends, people are absolutely sure they know the law about photography, and they’re absolutely wrong.[/quote]
For more information on that specifically check out http://www.kantor.com/useful/Legal-Rights-of-Photographers.pdf and http://www.krages.com/phoright.htm
It can sometimes be helpful and I know a lot of photojournalism photographers who do this- to print off the laws and have them with you. That way if you’re ever confronted you have it to show.
Another helpful hint: Keep model releases with your mermaid gear. You never know when you might need them. In a pinch, a person can write you in their own hand writing a quick letter giving permission, sign it, you sign it, and find a witness!
As I quoted in the other thread, this is a good paragraph that sums it up in simple terms what you CAN photograph
The law in the United States of America is pretty simple. You are allowed to photograph anything with the following exceptions:
• Certain military installations or operations.
• People who have a reasonable expectation of privacy. That is, people who are some place that’s not easily visible to the general public, e.g., if you shoot through someone’s window with a telephoto lens.
You can shoot pictures of children; your rights don’t change because of their age or where they are, as long as they’re visible from a place that’s open to the public. (So no sneaking into schools or climbing fences.)
Video taping has some more gray areas because of copyright issues, but in general the same rules apply. If anyone can see it, you can shoot it.
And yes, you can shoot on private property if it’s open to the public. That includes malls, retails stores, Starbucks, banks, and office-building lobbies. If you’re asked to stop and refuse, you run the risk of being charged with trespassing, but your pictures are yours. No one can legally take your camera or your memory card without a court order.
You can also shoot in subways and at airports. Check your local laws about the subway, but in New York, Washington, and San Francisco it’s perfectly legal. Airport security is regulated by the Transportation Security Administration, and it’s quite clear: Photography is A-OK at any commercial airport in the U.S. as long as you’re in an area open to the public.
Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. [/quote]
I hope you’ll take the time to check out the links! They’re very informative and have great templates for release forms. Most of this info is available through the sites I’ve linked in PDF form. If you have any questions let me know and I’ll try and find the answer and back it up! <3
What to expect with your first mermaid tail (faq)
I have made an observation between reading people’s reviews, talking with other tail makers, and talking with friends on here. I think some people don’t always have the correct expectations for their first tails. Regardless of the tail type. If you’ve never used a tail before, seen one in person, or worn one, you may not know what to expect! I was thinking it would be nice to start a thread where those of us who have had multiple tails can share their experiences. I also think this might help people who are ordering their first tails have more realistic expectations. I’ve noticed, and I think a few others have as well, that some complaints being voiced are actually what’s standard currently in the tail making community. There are some things that tail makers just don’t have a solution for yet.
So I’m going to share what I know, I’d love you to share what you know. Perhaps we can edit it all into a nice list to be stickied, and add it as a Tail Flip article!
I’ve owned and used a fabric tail, a neoprene/latex (alex) tail, and 2 silicone tails. I’ve talked to tail makers, and I’ve looked at my own PERSONAL experiences. Here’s what I’ve learned:
•Most tails take time to get on until you get used to them and figure them out. Some tails have zippers, many don’t. But if you’ve never put a tail on before even if it’s fabric or silicone, it can take a bit to learn the ropes! Fabric tails and neoprene tails are easier to put on dry than silicone tails. Thicker tails are harder to roll down than thinner tails. Lubrication can help so long as it’s not something that will degrade your tail.
•If you’ve never worn a monofin before, they can be uncomfortable. Different monofins will feel differently. Some have straps some have pockets. It can take time to learn to wear and swim in a monofin correctly.
•Most tails have seams, some tail makers have just worked out better ways to hide them. Many of the higher quality silicone tails have worked out ways so that you can only see seams up close. Many fabric tail makers add fringes or use sequins to hide seams. Point being, if two piece of materials are being put together- there will be a seam somewhere. So expect to see one unless you’re specifically told you wont.
•Unless you have an elastic waistband put into your tail (like Hannas) regardless of the tail type, in some situations (or in all situations depending on your tail) you WILL get drag, which WILL pull open your waist. Many mers compensate for this by wearing belts. However, it’s nearly impossible to keep air/water from travelling into your tail through the waist line. In the behind the scenes for Splash the tail makers explained that the way they achieved such a realistic effect with Madison’s tail (no waist line, no knees, no wrinkles etc) was to shrink wrap her legs in plastic. It doesn’t mean your tail doesn’t “fit”. The majority of materials mermaid tails are made out of have some percentage of stretch. Silicone stretches, latex stretches, fabric stretches, neoprene stretches.
•In that same line, most tails will wrinkle in some places. Why? Because the material stretches, and because we bend. The most common places for winkles are around the knee, and the ankles. If a tail is skin tight, it’s still NOT skin, it’s common to get wrinkles there. Some tail makers compensate by making those areas extra tight. It may give a good look, but can make it difficult to swim and move. Also tricky to get on (many have to reach down to pull monofin straps up when putting a tail on) It’s been my personal experience that the thinner the material the likelier it is to wrinkle in those spots. My merbellas tail fit like a glove when I first got it. But it’s thin. It still would wrinkle from time to time in those areas. My Jesse tail is super thick. it wont wrinkle as much, only in certain situations, but will still get a wrinkle in those spots. THE BEST WAY TO KEEP WRINKLES AWAY is to POINT YOUR TOES and keep your legs flexed. This is how so many mers achieve the wrinkle free look when posing for a photo. If I do that with my legs, I will have no wrinkles at all. You can also train yourself to swim and keep your legs straight behind you. I’ve lost weight now, so my merbellas tail is baggier (I’m saving up to have it taken in and extra fins added etc) a good trick for that sort of situation that I found in my experience works with ALL tail types, is to wear tights underneath. It gives the material something more tactile to grip to, reduces the amount of slipping and wrinkling, and can flesh out the tail and take away the costumed look. Point is, some wrinkling is normal, it doesn’t mean your measurements are wrong.
•Measurements! Another area that is always causing headaches. Rule of thumb: if you aren’t measuring to at least your belly button or above it, you’ll end up with a low rise tail. For some people, it can work, for others, it wont cover their bum! If you’re concerned about your tail not covering your butt, ask the tail maker the best way to measure, and measure several times. Generally the response I got from asking many tail makers is that if you send them measurements that are below your belly button- that thing will not cover your bum.
•Several tail makers use well hidden drainage holes. Some fabric/neoprene ones even keep hidden zippers or velcro. It’s to help water escape, or help air move through to dry the tail. It does not mean your tail is damaged. Hannah’s thread shows how her tail has an open fluke that is kept zippered. The german tail maker and many other fabric tail makers also have open end fluke designs. Several silicone tail makers that I speak to have drainage holes or slits.
•If your silicone or latex is NOT tinted, paint will chip off. If you’re going for a cheaper tail and opt to not have the materials tinted, your paint is only sitting on a clear surface and will chip/scuff.
•With painting and tinting- lighter colours take longer and many more layers to set. This can delay tail production times.
•Silicone and latex and their tin cures can take longer to cure in cold or wet weather. This can delay tail production times.
•Most tail makers will say their tail’s are neutral buoyancy or as close to neutral as can be. I’ve shown all my tails to my local diveshop and they actually believe they’re all positively buoyant - though not by much. For some people, they can sink in a tail. For others, we can’t (like me), That doesn’t always mean your tail was poorly made or has problems. Some people just don’t sink very well. If you can’t sink when you swim normally, you may find investing in a weight belt will help you sink in a tail. This is not always the case, especially if your tail is trapping air in the fluke, (which can lead to you floating up tail first or butt first) but it’s the general rule of thumb that if you can’t sink without a tail you will likely still find it hard to sink with one.
•Silicone is HEAVY. Unless you have a tail that’s partially silicone, or made very thin, expect it to be heavy.
•In that same thought, it can be hard to lift the fluke of a silicone tail. If you have a smaller monofin that doesn’t fill the whole fluke, you wont be able to get it to stand straight up on it’s own like mine does in my avatar.
A few more to add!
- Tails are not invincible. No tail maker claims they are. Even a super expensive silicone tail will wear out over time, EVEN when you take good care of it. Typical things that can happen with silicone are minor holes and tears from pulling it on. They can be EASILY fixed with the right kind of silicone or dragonskin so that they can’t be seen. (Trust me, I ding up my tail from time to time, fix it on my own, and nobody can tell anything- nothing to photoshop out)
- CHLORINE WILL DAMAGE YOUR TAIL EVEN IF IT’S EXPENSIVE. Chlorine eats away at EVERYTHING so be sure to wash your tail with 1/4 baking soda or other alkaline substance to clear out the chlorine. Let it soak, and dry it properly. You should wash it right away.
- TAILS CAN GET MOLDY. Even when you clean them and take good care of them. Sometimes, you cant get the mold out, but you can kill it. Vinegar is a great thing to use to kill mold, and stop it from spreading. How I clean mold when I get it: leave it soaking in vinegar for a few minutes, then use a toothbrush to gently scrub it away from the lining. I always try to dry my tail to prevent mold, but sometimes it can’t be prevented.
- Extra fins and dorsals are typically fragile regardless of what they’re made of. They tend to be thinner, and are attached, so they have a higher chance of getting snagged on something. (I coat mine in a light film of vaseline or oil when I do photoshoots etc so they don’t snag on anything, and I always tell kids not to pull on them)
- Latex doesn’t bond to silicone. So if you’re ever attempting to fix your tail, don’t put one on top of the other. It’ll go all peely. However, if you’re repairing the inside of your own neoprene+latex tail, you could use a silicone caulking to glue the inside of the fluke down.