Do military training tv shows need recruits' permission?
May 19, 2010 2:22 PM   Subscribe

Do reality tv shows about military training etc. needs the trainees' permission?

So, I've been watching The Academy about OCFA firefighter recruits. This got me thinking. Did all of the recruits agree to be filmed in this and similar shows (Navy SEAL training, etc.)? I read in a previous thread that filming permission isn't needed in a public place as there is no reasonable expectation of privacy. While I imagine The Academy is held on government property I doubt it's considered a public space.

Besides, the recruits in trouble are often filmed inside a building alone with the cadre. THAT has to require permission, right? Now if I could only figure out why someone would grant permission... If I were one of those recruits and got kicked out of the academy I wouldn't want that broadcast on tv. Am I just weird that way? What am I missing?
posted by ticketmaster10 to Media & Arts (5 answers total)
Unless I'm mistaking something, they get permission beforehand, before the recruit even knows they personally wouldn't make it and get kicked out. By that time, they, along with the 300 or so other recruits, had already signed the release and it's too late.
posted by yeti at 3:04 PM on May 19, 2010

The facility itself could be negotiating the rights -- they could say in their recruit contract, "you agree to any filming by us or any other organization" and the recruit has the choice to either not enroll or to agree and be filmed.
posted by Rhomboid at 3:30 PM on May 19, 2010

Best answer: The 'real world' of reality show contracts

Basically, I would assume that anyone shown on TV who is not, say, in a car driving across the back corner of the screen has signed something. Certainly anyone recorded in dialog.

Heck, almost all the people you see on Cops sign something, even when they were wrassling half-nekkid in the mud. The lure of being on TV is strong.

Richard Curtis described on the DVD how the airport reunion scenes (of real people) in Love Actually were all filmed with a zoom lens surreptitiously, for genuine reactions, and every time they captured something they thought they might use a small army of production assistants would descend on the subjects with paperwork.
posted by dhartung at 10:22 PM on May 19, 2010

Response by poster: Excellent, dhartung, thanks. Now if only I knew WHY some people were willing to risk potential embarrassment on national tv for the chance to be on tv... Well, I guess there are some things I'll never know. Ahh, the mysteries of life.

OTOH, I heard a rumor that the Duggars of tv fame were allowed to lay down ground rules about their family "reality show." So I guess participants can sometimes have a say in the contract.
posted by ticketmaster10 at 10:48 PM on May 19, 2010

So I guess participants can sometimes have a say in the contract.

Just like anything in life, the more that you are wanted and in demand, the more you can demand in return. In the case of Duggars, they appear to be a relatively unique situation so they may have the clout to make demands. Likewise, the cast of Jersey Shore negotiated a $10,000 per episode deal for the second season. That kind of money wasn't available to them for the first season. If one of them wanted that for season 1, MTV would have casted someone else. Now that the first season has aired, and the public wants to see those characters again, they are in a position to ask the network for a much larger salary.
posted by mmascolino at 7:40 PM on May 20, 2010

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