The Safe+Secure Handbook is the companion to the Safe+Secure Protocol - a top line checklist that film teams can go through together - and with their funders and partners - to make sure that the most important questions have been asked and highlight any further training or preparation needed.
What Can This Handbook Help Filmmakers Do?
Look after yourself and your team better
Tell a story without getting sued for it
Get better legal help earlier which helps keep legal bills lower overall
Improve your chances of reasonable E&O insurance
Get the training that you need and deserve
Get the additional funding you need to pay for your security needs
Have a wider team of funders and partners around you sharing the risk and looking out for you
This Handbook also contains downloadable resources and checklists, sourced from the best organisations working in this area, for filmmakers and their team working in the field to use and revisit at different stages in a production.
Please use them but always consider whether sharing them digitally or physically may compromise your security, or that of your subjects or team, more on that question and others below.
It is best practice to assume that any written paperwork attached to a project could be used in evidence again it. If a court case is brought against a film, such paperwork may be deemed discoverable evidence and have to be shared with the other side (this also applies to proposals, emails,notebooks, sizzle/ development reels and rushes). Discoverable material can be used to substantiate that a film project was not conducted in a fair and balanced way if the language used in any of these places is loose and prejudicial. Stick to neutral, factual and non-pejorative language.
.. And Please Share Your Errors of Ineptitude
Atul Gawande, a surgeon who pioneered new safety procedures in operating theatres (and wrote the Checklist Manifesto about risk reduction), makes a distinction between errors of ignorance (mistakes we make because we don't know enough), and errors of ineptitude (mistakes we made because we don't make proper use of what we know).
There will always be much that is unknown about a documentary production. Independent filmmakers have our deepest admiration because they are able to shoulder huge uncertainties and take creative, financial and other kinds of personal risks to bring back the stories they believe should be told. On that journey many unavoidable errors of ignorance will be made. Such is life. But let us work together, share our learnings and help reduce each other's errors of ineptitude.