What Is an Appearance Release Form and When Do You Need One?

Protect your production team from legal action by making people in the background sign an appearance release form.

When we talk about “appearance” and an appearance release form in the media industry, we are typically referring to the presence of an individual or group in a film, television show, or other production. This can encompass background performers, extras, and even individuals who are simply captured in crowd shots or other incidental footage.  

What Is an Appearance Release Form?

An appearance release form is often used for non-recurring characters in a video production. In unscripted (or reality) television shows and documentaries, these tend to individuals who speak on camera, or can be clearly heard in the background. In commercials and scripted films, these people might be called extras. When a person signs an appearance release form, they are granting the producer (or videographer) permission to use the person’s name, likeness, or voice in the production.

When Do You Need an Appearance Release Form?

You preferably need an appearance release form signed during the production stage, before recording the material in which you know those people will appear. This includes non-recurring characters such as extras or individuals captured in crowd shots. It’s important to have this form signed to protect the producer from any legal action taken by the individual in the future.

What Information Should Be Included in an Appearance Release Form?

An appearance release form should include the following information:

  • The name and address of the person appearing
  • The name and address of the producer
  • The title and description of the production
  • The duration of the use of the person’s likeness or voice
  • The compensation, if any, for the person
  • The rights granted to the producer
  • The limitations on the use of the person’s likeness or voice
  • The signatures of the person appearing

Where Can I Find an Appearance Release Form Template?

There are many resources available online for appearance release form templates. A quick internet search will yield many results, including free templates and templates for purchase. It’s important to ensure that the template being used is legally sound and covers all necessary information.

Get the Best Release Management System in the Market

Companies can protect themselves from legal liability by using their production time wisely. Things in the video production industry move fast, which is why the signing process for appearance release forms needs to be both effective and quick. Having a reliable release management system is the key to achieve this.

ReleaseME by MEsuite is a release management software that will help you streamline the signing process. With ReleaseME, you can easily create a QR code, present it to people for them to scan and access the release form, and track the status of each release in real time.

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