|Alternate ending for Iron Man 2 by Ryan Meinderding|
In some cases I find artists that have worked on a film years ago and there's no problem sharing the art.
Other times I know a movie is coming up and contact the artists. I know they can't reveal any details without approval from the show or until after it has been released. But I can at least line up the illustrations and interviews for the day the show opens.
For those outside Hollywood the question comes up: What is that thing anyway?
I contacted five major industry artists to find out what an NDA is and how it affects their work. They all said NDAs are a necessary part of the industry and it doesn't impact them unless they can't show their work.
Dawn Brown is a set designer and concept artist in the film industry for almost 20 years. She's worked on huge films like Star Trek (2009), Alice in Wonderland (2010) and the upcoming The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013).
Craig Shoji is a concept artist who's worked on blockbusters like Avatar (2009), Thor (2011) and Men In Black 3 (2012).
Nathan Schroeder is a conceptual artist in the movie industry that has a huge comic book pedigree with films like The Avengers (2012), X-Men (2000) and Star Trek (2009).
Rob McCallum has been a storyboard artist for almost 20 years in movies and television. You've seen his work on Falling Skies, 16 Blocks (2006) and Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004).
Andrew Probert is the legendary concept artist who helped create the DeLorean in Back to the Future (1985), The Enterprise in Star Trek: The Next Generation and more. He has over 34 yeqars of experience in the industry.
What is an NDA?Dawn Brown
"A Non-Disclosure Agreement is basically a confidentiality agreement between the employer and the employee. It requires that the employee not share any information they receive while working for the employer. In reference to concept artists working in the film industry, every studio asks us to sign one at the start of every single show. We must promise not to publicly discuss or share any artwork, designs, script info, etc. The term of the agreement typically ends when the feature film is theatrically released."
"I'd say it's a written, contractual agreement between (at least) two parties that infers that there will be 'confidential' material and information shared, and that neither party should 'disclose' any of that information to any entity outside of that contract.
"In film it's usually between an entity that's labeled the 'Producer' and one that's the 'Artist.'
"Although there aren't normally expiration dates on them, the producer usually determines when information can be shared to the public by first releasing it. Either through a public trailer, marketing material, the release of the movie, or a 'making of' book. I believe they still reserve the right to ask an artist to not publicly showcase any work created under that contract for whatever reason."
"An NDA is a non-disclosure agreement that we all sign whenever we start a new show. It says we cannot reveal anything about the project we are working on (presumably until the film is released.) "
"I'd say an NDA is legal document you sign stopping you from telling anyone outside of the production- in this case- anything about the project so it's kept a secret. They are common on all jobs these days. You can't show work to anyone, you can't tell anyone details if it hasn't officially been released."
"An NDA is an agreement signed by a person who's hired to work on a project of which the producer does not want it's contents revealed to anyone not working on that project."
How does it affect your work?Dawn Brown
"Personally, I think its perfectly reasonable for the studios to ask the crew not to spill the beans on their projects. As far as how it affects my work, the hard part is the giant lag time between when we wrap a show and it's theatrical release.
"For example, I finished Oz: The Great and Powerful last summer 2011, but I can't show anything until spring 2013. By the time I can add it to my portfolio, the artwork will be almost 2 years out of date!
"But that's the nature of the beast and most people understand this and play by the rules."
"It only affects us in that we can't post work on our website until a show comes out. It can be a problem if a show goes down and is never released."
"The only way it affects my work is in not being able to use the materials I've provided (as works for hire) as work examples, to be shown to anyone outside of the project until (typically) that project has been released to the public."
"As far as how it affects me, it's usually a little bit of a bummer that I can't 'show off' the work that I create until a couple of years after they've been completed and the film is released.
"But internally, usually all the people who are in a position to hire me (producers, production designers) on the next film have come across that work in the pipeline, or are already familiar with my work and working with me. The producers and production designers that come across my work have most likely already signed an NDA with the studio or they're part of a company that has most likely signed off on the NDA (post production house, working on a sequel to the film, etc).
"So it's usually not a problem for establishing 'credibility' for finding work. And it's a necessary part of working on a creative property so I wouldn't hesitate to sign one that I've read through and OK'd."
See more of the artist's portfolios at their sites
Dawn Brown dawnbrown.net/
Rob McCallum mccallumart.com
Andrew Probert probertdesigns.com
Nathan Schroeder nathanschroeder.net
Craig Shoji pensketch.com
Did you learn anything about the industry? What do you think about NDAs?