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Q&A with rights clearance expert Ashley Kravitz

With such an abundance of information readily available at our fingertips, research has become synonymous with jumping on Google or Wikipedia. But in the world of TV & film, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Not only have you got to empathise with the story, grasp the subject and then hunt down the content, but there’s an intricate network of third-party rights to navigate too. This alone is a fraught undertaking.

You’ve got to identify any elements in your content that might contain third-party rights, find and make contact with the relevant rights holder, and then negotiate the terms in which you can feature those copyrighted elements in your content.

When you’ve got the rest of your project to be working on, it can be a huge time sink. That’s why Alamy collaborates with clearance professionals like Ashley Kravitz so that some of the burden can be shared.

Ashley’s clearance business, Cleared by Ashley, has been using Alamy for over nine years to source visual assets for the TV and film industry. She has over 25 years’ experience clearing rights for a wide range of businesses and film studios including Walt Disney.

We spoke to her to find out more about her role as a researcher and her partnership with Alamy.

Alamy: Hi Ashley. How’s the glamorous world of TV & Film going?

Ashley: The entertainment industry is thriving and busier than ever!

Alamy: What’s keeping you so busy during a typical day at Cleared by Ashley?

Ashley: Very busy! I get up and check emails beginning around 6:30am and usually do not shut the computer down until around 9 or 10pm.  My whole day is dedicated to bringing my email inbox down – I’m not always successful.

Alamy: I’m sure many readers will relate. How close are you to the story and the content needed to convey the narrative?

Ashley: Clearance people are often seen as the resistance to the creative process. Over the years, I’ve really strived to be helpful and offer up suggestions that may work as an alternative.

Alamy: How has the work of a researcher and clearance expert changed over the years?

Ashley: I think the job has evolved where people understand the importance of the position, but not everyone enjoys the process. Over the years, we’ve been able to come up with solutions where we have given the creators more flexibility in allowing items to be used.

Alamy: You’ve been working with Alamy for quite a few years now. What is it that keeps bringing you back to the Alamy collection?

Ashley: Alamy has such a great collection and I’m always able to find material that will work for our productions. The service is incredibly fast and no nonsense.

Alamy: Has there been a time where an image you found on Alamy saved the day?

Ashley: I think this is a daily occurrence in my life where Alamy saves the day. In the production world, we often have needs where the image is required within the hour and Alamy always pulls through for me.

Alamy: What advice would you give to someone tackling a rights clearance case?

Ashley: Handle with care. People like to be taken care of and I like to help make things as easy as possible.

Alamy: How important is it to you to have a personalised Account Manager when working with an agency?

Ashley: I think this is super important in our industry so that you can build a relationship and have a bond with someone who understands the needs and the service being provided.

Alamy: How would you describe the importance of your partnership with Alamy?

Ashley: I truly enjoy working with my rep who has become my friend. Knowing that I can email or call and know that my voice is being heard is so important.

Alamy: Anthony Sullivan is the Account Manager you speak of. He’s been working with you for many years now, so we spoke to him to find out how he works alongside you. Anthony, what’s it been like working with Ashley?

Anthony: We work with Ashley over several time zones. We could be communicating with her in Los Angeles time, but delivering content to a film production in East Europe, while billing a third party in California.

We also work on several projects at a time with Ashley meaning we’re managing requests from different production teams, working from different networks, all filming or billing in different locations and countries.

Ashley brings an array of projects which are all very exciting to work on. Having had the pleasure of working with Ashley for almost a decade, we’ve built an efficient process and a friendship that provides a service unlike any other.

Are you looking for a creative content partner? Get in touch and book a demo with us to find out how we can save you time and money.

Matt Yau

Matt started off as a live music photographer covering up-and-coming bands in Brighton, and since then has become enamoured by the power of pictures. With a penchant for storytelling, he's on a mission to uncover unique images from the Alamy library and tell the story behind them.

Read more from Matt