When I got my DSLR a couple of years ago, little did I know the life change that would occur.
I bought a Canon DSLR that also shot HD video, mostly for Microstock. I really needed experience in using it, so I signed up to do a 48 Hour Film Festival. Based on the work I did for that, I got hired to shoot a few local commercials and invited to participate in several short films.
And then, based on all of that work, I was hired as Director of Photography to shoot a feature film. And then back to the 48 Hour Film Festival.
I was laid-off from my day job as a web developer in 2010, so the extra money was helpful while I collected unemployment and looked for another web developer job. I even dabbled a bit in professional photography, doing senior photos, family photos, etc...
But it turns out that video was my true calling. After doing very well in a couple more film festivals, I was hired by a national company to shoot long-form commercials for the web. The pay was decent, not great, but I enjoyed the travel and I really enjoyed working with businesses to increase their exposure.
The travel did eventually start to wear on me and my family, and fortunately I was able to find a local job shooting commercials for television that gives me more time for doing short films and even work on my own project (a feature-length documentary).
So what's the point... It's this... While shooting a commercial for a health clinic, I noticed that some of the shots would make great stock photos and video. So, I decided to ask if the subjects would sign model releases and to my surprise, they did.
Since then, I always keep 10 to 20 blank model releases in my camera bag and now I ALWAYS ask if I the actors will sign releases. Sometimes it's Yes and sometimes it's No. But I discovered it never hurts to ask.