I am a newbie.
I have a group of Radio Plays, and a Internet Radio Station website I am hoping to put up soon completed.
I restore vintage guitar amps and have worked on lots of old/new audio gear.
A. there was a post about what is good demo material as to how sound effects flesh out visual stories, someone teaching classes posted it.
I would use vintage cartoons, as the ones from the beginning to the early 50's were gems of great created sounds, that were timed into the visual so well.
And cartoons can have lots of screen time without dialog.
I have several video tapes, copies of films, that have a digital time readout, down to tehths of a second running in the corner, so you can see the timing of a scene.
Running a clock while watching is good learning about sound timing.
B. That is a interesting fact about Edgar Rice Burroughs. The Conan series, I have the whole set from the 1960's, I think, is still connected to his family.
So a production company might not have any connection, but the children or grandchildren of the author might have a claim.
I have a fabulous idea for a new Peter Pan story, and when completed, I have to ask the family if they will look at it, as they are still connected to the property.
Edgar Rice Burroughs did write a lot of "stuff" that has not been filmed. I don't think you can copyright a public domain story, just your version of it, maybe.
Mostly, it is all about not taking a completed project, and re-selling it in some form for profit, so Disney can muscle around, but they can't stop anyone from doing their version of a public domain property.
A number of films, like "It's a Wonderful Life", fell into public domain, and that is the actual reason why TV stations started playing them.
This is proved by looking at the http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0123194/
page on Edgar, and you will see that various production companies, including John and Bo Derek, have made their versions of Tarzan.
This is actually kind of spooky, as if the families of the writers of some of the best "Stuff" ever written have not re-copyrighted the property, then fair game.
I have a modest collection of books from the late 1800s to the late 1950s, and there were lots of boy's and girl's adventure books, like "The Hardy Boys" that could be in public domain. I have seen some very nice collections of early adventure books that I was not able to buy, lots of great stories out there, ebay, or if you have any local collectible shops, for very little.
Some of the early stuff, like the "SIx River Motor Boys" is very well written, but very bad technically, and some pretty good technically, but kind-ah funky writing.
I have spent much time trying to stop reading some great book from the late 1930s in a old bookstore, long time ago.