Basic Points of a Contract

Contracts vary in length and complexity from job to job, and especially between different types of work. Below are a few general points to consider whenever your looking at a contract.

COMMERCIALS/TV/FILM 

1. NAMES OF THE TWO PARTIES THAT ARE AGREEING TO THE TERMS OF THE CONTRACT. On our side, this can be ACT, on behalf of the client (who should be named) 

2. DETAILS OF SHOOT: DATES/LOCATION/CHARACTER 

3. DETAILS OF ANY SUPPLEMENTARY MATERIAL BEING MADE – such as a “Making Of” video, Posters, Point of Sale, Leaflets , stills etc.  

4. FEE broken down into the following: 

  • BASIC SHOOT FEE (BSF) 
  • ADDITIONAL FEES ie recall, wardrobe, rehearsal/travel, overtime 
  • USAGE FEE (also known as a buy out) or REPEAT FEE  
  • AGENCY FEE – will usually only be quoted separately if it is a non UK production company shooting outside UK (and typically 20% added to sum of all other fees and expenses) 
  • FEE FOR SUPPLEMENTARY MATERIAL  (IF APPLICABLE) 

5. TERRITORY – exactly which countries in which the material will be used 

6. MEDIA – television (terrestrial/satellite/cable), internet, cinema, other media/networks such as campus TV channels, washroom screens, internal corporate communication, tradeshows etc 

7. DURATION – how long the material can be used, from date of first airing 

8. Country in which the contract has been drawn up, and under which law it will comply. 

THEATRE 

1 NAMES OF THE TWO PARTIES THAT ARE AGREEING TO THE TERMS OF THE CONTRACT. On our side, this can be ACT, on behalf of the client (who should be named) 

2. DETAILS OF PRODUCTION: Rehearsal and Production Dates/Max. number of shows per week/Locations/Character 

3. FEE may include: 

– Rehearsal Fee 

– Performance Fee 

– Appearance Fee (if an understudy role) 

– Holiday pay details 

– Subsistence, travel allowance, meals allowances etc 

4. ILLNESS – the contract should include a clause which clarifies what will happen if the actor is ill or cannot attend a rehearsal/performance for any reason  

5. PAYMENT – when will payment be made and to whom it will be made (eg monthly to agent or weekly to client etc) 

6.  There will be lots of other clauses protecting the production company – things such as non appearance, bad behaviour, providing photos & biogs, making promotional videos, attending press calls, attending sponsors functions etc. 

7. Country in which the contract has been drawn up, and under which law it will comply. 

RELEASE FORMS 

These are slightly different from contracts: they are a different kind of agreement, in which the client consents to give the production company the rights to their images. They will not include details of working hours or conditions.  Always check release forms, they are legally binding and could leave the client with very little money while their image is being used worldwide in perpetuity or other undesirable outcomes. 

Often with commercials these may be the only form of contractual paperwork you get offered, so make sure you have an email trail which discusses working hours/OT/travel/use of wardrobe etc.

If a client is on set and being pressured by the production company to sign a release form, tell them to write ‘REFER TO AGENT’ and get them to email a copy to the office for us to check and approve.