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Client contracts
Old 18th January 2013
  #1
Lives for gear
 
cananball's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Client contracts

It's it essential to hire an entertainment attorney to draft agreements between post folks and clients on straight hourly or flat rate projects? The entertainment attorney I've spoken to want ridiculous retainers. I can hire a general business attorney but unsure what I might be risking.

Sent from my SCH-I535
Old 18th January 2013
  #2
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Henchman's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Try and find an existing contract that you can use.
Because a contract is only as good as the person you're dealing with.
And the only wy to ensure full payment is to get paid before any materials are released.
Something to uphold with clients you've ne'er worked with before.
Old 19th January 2013
  #3
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
General rule:

If you thoroughly understand the language of the contract, you don't absolutely need a lawyer... but of course it won't hurt if you consult one.

If you don't understand the language of the contract, don't sign it until you do.

If you understand it and you don't like a specific clause or provision, come up with an alternative and suggest it to the client. If it's reasonable - and they understand the contract - you can probably get it through.

If the client doesn't understand the contract and insists you sign it with no changes, carefully reconsider whether you want to work for somebody who doesn't know their own business.

If there are phrases in the contract that might have a specific legal meaning and you're unsure of them, call the lawyer. You don't need a retainer relationship, just hire one for an hour or two.

Likewise, you can hire a lawyer to review your changes and ask "Does this mean what I think it means?".

--

There is no specific legal advice in this note, just business advice. Specific advice for your situation can only come from Your Friendly Local Licensed Attorney (tm).
Old 20th January 2013
  #4
Gear Nut
 
MixMasterM's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Henchman ➡️
Try and find an existing contract that you can use.
Because a contract is only as good as the person you're dealing with.
And the only wy to ensure full payment is to get paid before any materials are released.
Something to uphold with clients you've ne'er worked with before.
Agreed. I generally don't bother with official contracts anymore as it doesn't mean anything if you're an independent professional. Facilities have contracts and the lawyers to deal with unpaid funds - if it's even worth the hassle.

The best way I've found in dealing with clients and payment is to clearly state in your budget that 50% is paid up front (on delivery of elements - OMF, Picture etc), and the balance is due before handing over the final mix audio deliverables. Also, clearly state how many days/weeks of work will take place on the project, and what exactly you agree to deliver at the end of the project. Get everything agreed upon in written (email) form, not over the phone. If a client isn't willing to pay half up front for editorial expenses, foley, ADR and Dub stage bookings etc, then I would assume they aren't serious, and wouldn't work with them.

This only applies when dealing with clients directly and handling the entire sound budget, not when hired by a facility. I find that in most cases when working for a facility or supervising sound editor, that payment is never a problem, and once an invoice is issued, payment is usually within 30 days.
Old 20th January 2013
  #5
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Uncle Bob's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
The main reasons to sign a contract is to keep a project from becoming open ended and to make clear the payment schedule.

My contract/agreement gives the start date and end date of the project, payment schedule (50% up front, 50% on delivery), what materials I want (OMF, alt production tracks, etc.) and their method of delivery (2 TB Glyph FW800 drive, for example), and how often they will get updates, premixes, etc. and their method of delivery and exactly what I have been asked to do (soup to nuts [Dx edit, Foley, Sound FX, spot score, spot/edit source music, and mix], a dialog edit only, just Foley, etc.).

Mostly it guarantees that they will actually pay attention to (read) my requests/requirements and that there will be no "you didn't tell me" or "I didn't know" later on.
Old 20th January 2013 | Show parent
  #6
Lives for gear
 
danijel's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Bob ➡️
The main reasons to sign a contract is to keep a project from becoming open ended and to make clear the payment schedule.

My contract/agreement gives the start date and end date of the project, payment schedule (50% up front, 50% on delivery), what materials I want (OMF, alt production tracks, etc.) and their method of delivery (2 TB Glyph FW800 drive, for example), and how often they will get updates, premixes, etc. and their method of delivery and exactly what I have been asked to do (soup to nuts [Dx edit, Foley, Sound FX, spot score, spot/edit source music, and mix], a dialog edit only, just Foley, etc.).

Mostly it guarantees that they will actually pay attention to (read) my requests/requirements and that there will be no "you didn't tell me" or "I didn't know" later on.
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