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4 Contract Phrases You Have to Know

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Signing an entertainment contract is a big deal, and you’ll want to ensure you understand all of the details before putting your name on the bottom line.  You may be super excited, but there are a few phrases you’ll want to make sure you’re aware of before you move forward.

Here is the first contract phrase you have to know.

Of course, making sure you’re going to be paid adequately is a big deal, and you’ll want the amount stated on the contract to match industry standards.  It may be a little under or over, but you can do some research ahead of time to determine what the average pay is for any particular gig.  Your pay may include the phrase per diem, which basically is your daily allowance to cover any living expenses when traveling.  This amount should always be adequate to cover those costs.

Here is the second contract phase you have to know.

If there’s a back-end provision regarding pay in the contract or there is a statement about being paid within a reasonable timeframe (or anything to that regard), you’ll want to ask a lot of questions.  This typically just means that you will be paid at the end of the project (i.e., at the wrap or a few weeks afterwards).  Not all actors are willing to work this way because they need the money up front, and you’ll have to decide whether or not you are comfortable with that.  You may also see percentage splits of the production revenue.  Make sure this is not your total compensation if you are working to make a living.  You’ll need to be paid for your hard work and effort no matter what – even if the production is a flop.  After all, you have little control over how much revenue it will produce.

Here is the third contract phrase you have to know.

Your contract may cite exclusivity, which is a clause that usually means you won’t be providing the same services to another party (i.e., production company, agent, etc.), within a certain area and during a specific period of time.  This is written into contracts so that you are limited in engaging with competitors. This is also a way to guarantee you don’t have the ability to take anything from the current party you’re entering into the contract with and use it to your (or someone else’s) benefit.  To put it simply, it’s an anti-competition clause.

Here is the fourth contract phrase you have to know.

You’ll want to pay attention to the terms of agreementespecially if exclusivity is written into the contract.  This is vital so you are fully aware of all the guidelines and aren’t caught doing something that will get you booted off the set or make you lose your representation.  Sometimes the period of time for which a contract is binding is overlooked and actors end up unwittingly breaking the terms.  This could give you a bad rep in a ‘who’s-who’ industry, which is definitely something you’ll want to avoid at all costs.

If you have any questions about anything written into your contract, it is important to make sure you speak up.  And remember, you can hire legal representation to point out any red flags.  It is not uncommon that many actors decide to hire a lawyer to review their contract before making a final decision.

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