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Hi Guys,

Our company got into a sticky situation recently due to other companies squabbling over payments and the like and it made us think we needed to have a standard contract that we send out before we go do a film shoot.

So I was wondering if any of you had a standard contract for location recording/boom operating that I could have a look at?

What I'm thinking is a short document basically saying that a: you'll pay us as agreed over the phone/email etc b: we'll give over the files once we've received payment c: this contract is binding.

Just asking because we're very small at the moment and don't really know the legal jargon of how to get this across.

As always, your help is very much appreciated!

Thanks, Nicol

(ps we're in the UK so it would have to be British law/jargon)

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I work in post but when I get a project confirmed I usually get a deal memo from the production company - a single page document with all the critical details.... Google 'film sound deal memo' and you'll find plenty of examples - if you have ready with all your details etc on it then its a no brainer for a production company to complete it...

Good rant & PDF of a deal memo here: http://www.trewaudio.com/audioflow/2009/01/22/doing-a-deal/

  • @Tim with reading over the memo from trew, how do you deal with the WORK FOR HIRE section. Personally I believe I should retain the rights of any SFX/BG etc recordings I do for a project and should be able to use them whenever I want, and the company retains the rights to how they are used in the "picture" you were hired for. I reuse and modify many things from previous shows especially raw recordings, How do you deal with intellectual property rights in post? – Michael Gilbert Oct 19 '11 at 9:13
  • I have a license agreement (adapted from my HISSandaROAR EULA) which specifies any sounds that I record or provide from my library or from libraries that I own, remain my property and I am licensing those sounds for the film project only (i.e. not for any sequels etc) This is actually the only way such an agreement can occur in post simply because when you use a sound from a commercial sound library you do not have the legal right to transfer ownership to the film production company. You only have the right to license it to them for the project. – user49 Oct 20 '11 at 18:51
  • Thanks for that. Really good article, and I've definitely fallen for some of those age-old production manager tricks. – Nicol J Craig Oct 27 '11 at 16:43
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I second Tim for doing post work as well, although in my experience usually I'm the one extending the contract/deal to the client than their production company doing it to me, unless it's a larger studio entity and/or there's any NDA associated with the show.

Occasionally I do handshake deals, but it's highly selective only only with a select few supervisors with whom I have a long, trusting history with.

As for writing it, I will say that mine has evolved over 4 years from 1 page to 3 pages, and it still evolves. SO it's nothing you have to make permanent (as long as you continually state its modification date in the footer or something).

What usually helps me when writing it or modifying it is, whenever I come across a certain topic to be addressed, I ask myself "how can I get legally screwed on this?". The answer results in determining the rectified solution so I couldn't be screwed on that particular topic.

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