Hey Young George, emails aren't contracts. And getting someone to sign a contract is usual business practice, so go ahead and do it without feeling uneasy about it.
You can tell him it's how you always work, if you fear it will create distrust, but it never happened to me in the past. And if he doesn't want to sign it that's a huge red flag.
My personal take on it is that we set out with a turnaround time at the beginning, and we put it in writing as one of the line items within the contract - in some regards its a 'handshake deal' with some clients beyond that in terms of if we have to meet that drop-dead agreed date or if we have some wiggle room but we want to finish around that listed ...
I give contracts to my closest friends when I hire them for work. It is the only way to guarantee that everyone is on the same page and everything is spelled out in case there is a disagreement/misunderstanding down the road.
I personally have no idea what UK rates are.
Having said that - Sometimes studios have rates that they will generally pay freelancers or a series of rates based on budget, experience and what your tasks are.
Flying there - Are they paying for room and board or are you flying in on your own because you need the project?
Do you know what a standard staff ...
I find on a number of freelance
projects, the client wants some
standard contract signed to some
effect with a "work-for-hire" type
clause in it - essentially stating any
design work you do and audio materials
you provide will be owned by them.
Obviously this is something I avoid in
general, unless the price is right,
but the big question ...
Don't take risks, if there's anything that makes you feel like you have to get a written agreement for it. If the opposite side doesn't understand your intention, then they aren't acting professionally, nor maturely.
If there's no written agreement, then there's nothing you can fall back on, if something changes or goes differently from what was agreed.
When I negotiate freelance projects, I typically give clients a rough mix to review and request changes, plus 1 or 2 rounds of revisions after that to get to final mix. This simply means that this is all that will be completed under the negotiated rate (be that flat project fee or hourly/daily/etc.). Any work or revisions requested beyond that will be done ...