Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Get It In Writing: Entertainer Contracts


A Good Contract is Tailored to Fit Your Needs 


Congratulations, you’ve just landed your first real gig as an entertainer. Now, comes the hard part: negotiating the contract. Making your way through all the legalese in the pages of documents that are a part of any solid entertainment job is definitely not fun, but necessary, to make sure both you and the venue that hired you are happy after the performance.



We highly recommend hiring an experienced entertainment attorney who can advise you on the ins and outs of a good contract that’s tailored to fit your needs. In general, a contract should cover the basics of what both you and the venue expect from the performance. In addition, a good contract should include provisions for unexpected complications or difficulties, such as illness.

Some things that may seem common sense should be included on the contract so that neither party is surprised on the day of the event. These include details about setup, which members of the group (if more than one person) will be performing, whether you’re available for overtime, perhaps even what the performers will be wearing.

Things to look for in a contract

Some other things to think about before you sign any entertainment contracts:

Insurance. Be aware that you may be asked whether you have personal injury and property damage liability insurance and, if you do, you may be asked to show proof.

Cancellation. One of the most important provisions of the contract is the cancellation clause. This should state clearly how much notice the entertainer or venue needs in order for the deposit to be refunded, if at all.

Space. Perhaps the venue is a multi-stage venue. Make sure you know where you’ll be performing to avoid any disappointments.

Equipment. Equipment needs are another issue that may need to be included in the contract. Will you as the entertainer come equipped with everything you need, except for sound and lighting? What do you expect the venue to provide for your performance?

Payment. Most likely the venue has paid you a deposit. A good contract should state whether the deposit is refundable and under what circumstances. Most important, the contract should state what forms of payment you accept for the balance and when you expect that payment.

Marketing and promotion. If you’re just starting out, any marketing and promotion that the venue conducts may seem like a dream to you, but you still want to make sure that you’ll receive appropriate billing in any marketing campaign. Also, if you have CDs or T-shirts that you want to sell at the event, you want to make sure this is something mentioned out in the contract.

Hiring an attorney to handle a contract for you is the best way to ensure your needs are met. In the long run, an attorney can save you money - and potential headaches.

Photo credit: BJ Carter

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