Film Contracts

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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Handling film contracts can be an exhausting dimension of any production. At the same time, because these contracts contain the clauses governing everything from your talent's obligations and pay to the terms of your studio rentals and expendables, this is no place to cut corners. Do you really need an attorney to look over every piece of paper that leaves your office?

It's impractical to have a legal representative draw up individual film contracts for every aspect of your show. For one thing, it would cost you a fortune. Secondly, there are generic contracts and operating agreements that are standard throughout the business. Submit a proposal to your caterer detailing the cost-per-head you can pay for your crew's lunches and dinners, and the company will respond with a quote of its own. There's no need for a team of barristers to oversee the transaction.

Generating Film Contracts

Since so many film contracts are in fact standard, options abound for software that helps you print these sheets. Draft your actor employer agreements, clip licenses, and crew deal memos in any of the templates provided. Your cast and crew will likely sign these forms without too much fuss, though some members will choose to consult their own attorneys first. Know that that's fairly standard on any show.

Your goal as producer then is to generate these film contracts as effortlessly as possible. Clearly, you don't want to do so at the expense of good sense or accuracy, but you do want to buy contract, accounting, and budgeting software that's easy to operate, intuitive, and robust enough to allow for customization. You may, for instance, have stars on your show who demand specialty clauses. Nine times out of 10, if those stars are big enough, you'll find yourself tweaking their contracts to make allowances for new trailers, personal chefs, massage therapists, and more.

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