The key person for any film or television production is the producer. The producer is with the entire production from start to finish, supervising each part of the production, making sure that it stays under budget and on time. With all of the responsibility, each producer should have his or her own producer contract lawyer.
Lawyers focusing on producer contracts know the job inside and out, what is expected and what the compensation should be. A producer contract should be agreed upon and filed before the producer begins work on any project in order to protect themselves as well as the production company.
What is In the Producer Contract?
The producer contract is one that is extremely in depth, stating every task, deadline and compensation that may arise during the course of the production. Since the producer often starts during the writing process, this can be a very lengthy contract, which is why producers need lawyers focusing on producer contracts to negotiate and draw up the contracts.
The first thing that is negotiated is the time frame of the production. Every step from writing to filming, editing and releasing, have their own deadlines. While other positions, like the director, may be in charge of their own deadlines, it is up to the producer to ensure that these deadlines are met. The contract will state the deadline for each task as well as any potential bonus if the deadline is met or reduction of pay if the task goes beyond the deadline.
Job duties are another key element of the producer's contract. Often, they are in charge of everything that is involved in creating the production. They assist the writers, develop the sets and backgrounds or they facilitate on location shoots, they help the director with casting and they decide what music should be used and when in the production. Each production will have his or her own set of responsibilities based on the production; it is imperative that each duty is outlined in the contract so they know what is expected of them throughout the production.
Like any other business, productions must stay under a set budget. This is yet another part of the producer's position. They need to ensure that the cost of the production does not go over what has been allocated to them. If there is 5 million allocated for special effects, the cost must stay under this amount, if it ends up being 6 million, then the producer runs a high risk of having their pay cut.
On the subject of pay, this is another part of the producer's contract. The starting point will be the base pay, what is paid out when every part of the film comes in under budget and on time. Then they add in bonuses. These bonuses are typically made when the production grosses a certain amount over what has been spent. Other times where bonuses can be earned are when the deadlines are met with plenty of time to spare or when it comes in well under budget.
Who Should Have a Producers Contract?
Francelina Perdomo, our Managing Partner, believes every producer should have a contract for every production they work on. Since each production is different, different cast members, view, budget and deadlines, there should be a different contract that lays out the individual tasks and rewards for each job. The production company will typically have their own lawyers focusing on producer contracts so producers need to have their own producers contract lawyer to ensure they get a fair deal.
The typical process of the contract is that each party, the producer and the production company, meets with their own attorneys to decide what they want out of the contract. The parties will then meet in a non-formal environment like a meeting room to lay out what they both want.
Each party will negotiate certain terms, which will be in the contract. Once an agreement has been made, the contract is drafted, signed and filed. It is then official and cannot be altered unless there is a clause in the draft that allows for changes. The producer contract lawyer is instrumental in assisting the producer to get the best conclusion in all of their contracts.
Please contact the entertainment lawyers at Perdomo Klukosky and Associate for a consultation regarding your entertainment law needs.