If you are a budding talent, chances are, you will be required to sign a talent contract. A talent contract contains detailed terms and agreements that might be confusing to the average person. A Talent Contract Lawyer can help take the mystery out of your talent contract and see to it that you agree to terms that are in your best interest.
What is a Talent Contract?
A talent contract defines, in detail, the working terms, conditions and agreements between a budding talent and the agency hired to represent the talent and vice versa.
As an artist, by signing a talent contract, you ensure that the agency works diligently in your honor and only takes the agreed upon share of earnings.
As a talent agency, a talent contract details your expectations of artist conduct and payment, so the working relationship runs smoothly.
Who Needs a Talent Contract?
Why It Is Important to Have a Lawyer Negotiate a Talent Contract?
Having a lawyer like Francelina Perdomo, our Managing Partner, negotiate a talent contract can help a new talent avoid making a bad deal. When a novice talent, such as an actor, starts out on a set, they are usually under a "test option" which allows them to work under temporary terms until the producer determines they are wanted for the show.
During the test option, the actor receives fees, generally lower than hired on fees. If the producer decides to keep the actor, the actor could be locked in at the lower rate, unless they renegotiate the terms of the contract. Lawyers Focusing on Talent Contracts can negotiate the terms of your contract, so you receive greater compensation once you are hired on.
There are many terms of negotiation within a talent contract, some include:
- Pilot Option - The pilot option is an initial agreement that specifies the amount of time after the test that the producer must commit to the actor by utilizing the pilot option. Since test options are exclusive, the actor is unable to audition for other shows until the option terminates. The pilot option usually expires within a few days of the audition.
- Series Option - After the pilot expires, the talent is generally anxious for the Producer to employ them. The Producer, typically, has 7-10 business days after accepting the network order, to employ the option.
Generally, the series option is constructed as a series of options, so the actor is employed for consecutive seasons. At the end of each season, (there are usually 6-7) the producer is required to exercise its option after the Network makes known their season renewal for the forthcoming season, usually around mid-June.
A television series generally hires an actor on exclusive terms, which means, during the life of their contract, they are forbidden to appear on other programs. However, in certain instances, such as when negotiating for a talent at star level and cable programs, a Talent Contract Lawyer may be able to reach an agreement concerning guest appearances on other programs, voice over, feature films, commercials and more.
A talent's credit is often of utmost importance. Points dictate the order in which the credit appears as well as whether it is on a single card or shared card and the location inside the program the credit is visible. Talent Contract Lawyers are highly experienced at negotiations, and can often negotiate unique agreements.
How a Lawyer Can Help You Get Out of a Talent Contract
A contract is legally binding, which means if you do not honor the terms of the agreement, you can be sued for breach of contact. There are stipulations to the rule, but you must have a justifiable reason to breach the contract. Lawyers Focusing on Talent Contracts are skilled in escape clauses and can help you get out of your talent contract the legal way.