July 8, 2009 at 1:38 pm
Template contract for typical beginners. Modify to your specific needs.
I, (name here) henceforth to be referred to as “the dummy”, will contract to work on your ill-defined project for an unspecified amount of hours, with no limitations on how many times I will re-do the work, until you are satisfied, for a single, fixed, fee, payable by third-party out-of-state check, only once and long after you have been completely satisfied, and after you yourself (henceforth to be known as “the client”) have made any and all profit from the use of this work, but not if the project incurs no profits. Profits to be determined by Client’s verbal say-so. Client will decide when and if to pay for services rendered on a flexible net-2000 basis, with free extensions.
Delivery date will remain fixed, no matter how scope of project is changed, or how many times it is re-done, but client reserves the right to move up the delivery date sooner without penalty. Or notice. Dummy pays for delivery of finished product to a third party.
Re-editing 90 percent of this project is not to be considered a new project, but a free correction to the original one. All dubs are complimentary.
Client has the right to refuse payment for reasons of changes they thought of but never actually communicated to the dummy. Client has the right to incorrectly spell graphics information without penalty. All mistakes will be corrected by the dummy for free.
“The dummy” also agrees to turn over all assets used in the production of your project, including shot lists, logs, EDL’s, project files and Dummy’s most recent copy of Apple Final Cut Pro and Adobe After Efects, in case Client wants to re-edit the work privately at some future date. The Dummy will also teach any staff or relative the Client names, how the work was done, at no extra charge, for however many hours it takes to make the Client’s people competent at replacing the Dummy.
Dummy holds no rights or ownership of finished product and has no permission to show any or all of it to anyone else, or even to admit the project existed or that s/he worked on it, on pain of lawsuit damages.
Dummy further agrees to a non-compete clause that forbids him/her from making any videos for any other clients, of any sort, for any market, until such time as Client says it is okay.
Dummy is liable for any and all lawsuits and legal actions undertaken against the Client regarding this work specifically and anything else generally. Dummy will pay any fines and penalties against this work for things such as copyright violations.
Client reserves the right to add new conditions and clauses to this agreement unilaterally and at will, with no time limit or expiration date.
Signed in blood, with no option for the Dummy to renegotiate.
July 8, 2009 at 2:14 pm
I’d sign that in a heartbeat. Although depending on how much blood was needed to sign my heart might not be beating.
July 8, 2009 at 2:50 pm
I guess this is where I chime in and mention that if you puncture a vein instead of an artery you will be less likely to bleed to death while signing this contract.
Mark – this should be required reading for anyone getting into business.
July 8, 2009 at 3:36 pm
I’ve had clients re-write my contract to be worse than this one. Great writing Mark!!!
July 8, 2009 at 4:46 pm
This should be an article in the library.
July 8, 2009 at 5:19 pm
Yes… as long as I retain the domestic and foreign movie rights. If you want to option it for a MOW, call me at home.
All it really is, is a distillation of the first paragraph or so of many of the sob-stories that get posted as Business Forum questions. It reads easier than a FAQ, is all.
July 8, 2009 at 6:39 pm
July 8, 2009 at 7:52 pm
This would be even funnier if it wasn’t so rooted in reality!
My proposed adds:
Dummy shall also supply, without reimbursement, all recording tapes, discs, and/or digital storage consumables including but not limited to batteries, stage and/or gaffers tape, plus provide location client seating, sun coverage (tents), sunblock (SPF 40 minimum) as well as provide ample craft services for cast, crew, executives; specifically including but not limited to parents, in-laws, boy/girl friends, out-of-state relatives, and anyone else the Client chooses to attempt to impress by inviting to the set.
Finally, if said video project achieves any measure of success, the client – regardless of how diligently they worked to sabotage, undermine, or prevent the successful completion of the project – reserves the irrevocable right to refer to the resulting work as “MY video” irrespective of how little they actually contributed to the successful completion of same.
July 9, 2009 at 1:43 am
And don’t forget the following when traveling out of the country for a job:
Dummy will be required to pay for all his/her traveling expenses, including but not limited to, airfare, lodging, food, beverages, pleasure/erotic services requested by and enjoyed by Client without Dummy’s knowledge. Upon checking out of said lodging, Dummy must willingly permit Client to authorize charges incurred by key talent hired directly by Client to Dummy’s credit card without reprisal.
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