Let’s say your friend invites you to play at a small concert. She wants you to play for 2 hours, but she doesn’t tell you how much time or how much the pay is.  What do you do? How can you set limits, based on what your friend is asking? The entertainment business is tricky, but you can protect yourself by drafting an enforceable entertainment contract before signing up for any gigs. 

Every business needs contracts to protect its interests and relationships with customers, vendors, partners, and employees. To protect yourself from unexpected risks and liabilities, you need customized contracts that are specific to the entertainment industry. 

To help you create legally enforceable contracts without anxiety, here is a guide to creating clear and enforceable contracts for the entertainment business: 

1. What is an entertainment contract?  

Entertainment contracts are legally binding agreements that outline the roles and responsibilities of artists and managers. These agreements protect both parties involved in the deal and ensure that everyone knows what to expect from one another. 

Entertainers can be vulnerable to exploitation without proper legal representation. That’s why they should be sure to have contracts in place before entering any business dealings. For example, if you are an actor or singer who hires a manager or agent, then you will need to set out how much of your earnings go towards commissions before signing off on any representation. 

The entertainment business has its own set of standards and practices that go beyond what most other industries expect as standard procedures in their contracts. If you operate in the entertainment industry or plan to do so at some point, you need to understand how different types of contracts protect your interests — and how they do not. 

2. What is enforceable and why is it different from other contracts?  

An enforceable contract is one that can be enforced in a court of law. That is, the law allows for the enforcement of the contract. An enforceable contract must always be valid. A valid contract may, however, be unenforceable.  

Using contracts as a map of what you expect from your business partners is crucial. Even if you think you have dotted every “i” and crossed every “t,” be prepared to walk away from a contract if the other party is not following through. 

3. Why should you have an enforceable entertainment contract as an artist?  

As an artist, you should have a contract to protect yourself and your work. Making an agreement with your manager can help both parties involved in the deal and clearly outline the roles and responsibilities of the artist and manager. 

A contract is an agreement that sets out all the details, expectations, and compensation for a project. It clearly outlines who is responsible for what task, who is providing what service, and how all of that work is getting done. Once you have identified what must be done and who is doing what, you can outline the specifics of the work. 

entertainment contract

4. In contracts, you will find sections regarding the following:  

  • The parties of the contract:  

Who is entering into the contract? Who is the customer? Who are you? A contract should spell out exactly what each party is promising to deliver, what the other agrees to pay for or do in exchange, and how long the agreement will last. It also should state who will perform the services, for whom and where. 

  • The scope of work:  

What services or products will be provided as part of the contract? The scope section of a contract or job description details how the goals will be attained. Initially, the scope of a project begins with a statement of purpose. This is an overview of the job or contract.  

It can also include individual sections outlining specific deliverables. Within each area, there will be information about tasks and deadlines when they are to be completed. 

  • The deliverables:  

What is the specific outcome expected from the contract? Contract deliverables are contractual obligations that must be fulfilled by both parties in an entertainment contract. They help ensure that both parties honor the intent of their contract. 

  •  The payment terms:  

When will each party be responsible for payment? What is the payment schedule? It is important to clearly state when each party will be responsible for payment, and how much and when you expect to be paid. Be clear about where the money will go. Also, leave on paper when you are going to get paid, how much, and who is going to pay you.

  •  The termination terms:  

If either party wants to end the contract, when and how should that be done? It is possible that the employer to cancel the contract halfway through. If you are still planning the event, but they have not yet paid anything more than the deposit, you will want to ensure that your contract protects you from monetary loss. You don’t want to lose all the work you have done on their behalf if they cancel the event.  

Aside from that, please remember to include when the event ends, as well as when the contract no longer applies. In order to avoid any confusion and misunderstandings, it is important that the contract clearly states what both parties need to do. When they will do it, and how they will do it. Protect your work by ensuring that everything goes smoothly. 

The Wrap:  

Contracts are an essential part of doing business altogether. Contracts may seem intimidating, but they don’t need to be so. The more familiar you are with the basics of contract law and the more prepared you are, the easier the process will be. But it is important to note that even though you follow all the best practices for creating clear and enforceable contracts, you cannot predict every single scenario that might arise in your business.  

Contracts, in their nature, are intended to be all-encompassing and ironclad. But the truth is that in any given situation, there will always be unforeseen circumstances. That is why it is important to have a thorough knowledge of enforceable entertainment contracts and how they work — so you can make the best decision possible in any situation. 

Creators Legal is the first and only legal platform for content creators. We designed a platform just for content creators to craft simple, straightforward, and trustworthy contracts in a fast, easy-to-use platform. With a powerful form builder, a secure e-signature system, and your own personalized dashboard to store and organize all your contracts, you can get yourself protected in minutes without the need for expensive entertainment lawyers!