What Are the Key Elements in a Web Series Contract?
Filmmaking is less glamorous than most people would think. Of course, there are glamorous aspects like hearing your lines read aloud and performed by great actors. The pleasure of a well-composed shot elevates the overall worth of the production. It can even lead to a film festival acceptance email. However, the stage that focuses on cast and crew contracts is not one of them. It is, nevertheless, one of the most necessary things you will dread doing.
You should know that you must have a contract signed, regardless of whether you pay employees. Every team member must be backed up in locations, even if they just work one day. Even if you are friends with the person behind the character, a simple contract agreement will still be a good option. Without any contracts, one cannot expect other people to take your endeavor as seriously as you do, especially if they can’t expect a substantial monetary reward.
To help you, here are elements that every decent contract for a web series should contain:
Clear, Reasonable Expectations and Responsibilities
Write out everything you ask your actors to accomplish in detail. It may seem minor—and it certainly can be—but these kinds of precautions will save you if anything goes wrong. If they’re an actor, how many episodes will they be in, how many filming days will be needed, and how long can they be on set each shooting day? If they’re crew, ask the same questions, as well as how long you’ll need them on set before and after shooting ends. Specify any minute details, such as whether they need to arrive earlier than the performers and remain late to tear down equipment.
Exact Amount of Compensation
Be specific on how much you will pay each actor. Be clear whether it’ll be a flat charge or depending on how many shooting days they’ll be required to work. You may also choose to defer payment. That means that your cast and crew agree to wait for payment until the project earns. At this point, they’ll get a pre-agreed-upon rate.
Even if you are probably broke because you’re self-producing a web series, make your company excellent by running it well. Avoid postponing payment in every situation. Even in unavoidable circumstances, it’s always best to provide something. Sometimes job pay can be as craft services like on-set meals and IMDb credit.
Utilization of the Final Output
Where does the web series go after it’s finished? Are you thinking about contacting distributors, or are you only posting to YouTube? Will you send your work to film festivals and live screenings?
Make an agreement upfront regarding where you’re permitted to publish episodes. Include in the contract if you, as the creator and producer, will have complete control over the final product and where it ends up. If you end up negotiating a distribution agreement, have signed contracts from your performers. It should state that they grant you the legal power to hand over the rights to the program and their performances in the web series.
It is critical to include a provision in the contract specifying how often the cast and crew are required to post about the web series and which platforms. Contracts can make everyone involved in the project take it seriously as you do. Laying out all the essentials in the deal will ensure clarity down the line. Having clear expectations from the start will be quite beneficial. When you clarify everything like expectations, responsibilities, and compensation, everyone involved in the project will be happy and fulfilled.
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