Anything Goes : Contracts? by Caryn Ruby

Caryn Ruby


Does anyone know if there is a reliable place to get boilerplate contracts for cast and crew to sign? I'm about to go into production on an independent, self-funded, self-produced short. I'm paying crew but not able to pay the actors. Non-union, etc. I used to be a legal assistant so I understand that I probably SHOULD have everyone signing SOMETHING. Thoughts? Thank you friends!

Cali Gilbert

I'd appreciate the answer to this one as well as I'm in pre-production for an independent, self-produced short myself.

Caryn Ruby

Hi Cali. I ended up asking a friend for a favor and she sent me contracts to use. I did find this website that you might find helpful. :-)

Cali Gilbert

Thanks Caryn.

Philip Sedgwick

John Cones, an attorney here on Stage 32, has a great collection of legal forms on his website:

Cali Gilbert

Thanks Philip.

Rafael Pinero

You need deal memos, I got the from a book long time ago, I'm sure you can find some examples on the Internet.

Ernie Lijoi Sr.

Try looking up MOU (memorandum of Understanding) you may be able to use that. Just change it to fit your situation.

David Paterson

Definitely don't wing it and make sure contracts are uniform -(you be the source) don't let your crew draft their own contracts.

Zaid Mu'min

The problem with boilerplate contracts - especially those freebies found throughout the internet - is that they aren't usually custom designed to fit your needs and/or worse the state you're in. There are many nuances and clauses from state to state that could benefit you greatly that aren't in boilerplate contracts. If you're going to stick with boilerplate vs. having an attorney craft contracts for you, try to at least find examples within the state you live in, modify it to your needs, and see how much an attorney would charge you to review the contract offering improvements vs. paying an attorney to "start from scratch" although many of them have their own templates anyway. However, working in the legal field as well as the entertainment industry, I can tell you sometimes it's just plain cheaper to consult the attorney first. Many give reduced rates for initial consultations, and if they know you'll come back for other contracts in the future you may even score an affordable package deal.

Shawn Speake

Great thread. Thanks for all the insight. It's getting close to that time! Shooting FRIEND OR FOE at Mt. Princeton, Colorado in 2016

Shaun O'Banion

If you plan to become signatory to SAG-AFTRA, you'll be able to use their standard contracts, but beware of any beyond that. Contracts are not one-size-fits-all... If they were, we'd no longer need Entertainment Attorneys. Just make sure you're completely covered or they won't be worth the paper you printed them on.

Cali Gilbert

If you're in LA, here is a free workshop on May 30th regarding contracts and entertainment law. There are only a few complimentary tickets remaining. I just signed up.

David M. Adler

Please check out my blog for downloadable forms. However, you are well advised to have an entertainment attorney customize them for you!

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