With the rights to the project acquired, several releases ready to go, and contracts with a majority of the crew in place, what's next?
More contracts and clearances!
The majority of the production contracts fall into 4 categories: location agreements, clearance agreements, equipment rental agreements, and vendor agreements. These production agreements typically have a quick turnaround and there will be a considerable amount of them over the course of a production. While your production should have standard releases and agreements ready to go before production begins, not every location, vendor, or person is going to want to sign your agreement. Some may have an agreement of their own or questions about your standard release that an attorney can readily help with.
There are two types of location agreements: (1) non-filming location agreements and (2) filming location agreements. At non-filming location's, no filming is taking place; however, there still needs to be an agreement for parking, catering, and other various base camp operations. For filming location agreements, a lot more issues will have to be considered and the legal risk is greater.
When it comes to clearance agreements, also known as materials releases and license agreements, there is typically a whole department set up for just this specifically. Imagine all the logos on clothing, artwork hanging on walls, music playing, books on the shelves, and the list goes on and on. Someone has to clear that. Now think about stock footage such as an aerial shot of a city or picturesque mountains, that too has to be cleared whether it is a vendor who specializes in these types of shots or a person who whipped out their camera phone and put it on the internet.
Bottom line when it comes to clearance agreements, if it’s not cleared, don’t put it in your project!
Equipment Rental Agreements
It’s important to have an equipment rental agreement ready to go; however, more often than not equipment rental companies will have their own agreements drawn up that they want you to use. Rental equipment ranges from honey wagons to cranes, cars, a variety of cameras, lights and lighting equipment, microphones, cables, headphones, different lenses, and the list goes on and on with what you need to rent for your production.
Vendor agreements tend to be the most straightforward agreements of all. The most common one is usually for catering or craft services. After all, everyone has to eat, including multiple times on long sets days.
One of the most important things in a vendor agreement is the statement of work detailing the work that will be provided and specifying dates, time and location of where the services are to be performed.
As your production continues and depending on the course it takes, additional contracts such as nudity riders, trade out agreements, and notice of filming will need to be drafted as well.
When production finishes, most of the necessary agreements are complete. A distribution agreement is the final goal, but don’t forget that an attorney may be needed when it comes to marketing the work or throwing a wrap party to celebrate all your hard work.
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