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Ultimate sample typical contract for newbies

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Mark Suszko
Ultimate sample typical contract for newbies
on Jul 8, 2009 at 1:38:50 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.


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Jeremy Doyle
Re: Ultimate sample typical contract for newbies
on Jul 8, 2009 at 2:14:56 pm

I'd sign that in a heartbeat. Although depending on how much blood was needed to sign my heart might not be beating.



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Mike Cohen
Re: Ultimate sample typical contract for newbies
on Jul 8, 2009 at 2:50:23 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.

Mike Cohen


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Nectarios Leonidas
Re: Ultimate sample typical contract for newbies
on Jul 16, 2009 at 7:08:24 pm

You forgot to add, The pay is deferred. After we pay the investors, producers, cast, crew and craft service. We might send you a payment in 10 years time.. just make sure you keep your address the same


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Corrado Marengo
Re: Ultimate sample typical contract for newbies
on Jul 11, 2009 at 12:05:53 pm

OMG It's amazing to see how similar is this situation all over the world...

Anyway, here my 2 cents:

-The dummy will re-digitize the 3 years old 36 hour footage in 1 day, obviously for free.

Cause the client thinks (?) you should have kept all on your HD, forever. It goes without saying that he never had paid for any backup.

He thinks you should work with his Umatic tape to intercut the new totally different in color and format footage, creatively creating HIS new corporate video for a reduced fee cause he came back to you.

Why we keep working for them????

CM

Editor with
Final Cut Pro
Avid
______________
Digital cameraman with
Sony Z1, Z7, EX1 and EX3


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Greg Ball
Re: Ultimate sample typical contract for newbies
on Jul 8, 2009 at 3:36:57 pm

I've had clients re-write my contract to be worse than this one. Great writing Mark!!!


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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Ultimate sample typical contract for newbies
on Jul 8, 2009 at 4:46:57 pm

This should be an article in the library.

Willing, Mark?

:)

Ron


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Mark Suszko
Re: Ultimate sample typical contract for newbies
on Jul 8, 2009 at 5:19:15 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.


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Robert Morris
Re: Ultimate sample typical contract for newbies
on Jul 9, 2009 at 5:59:40 am

It's a little TOO easy to understand for a contract, though. Could you give it another pass, and post a few versions for us? :)


Fine Art Drawings | Photography | Compositing | VFX | Titles | Keying | 3D


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Ty Ford
Re: Ultimate sample typical contract for newbies
on Jul 9, 2009 at 11:33:35 am

I am shocked and appalled by the lack of attention to the issue of consumables in this contract! The lack of provisions that would require that the signer pay for all food and drink during preproduction, production and post production is a careless oversight. When will we, as industry professionals, realize and accept the responsibilities of our work!

Ty Ford

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Ultimate sample typical contract for newbies
on Jul 9, 2009 at 3:11:49 pm

[Ty Ford] "I am shocked and appalled by the lack of attention to the issue of consumables in this contract! The lack of provisions that would require that the signer pay for all food and drink during preproduction, production and post production is a careless oversight."

Might I humbly suggest a clause, such as:

"The Dummy shall maintain and provide Client with their current American Express Gold or Platinum card which shall be used, in part, to purchase any and all consumables related to current project and/or other projects which Client, at their discretion, shall deem as applicable to the successful completion of the job. Client also maintains additional right to use said Gold or Platinum card for any and all entertaining associated with the project, including but not limited to food, drinks, tips, bribes and gifts to agencies and their representative, if applicable, and to any and all family members or others who may wish to dress up for visits to set, and/or visits to salons to have hair, nails or make-up refreshed for aforesaid visits on-set or to Client's hotel accommodations, which shall also be covered by Dummy. Hotel accommodations include, but are not limited to, basic room charges, tips to hotel staff -- Dummy is herewith made aware that Client is an excellent tipper -- as well as mini-bar, visits to the restaurant, main bar or any of the shops along the hotel promenade. The burden of proof that said purchases were made on the hotel promenade shall be on Client, to protect Dummy's right that said purchases were made in accordance with the provision of this contract."

There, that last proviso I put in to protect the Dummy even further.

Would something like that work for you, Ty?

Best,

Ron Lindeboom


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Christopher Wright
Re: Ultimate sample typical contract for newbies
on Jul 9, 2009 at 8:46:14 pm

Thanks Ty for the great music to go along with perusing this long thread!
Very soothing indeed!!

Dual 2.5 G5, IO, Kona LH, IO, Medea Raid, UL4D, NVidia 6800, 4Gig RAM
Octocore 8 GB Ram, Radeon card, MBP, MXO
Windows Vista Adobe Studio CS4, Vegas 8.0, Lightwave 9.3, Sound Forge 9, Acid Pro 7, Continuum 5, Boris Red 4, Combustion 2008, Sapphire Effects


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Steve Kownacki
Re: Ultimate sample typical contract for newbies
on Jul 8, 2009 at 6:39:04 pm

Is it understood then that due to their impending short deadline, and that the fact that the accounting dept is on vacation, that we'll happily start work without a deposit and without actually receiving a signed contract?

Steve



Jump to the FFP Website



View Steve Kownacki's profile on LinkedIn




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Bill Davis
Re: Ultimate sample typical contract for newbies
on Jul 8, 2009 at 7:52:02 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.





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Dan Parsons
Re: Ultimate sample typical contract for newbies
on Jul 9, 2009 at 1:43:59 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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Robert Morris
Re: Ultimate sample typical contract for newbies
on Jul 9, 2009 at 6:00:52 am

Somebody's got stories...


Fine Art Drawings | Photography | Compositing | VFX | Titles | Keying | 3D


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Ian Dillon
Re: Ultimate sample typical contract for newbies
on Jul 9, 2009 at 2:26:07 am

"Dummy" understands that compressing footage and mastering a DVD of it (1 hour) is the same as making a VHS dub (1 minute).

Playroom Creative
http://www.playroomcreative.com


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maya czep
Re: Ultimate sample typical contract for newbies
on Jul 9, 2009 at 2:45:09 am

By signing said contract, Dummy is bound to the Client for life, and must offer to redo, at no charge, any work dictated by the Client for any reason. If the client states that they are unsatisfied on any detail of the project, this forfeits the Dummy's priviledge to be able to charge for materials, supplies, and their fee. Client reserves the right to keep all finished work and to use it to their disposal.


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maya czep
Re: Ultimate sample typical contract for newbies
on Jul 23, 2009 at 9:25:33 pm

woops, mistype here, meant to say:

Upon Client's dis-satisfaction with the work, Client may keep all materials and all original documents, files, and work by the Dummy and has absolutely no obligation to pay for the work because of the inconvenience Dummy has caused the Client. This work, or its fragments, may be used to the clients disposal.


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Adam Pearson
Re: Ultimate sample typical contract for newbies
on Jul 9, 2009 at 3:52:23 pm

Hahahha! I had a client last month who needed some education about DVD creation.


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Robert Morris
Re: Ultimate sample typical contract for newbies
on Jul 9, 2009 at 4:13:36 pm

This may require an entirely new thread... but I ask this is half seriousness... what do you charge to educate a client? I actually have to do this quite often. Usually I just bill based on whatever hourly rate is budgeted for the gig. But sometimes they just expect you to keep educating them even after the project is delivered and done (ex. educating them on how to burn a DVD or zip/unzip files).


Fine Art Drawings | Photography | Compositing | VFX | Titles | Keying | 3D


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Dan Parsons
Re: Ultimate sample typical contract for newbies
on Jul 9, 2009 at 4:16:27 pm

What you are talking about sounds like consulting to me.

http://www.signaturelight.com


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Robert Morris
Re: Ultimate sample typical contract for newbies
on Jul 9, 2009 at 4:24:23 pm

No, no, no... according to the client it's "just a quick question".


Fine Art Drawings | Photography | Compositing | VFX | Titles | Keying | 3D


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Dan Parsons
Re: Ultimate sample typical contract for newbies
on Jul 9, 2009 at 4:28:44 pm

Exactly! Which is why you need to refer to the following insightful article:

http://magazine.creativecow.net/article/clients-or-grinders-understanding-t...

http://www.signaturelight.com


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Elijah Lynn
Re: Ultimate sample typical contract for newbies
on Jul 9, 2009 at 3:10:43 am

Mark - I really enjoyed the read!

Thanks


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cowcowcowcowcow
Brett Howe
Re: Ultimate sample typical contract for newbies
on Jul 9, 2009 at 3:27:06 am

"Dummy" is bound by clause 83.B

83.B - All finished works to be presented under the "I know what I like when I see it" review process. Dummy is obligated to re-work any project util meeting the clients "I know what I like when I see it" standard.

Section 83.B works in conjuction with the 83.A

83.A - Brief clause - also known as the "Hollywood Values Clause". Any project must meet hollywood production values up the the budget limit of $300M US, for any project with a budget of $2 or more. Failure to meet clause 83.A will result in penalty payments under clause 83.C

83.C - Penalty Clause - Under the penalty clause, invoked under clause 83.A, "Dummy" must surrender his bollocks, to be placed under any industry standard bollock press, to be broken at "Clients" will. Once bollocks are deemed broken, they will be returned to "Dummy" for storage. Under Rule 83.D, bollocks may be broken multiple times, until meeting the requirements set out in clause 83.B.

Brett Howe
Creative Director / Producer
Brave Vision Pty Ltd


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Matthew Lovein
Re: Ultimate sample typical contract for newbies
on Jul 9, 2009 at 4:05:29 am

This is so sad and makes me feel sick to my stomach because it
is so true. Plus there is soooo much more that is given away,
but don't complain about it, just be glad that you have a "job"
to give your talents to, for free. Because if you don't do it
someone else will.



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Bill Dewald
Re: Ultimate sample typical contract for newbies
on Jul 9, 2009 at 4:10:25 am

[Matthew Lovein] "just be glad that you have a "job"
to give your talents to, for free. Because if you don't do it
someone else will."


And then that someone will ask how to do it - here on the COW!


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Jason Brown
Re: Ultimate sample typical contract for newbies
on Jul 28, 2009 at 3:11:47 am

[Bill Dewald] "And then that someone will ask how to do it - here on the COW!"

AMEN!! Well said!


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Steve Wargo
Re: Ultimate sample typical contract for newbies
on Jul 9, 2009 at 4:38:54 am

This is nothing new, Mark. I've been using it for years.



Steve Wargo
Tempe, Arizona
It's a dry heat!

Sony HDCAM F-900 & HDW-2000/1 deck
5 Final Cut (not quite PRO) systems
Sony HVR-M25 HDV deck
2-Sony EX-1 HD .


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Jiggy Gaton
Re: Ultimate sample typical contract for newbies
on Jul 9, 2009 at 4:51:55 am

That's a hoot! we gave up with contracts here in nepal as there is no legal system to speak of and so no recourse anyway - other then to hire some thugs to go beat the crap out of the offending client. there are lots of thugs willing, so this system really works. for awhile we did keep our standard form contract just for equipment rentals, in case an item never came back or was damaged. but the items always do come back damaged, or with bits missing, and here the best solution is to get the thugs out. i highly recommend this system to all the peeps who seem to be having a problem with contract breakages. And don't worry about clients not coming back because the thugs broke their fingers, you just pull out the thugs one more time and the clients will come running back to your shop. Well, good luck all!
Jigs

Phoenix Studios Nepal: A small A/V Production House in Kathmandu.


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Dennis Size
Re: Ultimate sample typical contract for newbies
on Jul 9, 2009 at 7:37:52 am

MARK......

Thank you. This was one of the best threads I've read in COW in a very long time.
this will keep me chuckling for days ...while my eyes continue to cry -- not only from laughter, but also from the recognition of what we all go through.

DS



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Gunnar Refardt
Re: Ultimate sample typical contract for newbies
on Jul 9, 2009 at 8:23:19 am

I once worked under these conditions in a permanent job!
Now I know what contracts they had with their clients.

>>> Avid +++ Final Cut +++ After Effects <<<


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Steve Kownacki
Re: Ultimate sample typical contract for newbies
on Jul 9, 2009 at 10:54:29 am

Kudos to Mark for headlining the Pure Non-fat News!


Steve



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View Steve Kownacki's profile on LinkedIn




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Patrick Mulholland
Re: Ultimate sample typical contract for newbies
on Jul 9, 2009 at 11:57:04 am

OMG, that is the best. Where's the addendum on giving your first born ?


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Lawrence Marshall
Re: Ultimate sample typical contract for newbies
on Jul 9, 2009 at 12:30:46 pm

I'm sorry... did I miss the "required dedication of hours to completion" clause? Where I, the dummy, am required to work around the clock as desired by said client - through nights, weekends, holidays, family emergencies, funerals, during personal illness or injury? Related: client is permitted, without question, to call *anytime* day or night, and expect immediate (and polite) acknowledgement and response, with no compensation for dummy's future orthodontist treatments for extreme jaw clenching and grinding of teeth while simulating a "happy to do that for you!" tone of voice...


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Asbjorn Grandt
Re: Ultimate sample typical contract for newbies
on Jul 13, 2009 at 8:47:53 am

That reminds me of an old (funny) 'Work Rules' poster I once saw in Cape Town.
Especially rule 3 and 4 seem to relate to your post.



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Heath Weaver
Re: Ultimate sample typical contract for newbies
on Jul 9, 2009 at 12:09:34 pm

also forgotten was:

Dummy shall provide top of the line equipment free of charge and allow Client to play with it, his children to play with it, his drunken roommate and any bum walking down the street to play with it. Client will also be free to eat/drink/have sex on top of equipment at any time. Any damage to equipment will be charged to Dummy for being a Dummy.


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Jay Brackett
Re: Ultimate sample typical contract for newbies
on Jul 9, 2009 at 3:03:38 pm

Great read!
Don't forget this one...

Top 10 Lies Producers and Directors Tell Editors
10. "It's a piece of cake. It'll only take an hour."
9. "I'll be there at ____AM/PM."
8. "Budget? Don't worry about it."
7. "Feel free to be creative with this."
6. "I only need a couple of dubs."
5. "I am the final approval, there won't be any changes."
4. "I'm positive we have that shot on another tape."
3. "I've never had this problem anywhere else I've edited."
2. "Could I see that ONE more time?"
1. "Trimming that shot by one frame really made the difference."


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Philip Imbrenda
Re: Ultimate sample typical contract for newbies
on Jul 9, 2009 at 1:11:43 pm

Also, Dummy gives the Client 30 days to take the 10 wino survey of anyone walking past their office, who are entitled to give their expert advice about the final project. Also, all blood-relatives and extended-family -- including but not limited to aunts uncles and any and all in-laws, etc. -- shall be deemed to also be entitled to offer their binding expert advice. If they are from LA or New York survey results count double.

TV One Productions


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Sergio Venturini
Re: Ultimate sample typical contract for newbies
on Jul 9, 2009 at 3:50:06 pm

Always thought work relationships in the cinema industry are worth a documentary!

You can't imagine what it is like here in Argentina...!


Sergio Venturini
Editor & Sound Designer


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Laura Scott
Re: Ultimate sample typical contract for newbies
on Jul 9, 2009 at 3:16:50 pm

Hilarious! Reminds me of this gem of a video that made the rounds a while back. This should sound familiar to most of us.



••• pingVision


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Kip Wilson
Re: Ultimate sample typical contract for newbies
on Jul 14, 2009 at 4:52:15 am

That's more reality than reality TV!
We're a business, people, not Operation Blessing! lol
We have to buy food and pay rent. Why would anyone even get out of bed just to go work for free, unless it is a good friend or family member or you don't have to worry about money and bills and you just like to help people. Actually, I do wish I could set aside some time to do a little more help for people in need, but my mortgage gets paid first!

Love this post! But sad that this is really how some people think the world should work.....for them and for free! Not me!
In God We Trust, All others pay CASH! lol


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Terry O'Brien
Re: Ultimate sample typical contract for newbies
on Jul 9, 2009 at 4:41:35 pm

I once had a contract from a client that contained a clause stating that I gave the client the right to go "outside the law" to secure satisfaction! I find that I get along just fine without kneecaps.

But seriously, client's can only get away with this kind of crap if we allow them to. Check out the recommendations from AICP in conjunction with AAAA... they recommend a 75%/25% pay schedule. I haven't tried this schedule yet, but I ALWAYS have 75% of the budget in hand before delivery, and ususally 100% as we do COD. I've worked for everything from Mom & Pops to huge Multinationals, and most of them have ever balked. The ones that do, you don't want to work with. I'm in my 20th year of business so what do I know?

Finally, something that you give away has a value to a client of precisely zero. They won't appreciate you more unless they KNOW that you are doing them a favor. If you are going to give something away, invoice them for it at rate card and then mark the invoice as complimentary. This way, they learn what the actual value of a service is and they know that you did them a favor.


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Tom Skowronski
Re: Ultimate sample typical contract for newbies
on Jul 9, 2009 at 4:57:19 pm

You forgot "The Dummy" has no right to claim he or she is a professional because no matter what their work experience is... any ol' idiot can just buy a camera and do it themselves :)


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Dino Vince
Re: Ultimate sample typical contract for newbies
on Jul 9, 2009 at 5:26:08 pm

Also, there's the 'non-snicker' clause for when the elderly, "Thinks He's a Producer" client contact, brings a different young niece to every shoot and edit session.


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Ian Dillon
Re: Ultimate sample typical contract for newbies
on Jul 9, 2009 at 6:28:48 pm

OOPS! We all forgot this one!

"Dummy" understands that RENDERING IS FREE. After all "Dummy" is now taking a sip of his coffee and talking to the client about the project while this is happening. "Dummy" understands that even though he spent $10,000 more on fast equipment so the client wouldn't have to wait/pay 2 hours more for the project to render IT IS WORTH NOTHING!

Playroom Creative
http://www.playroomcreative.com


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Franklin McMahon
Re: Ultimate sample typical contract for newbies
on Jul 9, 2009 at 6:33:27 pm

Heh heh.."free" rendering..that is funny...

Franklin

___________________________
Franklin McMahon / Host
CreativeCow.net PODCAST
frank@fmstudio.com
Creative Cow Podcast Page
Creative Cow Podcast in iTunes

Media Artist Secrets Blog: FranklinMcMahon.com
Studio Page



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Matt Steeves
Re: Ultimate sample typical contract for newbies
on Jul 9, 2009 at 7:35:45 pm

OMG you're my hero...

Apple Certified Final Cut Pro 6
Mac Pro 3.0 Quad
Kona LHe
Panasonic HPX-2000


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Mark Suszko
Re: Ultimate sample typical contract for newbies
on Jul 10, 2009 at 12:33:36 am

Wow, I've really created a monster here. Obviously we have tapped into something very powerful here. The question is:

How do I make some money off of it???

I think we need to make a video and sell it. Or a book. I know a guy who can do up the contract...


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todd reid
Re: Ultimate sample typical contract for newbies
on Jul 10, 2009 at 8:55:21 pm

Very funny AND sad but true.

a few more gems from producers:

"Hit the cool button"
"go left on the tape"
"I'll be right back"
"crush the blacks"
"it is what it is"
"you have carte blanche to make this thing cool" "oh wait, THATS too much"
"your the expert, what do you think?"

ALSO:
funny videos that you may have seen, that make fun of the troubles us post production guys face on a regular basis. "why are those numbers on the screen?"

http://provideocoalition.com/index.php/ssimmons/story/fun_clips_for_the_end...


Todd Reid
Senior Editor
Digitized Media, Inc.


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maya czep
Re: Ultimate sample typical contract for newbies
on Jul 14, 2009 at 2:55:11 am

WOW, I totally think that I am slowly, but surely getting a very secure contract here!!! And the sad thing is is that I actually paid media lawyers and professionals to do mine. With a little translation, I think that we are totally starting to create a professional, bullet-proof contract!! YEY for all of us who had to learn the hard way!

Keep it going guys, we need you!

Btw, I also work as a Freelance Multi-Media Designer (since graduating college 2 years ago) and get called in for crazy interviews all the time. Many of them don't even to bother viewing my online portfolio or my resume before they start off on a seriously questionable line of questioning. Thank god I do these just for fun. If we are writing a screenplay on this thread 'm in! So this is for all of you who are just starting out like me!

PS if you haven't seen the movie "The Pilot" it is totally worth it, starring david duckovny and some other big stars.







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cowcowcowcowcow
Andrea Staiano
Re: Ultimate sample typical contract for newbies
on Jul 12, 2009 at 4:25:32 am

The Dummy understands the project is a great occasion and agrees on paying, with his hours spent on the project, for a sure investment that in the "future" will eventually return something.

The Dummy should consider the payment as a favor since The Client already pays back showing the project and providing visibility to the otherwise unknown Dummy.

Further the spendthrift Dummy should also thanks the Client since the payment is delayed in comfortable and convenient installments to be considered as a constant revenue dispenser.


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Corrado Marengo
Re: Ultimate sample typical contract for newbies
on Jul 26, 2009 at 10:52:30 am

The only thing I am not sure about this contract is: are we sure is just for beginners???
I've been working in this industry for 9 years and things didn't change so much, not for me, nor for my friends editors...

CM

Editor with
Final Cut Pro
Avid
______________
Digital cameraman with
Sony Z1, Z7, EX1 and EX3


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Adam Henderson
Re: Ultimate sample typical contract for newbies
on Aug 3, 2009 at 11:56:12 am

lol, this is too funny!

Winnebago Man rocks :)

What on earth have I gotten myself into....?


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