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Agreement for multiple videos

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Greg Ball
Agreement for multiple videos
on Jan 19, 2018 at 5:05:47 am

How would you folks (the best group on the Cow) create an agreement that includes creating 10 videos(1 per month) for the next year?

1. Would you ask for a retainer then bill out each video as it's completed?
2. Would you create a separate agreement foe each video that includes a deposit and final payment?
3. Would you take a deposit for the entire 10 video total?
4. Another idea?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!

Greg Ball, President
Ball Media Innovations, Inc.
https://www.ballmediainnovations.com


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Tom Sefton
Re: Agreement for multiple videos
on Jan 19, 2018 at 2:53:42 pm

Just completed one and have another on the books.

1. Would you ask for a retainer then bill out each video as it's completed?
Up to you - you could charge enough for each film that doesn't require a retainer, but include a kill fee for the project so that you are protected if you invest a lot of time and effort in the first couple and they take the concept somewhere cheaper.
2. Would you create a separate agreement foe each video that includes a deposit and final payment?
Yes - invoice goes out the day the shoot day is agreed, another the day of delivery.
3. Would you take a deposit for the entire 10 video total?
Up to you, but cashflow might want it spreading out?
4. Another idea?
Offer to create an intro/outro for the project that is created with the first film, you invoice this up front with the first one and then each film uses it. Again - kill fee; if they stop the project half way through and push it somewhere cheaper and want your intro/outro, your can say no or charge them for the release - which they need to know up front.
All expenses should be estimated and invoiced up front - if you have lots of travelling and hotels to pay for you shouldn't be waiting until delivery plus 30 for payment.

Co-owner at Pollen Studio
http://www.pollenstudio.co.uk


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Mark Suszko
Re: Agreement for multiple videos
on Jan 19, 2018 at 3:37:07 pm
Last Edited By Mark Suszko on Jan 19, 2018 at 3:53:59 pm

Tom's #1 and #4 are especially smart. And I'm inferring from reading between the lines that this wisdom came from an expensive lesson or two in the school of Hard Knocks.

Building the pilot is more work and expense than any other episodes; you have to establish the looks, the titles, music, graphics, style of editing, sound treatment - then all of that gets applied to the follow-on episodes. Maybe when you budget for the show, you explain the first one will be the most expensive and the rest will be x percent less.

I think what I'd do if it were me, is contract for the shows individually, and offer a price break on the last five, or a steadily increasing discount per episode, that progresses as you get more episodes to do. This might somewhat offset the client urge to run-away with the other eps to a low-baller rival, or to take them "in-house". I would build that discount into the bids from the beginning, "front-loading" my key expenses, so I'm not really losing anything, but the bills look smaller each episode. That way, if they do suddenly drop out mid-way, I'm not left hanging with unpaid contractors or rentals.


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Jeff Wolfram
Re: Agreement for multiple videos
on Jan 24, 2018 at 3:36:51 pm

First I apologize as I don't want high jack your thread but I'm in a similar situation and maybe if I ask my question we can build on ideas. (if you feel I'm highjacking let me know, no problems)

I have a long time client who has just asked me to come up with an agreement / contract for a multiple shoots throughout the year and wants a discount on each assignment. Normally a red flag (but have years of history with this client and I feel they want to show a win in a meeting)

My question is how to actually write up a contract/proposal that outlines this retainer agreement and specifies the discount without the details of the first shoot being discussed? I want to specify that all ten shoots need to take place in 2018 and somehow eloquently state if all ten aren't assigned/shot then the discount fee needs to be reimbursed? While my first thought was to give a major discount on the tenth project - I feel they need to show the win now to move forward. The discount is not very much and showing this client I'm flexible, as they've been loyal to me, means more for me.

I've search through google and feel the retainer example contracts I've found don't work well for photo/video projects. Work for hire, client has option for early termination, etc..

I can't see writing up a proposal for all ten projects at this time because scope and expenses are going to fluctuate.
Any ideas or examples how to word a discount agreement for multiple shoots in a single year? Contract writing skills are not my forte. 😳

thanks,

jeff


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Mark Suszko
Re: Agreement for multiple videos
on Jan 24, 2018 at 4:37:47 pm
Last Edited By Mark Suszko on Jan 24, 2018 at 4:41:48 pm

Jeff; One thing I have to caution you about is to be wary of any deal that requires the discounts up front. In my lifetime, I have never seen this work out positively for the video person. Indeed, if I'm in a meeting with a new client, and they throw out the old: "we'll give you a lot of our future business, if you can cut us a price break on the first one" line, I would just smile, stand up, and walk out. Because at that point, they've revealed that they are scammers with no intention of paying anything, and you've saved yourself a lot of time and money not being sucked in.

As to getting an actual template for the "deal memo", you really need to have a contracts lawyer write it. Consider it an investment, not an expense, and roll the cost of the lawyer's fees into the project, or at least part of that cost. A consult over the phone or by email could be as cheap as fifty bucks, and could save you very much more.

Some of the details that will need to be covered in the deal memo would include a very specific technical specs and deliverables description, a set time schedule, how many revisions the client gets for free and what constitutes revisions that incur an extra cost, terms for the down payment and progress payments, a severability clause that explains what happens when the parties want to stop at any certain point, and who gets what, then there's kill fees or non-refundable deposits for situations where you have had to outlay funds to retain rentals or staff for a certain date. You need a rain-out policy, defining what happens when a key factor like weather or a crew getting sick or delayed, or the client failing to show up as scheduled, prevents completion of a shoot. You need in writing who on the client side is authorized to make final decisions, who has "sign-off authority" for approvals. You need to spell out who owns the rights to the raw materials, what the client owns at completion, if and how you can use any of the product in your own advertising and promotion, such as in demo reels. You'll need some stuff for the O&E Insurance ( omissions and errors), and you need paperwork for the IP clearance and rights to things like copyrighted music or purchased music, stock footage, etc. . And a clause about your own IP; your work product, your project files, etc. and who owns that. Because it's not unheard of for a client to demand you turn over all the "secret sauce" you used to make the product, so they can re-use it themselves and not keep paying you for it.

THEN on top of all that, you have language that details the discount schedule and overall costs per episode.

So all of that is definitely worth fifty bucks or more to hash out in a consultation with a contracts lawyer. One benefit of having it professionally drawn up is that you will then have the "boilerplate" for other future deals as a reference.

I'm relatively handy with tools. But I don't do my own brake jobs or electrical work. When my life and the lives of my family are on the line, I let a pro handle that work. So too should you invest the time and money to meet with a lawyer.


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Greg Ball
Re: Kill Fees
on Jan 22, 2018 at 2:43:34 pm

Hi Tom and Mark,

Thanks for the great advice! I've never implemented a kill fee in a project agreement. Can you guys tell me what language you would use, and what percentage of the project you would require for that?

Thanks so much!

Greg Ball, President
Ball Media Innovations, Inc.
https://www.ballmediainnovations.com


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Tom Sefton
Re: Kill Fees
on Jan 22, 2018 at 9:07:29 pm

I’d be using pretty disgraceful language if the kill fee was used, but I’d be expecting at least 50% of the value of the remaining project.....

Just say it’s for covering future diary space that otherwise would have been filled by another client, and for protecting your intellectual property on the project.

Co-owner at Pollen Studio
http://www.pollenstudio.co.uk


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Mark Suszko
Re: Kill Fees
on Jan 22, 2018 at 11:24:02 pm

Instead of asking for a kill fee, which probably isn't enforceable across ten episodes (You're lucky to have a kill fee work for one individual episode once it' in pre production or production) my preference is to set up the payments in stages attached to "milestones" .

Like the old idea of billing in thirds: one third up front before you start, which should cover any advance money you have to lay out for crew, rentals, etc. Then another payment at the first edit, and a final one at delivery. So that if the project has to stop at any stage, for any reason, everyone is covered for their outlay and nobody pays for stuff that wasn't done.

For a multi-part, 10 part series, I'd still try to bill for all of the first show up front, because that's the main hurdle. If the pilot is good and works, and everybody's happy, the other nine should go well and now you have a template for costs and time.

So I'd want to bill for the pilot and the first episode up front, then we can talk a sliding schedule where each follow-on episode will be done for x amount less, down to a "floor" price for the final one that still makes me a profit, but reflects a discount for the streamlining and systematization that happens along the line in producing multiples of something.

You don't need a kill fee unless the production outfit has to commit resources and make personal commitments for time or hiring staff. It's only right to bill for resources that were committed and can't be un-done in time, so kill fees have to be tied to some kind of deadline in time.


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