Contracts

Jimmy Hardin

Junior
Jan 29, 2013
314
0
16
Hello, I am new to this topic at hand. First off for 11 years I have only did things without using contacts and all went pretty well until now. I have learned a lot on why I should use a contract. So my question is what are some of the things that some of you have in your contract that I might could use in making in my contract? If you would like to send me one of yours I would be glad to send a email address or something if you wanted to send me one. I am in the process of making one but don’t know how to word it or what to put in it. Thanks in advance.


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Tim McCulloch

Graduate Student
Jan 11, 2011
3,023
50
48
Wichita KS USA
Hello, I am new to this topic at hand. First off for 11 years I have only did things without using contacts and all went pretty well until now. I have learned a lot on why I should use a contract. So my question is what are some of the things that some of you have in your contract that I might could use in making in my contract? If you would like to send me one of yours I would be glad to send a email address or something if you wanted to send me one. I am in the process of making one but don’t know how to word it or what to put in it. Thanks in advance.


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Do you perform surgery on yourself or family members? I can give you a copy of our basic contract but it may not address issues you've experienced or it might be so over-baked that it would intimidate your clients. You really need to spend $200 or so with a local attorney that handles contracts for service-providing businesses.

But at its more basic a contract is a "meeting of the minds" that clearly sets out WHO is entering into the agreement, what the duties and obligations are of each party, what physical deliverables will be created or what services will be provided, when and where all this takes place, and the amount, form and manner of compensation. There may be "exhibits" that list the materials or goods used in delivering your service that will be incorporated into the contract by reference, and physically attached to the contract document.

You may wish to include additional language that addresses specific topics of concern to yourself or the client.

Good luck.
 

Art Welter

Senior
Jan 11, 2011
849
25
28
Florida
Jimmy,
As Tim's suggests, you should meet with an attorney, as you may ultimately need to have one represent you if there is a breach of contract. An attorney can advise you to correct any contract errors or omissions before litigation is required.

Attached is a one-page contract covering details that are important on any show you may work.
 

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Riley Casey

Sophomore
Jan 12, 2011
283
24
18
WDC in the USA
www.espsound.com
Couple more suggestions. Make the contract an integral part of your proposal for services. Also include in the wording that when the customer signs and returns the contract with any deposit then and only then is the gig confirmed. Include a line that says that your proposal is valid for X number of days so that if the client fails to confirm in a timely manner you can take other work and / or charge more for having to pull the resources together on short notice.
 

Jimmy Hardin

Junior
Jan 29, 2013
314
0
16
Hey Guy's , Sorry for not getting back to this post for such a long length of time but i been busy working on the contract and here is what i have come up with , You guys look it over and tell me what you think. The whole concept of THIS contract is that we have had these particular subjects happen to us and we are just wanting them to be corrected so here it is.
 

Attachments

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Ben Lawrence

Senior
Mar 2, 2011
1,096
22
38
Vermont
vtaudiovisual.com
Seeking legal advice on this Junior Varsity sound forum does not seem like the best idea to make sure your [email protected]# is covered.
That being said. The contract seems to have a lot more info than I would expect including load in times etc. The one we use is just a one page document that references the job quote#. I would share the outline but seems like a liability.
 

Riley Casey

Sophomore
Jan 12, 2011
283
24
18
WDC in the USA
www.espsound.com
A contract for services that are time sensitive such as the business we're in should absolutely include things like load in time, show time and end time. It gives the customer confidence that you're going to accomplish things when needed and it gives you the sound provider a place to stand when you have to pay your crew for extra time when the show goes way over. The point of a contract is to define what will be done and by who. Include everything that you need to be able to win an argument over later on.
 

Jimmy Hardin

Junior
Jan 29, 2013
314
0
16
A contract for services that are time sensitive such as the business we're in should absolutely include things like load in time, show time and end time. It gives the customer confidence that you're going to accomplish things when needed and it gives you the sound provider a place to stand when you have to pay your crew for extra time when the show goes way over. The point of a contract is to define what will be done and by who. Include everything that you need to be able to win an argument over later on.

Right. These things that are in ours have been little issues that have happened through the last couple of years that we see is getting worse and need to be addressed now instead of later.


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Art Welter

Senior
Jan 11, 2011
849
25
28
Florida
Hey Guy's , Sorry for not getting back to this post for such a long length of time but i been busy working on the contract and here is what i have come up with , You guys look it over and tell me what you think. The whole concept of THIS contract is that we have had these particular subjects happen to us and we are just wanting them to be corrected so here it is.
Jimmy,

Your contract items 12,13,14, and 16 all have points that are legally ambiguous.
#17 basically says you (the "Contractor") will have to pay for the buyer's legal fees if they have a better lawyer than you..

In point #9 is you ask for "only licensed and bonded electricians" then state "We will need: 4 x 110 outlets on a 30-amp breaker just for sound and band only!"

Assuming you use standard American NEMA 5-15 15A 120 volt plugs and outlets, the maximum allowable breaker for one or more NEMA 5-15 duplex outlets is 20 amperes, you are literally asking a licensed electrician to provide an illegal code violation- two duplex outlets on one 30 amp circuit.

Although "110" may still be used as a voltage nomenclature, 110 volts is about 10 volts less than you want an unloaded circuit to be and won't allow any headroom for the inevitable voltage drop when approaching the circuit's amperage rating. Using "110" in your request makes it sound like you don't care (or know) the difference.

Ask for a minimum of _____ (number of) 120v _____ (amperage) circuits within _____ feet of the stage for the exclusive use of sound and stage (band) equipment.
 

Paul Johnson

Freshman
Oct 27, 2012
67
4
8
My totally non-legal (and British) viewpoint is that this is a non-legal person trying to write a legal and binding contract and failing badly. It's ambiguous and quite unprofessional, and frankly it won't work. Even the title ... for sound contracting is odd.

It also fails to take into account fairly basic scenarios. Some terms I've never seen here - exhibit? What exhibit - if it's a rider to the contract then say Rider A. "equal to the manufacturer's operating specifications" is gobbledegook. In the next section you use the term 'may'. This word means might in some contexts, so load in may commence at 2pm, but if you mean 'will' this is a decider. Why put the end time - we all know the shutting the vehicle door is dependent on far too may variables to make a real time accurate.

In the list you use the format 4 x Carvin, then switch to 6 of the ... which is odd?

In English contracts, we'd probably have a problem with 'buyer' are they actually buying anything. Buying usually revolves around transfer of ownership?

Your request for payment BEFORE the show would not work with me, I'll happily pay you at the end, but if you were dreadful and ruined the event, I'd not be paying before, and many clients would not actually have the money until the box office was counted and collated. You then allow payment by check? In the UK cheques are dangerous and we don't take them as 'payment', just a promise.

Our electrical requirements here are broadly similar, but experience shows many venues pay little attention to it.

Parking - very rarely a smooth one - and contracts and riders usually specify We require parking for 4 vehicles (Mercedes LWB Sprinter type) within Xm of the load in door. If this is not available contact us immediately on 12345.... This always seems to work, sometimes with a followup.

Your request for food makes sense, but shorts and caps? Amateur hour I'm afraid.

Your statement that if anything in the contract is illegal, invalid or unenforceable made me smile - again, just silly.

I can imagine why you have put these clauses in, but you need to give this to a real legal person to convert it into something that would stand up in court.

Judge Judy would be in hysterics reading some of this. It's not your fault, you're not a lawyer, but I would never, ever sign that. Far too many of the terms are really saying we need this and if you wind us up, we walk out and you have already paid us. People just won't accept it. My lawyer friend said you always ask for what you require, but give them the option to negotiate or at least, say it's impossible.
 

Jimmy Hardin

Junior
Jan 29, 2013
314
0
16
My totally non-legal (and British) viewpoint is that this is a non-legal person trying to write a legal and binding contract and failing badly. It's ambiguous and quite unprofessional, and frankly it won't work. Even the title ... for sound contracting is odd.

It also fails to take into account fairly basic scenarios. Some terms I've never seen here - exhibit? What exhibit - if it's a rider to the contract then say Rider A. "equal to the manufacturer's operating specifications" is gobbledegook. In the next section you use the term 'may'. This word means might in some contexts, so load in may commence at 2pm, but if you mean 'will' this is a decider. Why put the end time - we all know the shutting the vehicle door is dependent on far too may variables to make a real time accurate.

In the list you use the format 4 x Carvin, then switch to 6 of the ... which is odd?

In English contracts, we'd probably have a problem with 'buyer' are they actually buying anything. Buying usually revolves around transfer of ownership?

Your request for payment BEFORE the show would not work with me, I'll happily pay you at the end, but if you were dreadful and ruined the event, I'd not be paying before, and many clients would not actually have the money until the box office was counted and collated. You then allow payment by check? In the UK cheques are dangerous and we don't take them as 'payment', just a promise.

Our electrical requirements here are broadly similar, but experience shows many venues pay little attention to it.

Parking - very rarely a smooth one - and contracts and riders usually specify We require parking for 4 vehicles (Mercedes LWB Sprinter type) within Xm of the load in door. If this is not available contact us immediately on 12345.... This always seems to work, sometimes with a followup.

Your request for food makes sense, but shorts and caps? Amateur hour I'm afraid.

Your statement that if anything in the contract is illegal, invalid or unenforceable made me smile - again, just silly.

I can imagine why you have put these clauses in, but you need to give this to a real legal person to convert it into something that would stand up in court.

Judge Judy would be in hysterics reading some of this. It's not your fault, you're not a lawyer, but I would never, ever sign that. Far too many of the terms are really saying we need this and if you wind us up, we walk out and you have already paid us. People just won't accept it. My lawyer friend said you always ask for what you require, but give them the option to negotiate or at least, say it's impossible.

Well , apparently you’ve never been almost cheated out of a payment. The last payment that I got I had to run it all over town just to get it. And that’s my last time to do that for sure. They can either give me the payment when I get done with soundcheck or I load up and go home plain and simple, if I am gonna take enough responsibility to show up and set all of it up then they ought to have enough responsibility to pay me when time comes. I have let other people read the contract and it’s all of them said it looked good and was a great contract and could do exactly what I was asking. One other thing too, I’m not in Britain, I’m in the USA and we do things a little differently than you do over there. No dis respect intended.


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Tim McCulloch

Graduate Student
Jan 11, 2011
3,023
50
48
Wichita KS USA
For <$200 you can have a lawyer in your jurisdiction review your proposed contract.

My original contract from 35 years ago was modeled on my lawyers retainer agreement... that didn't keep me from making it too detailed or from using ambiguous words. My lawyer asked "who wrote this garbage?" You did. "Nope, you'd have paid for that." /shrug

Another $150 later I had a better basic contract and a stern lecture,
 

Jimmy Hardin

Junior
Jan 29, 2013
314
0
16
For
My original contract from 35 years ago was modeled on my lawyers retainer agreement... that didn't keep me from making it too detailed or from using ambiguous words. My lawyer asked "who wrote this garbage?" You did. "Nope, you'd have paid for that." /shrug

Another $150 later I had a better basic contract and a stern lecture,

I have had different people that deals with sound contracts and musician contracts and they all said it was a good contract , these people deal with these types of contracts on a daily basis so I know they know what they are talking about. We don’t have any entertainment lawyers in my town or anywhere else close , so it’s really not a option for me. The things we have in our contract are things this last year that we felt with and wanted to put a stop to before matters got worse. Here in this photo alone is just one of the problems we are having. In this photo the yellow circle on the right is where our vehicles were parked and the yellow circle on the left is the stage. That’s why the parking issue is being brought up. photo jun 13, 8 02 53 am.jpg


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Paul Johnson

Freshman
Oct 27, 2012
67
4
8
My point was that if you want to use it to get money from dodgy payers, you need a contract that is water tight. There are legal differences of course - but your system is even more cranky than ours. Words in contracts have VERY specific meanings. A dodgy contract gives the other party more scope to rip you off than a good one. A contract that is written by a legal professional looks better, contains no ambiguity and the meanings will be the right ones. I HAVE been ripped off in my 40+ years, and every time, the dodgy people are also those who are well aware what kind of contract terms work, and the important bit is it looks like an amateur trying to be a professional. This is so obvious. I'm not trying to me funny or denigrating, but I receive dozens of contracts and riders every year. Normally entertainment contracts come in two parts. the Contract, dealing with dates and money, and then riders to the contract. These contain the parking, electricity and other things - like dressing rooms, food, guest lists, security, drum risers, minimum stage sizes, supplied crew, costs for certain extra services, charge backs, contras and things like permits and licences.

I don't have a current USA but I found this good example of a theatre contract from Canada.If you look at the style and the precise wording, you can see some important differences. All I know is that people can spot non-professional contracts and will perhaps take advantage - that's what contracts are meant to prevent. This example shows how the wording is done - and most would be simple to convert to what you want.

I found a technical rider from one of the visiting music shows we had - the contract I can't share but their rider is written in normal English - but is pretty tight on what they actually want.

Your contract says in your words, what you Must Have, Would Like, Would Appreciate, Prefer, Will Need, May Need - these need tightening, but as you'll see from the example - you need to make clear which are deal breakers, and get them to agree. A band I was part of would never remove "Food for 5 people before 6pm for an 8.30 show would be appreciated" I reckon 10% provided it. Hotels would always want to feed you just before you went on, and some provided left overs at the end, when you want to do the out. We changed this eventually to "The promoter agrees to provide food for 5 people........" and while frequently not planned, when they realised they had agreed this, it happened.

Give yours to a normal lawyer - you do NOT need to engage an entertainment lawyer unless you are dealing with tax issues, box office commissions and complex financials. Yours is like engaging a firm to put double glazing in - it's pretty simple and any lawyer can do it.
 

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