While the glitz and glamour of the entertainment industry may seem appealing to outsiders, both rising and seasoned talent understand the blood, sweat, and tears that come hand-in-hand with being successful in this industry. Many individuals are unfamiliar with the business and legal side of entertainment, leading them to be locked in a regrettable contract.
Too often, we see in the media from newcomers to the biggest stars getting taken advantage of with sneaky clauses. Whether you’re an actor, director, musician, or designer, the intricate and technical process of contract negotiations should never be undertaken by an artist alone.
Our entertainment attorneys at Ford & Friedman are here to guide you through the negotiation process and how you can protect your rights while still getting a favorable outcome.
How Do Negotiations Work?
We understand that the world of entertainment law is confusing. Unfortunately, in this case, ignorance isn’t bliss. Contracts are at the heart of every artist’s career, and signing the dotted line before understanding everything that’s written in one can have lasting repercussions.
To start at a basic level, a contract is a legally binding agreement between different parties. Depending on the work you do, a contract can include various terms such as pay, intellectual property, and more. If you’re feeling pressured to sign on the spot, that is a massive red flag. Even if you are not looking to negotiate, it is still smart to have a lawyer look over the contract before signing, who can help you get a better understanding of the terms outlined.
Before you begin negotiations, there are important questions to keep in mind:
What is the desired outcome?
What goals can be altered for the sake of agreement?
What can you offer the other party?
What can you gain from the other party?
Hiring an entertainment lawyer can help you assess these questions. Although teaming up with an entertainment lawyer is your best chance of getting a favorable outcome, it’s not possible for many up-and-coming artists. When negotiating your own contract, you must do thorough research, pay close attention, and ask questions. While you should be confident in the services you offer, there may be some terms that you need to alter to reach an agreement. Avoid over-negotiating and leave that to the professionals— attorneys and agents.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
It’s always smart to consult a lawyer before entering into a first-time agreement with an agency or manager. For contracts with major studios and companies, you should bite the bullet and hire a lawyer.
Caitlin Sanchez, the voice actor for the Nickelodeon show “Dora the Explorer,” reportedly had 22 minutes to look over her contract and sign. She went on to sign the deal after being promised substantial compensation from merchandising and residuals. The franchise is said to have earned over $11 billion in global retail sales, but she was severely underpaid for her work. We see this happen too often in this industry, which is why we stress the importance of hiring a lawyer who can protect your best interests while helping you get a desirable outcome.
Las Vegas and Los Angeles Entertainment & Media Attorneys
Whether you’ve just secured your first role or you’re close to closing a massive endorsement deal, it’s crucial that you know what you’re signing to avoid making a mistake. This industry is tough, which is why you need a legal advocate with experience in entertainment and media law to support your goals and protect your rights. At Ford & Friedman, our attorneys have nearly fifty years' worth of collective legal experience in handling disputes and transactions connected to the entertainment and media industry.
Call Ford & Friedman at (702) 904-9898 to schedule an initial case evaluation with our legal team today.