Common Contract Mistakes Made in Hollywood

Hollywood Contracts

contractWhenever an actor signs on to a movie, television show, commercial or other project, both parties have to come to a contractual agreement. The following are some of the most common mistakes made when signing a contract:

Not securing the opinion of an attorney
Whenever an actor is coming to a contractual agreement, it is recommended to seek the advice of an entertainment attorney. Studios, networks and producers will have a lawyer of their own in on the deal, which is why it is smart for actors to have one as well. An attorney can help actors better understand all the obligations they are agreeing to – which is valuable information that an agent may not be able to provide.

Not reading the document
One of the biggest mistakes an actor can make with contracts is not reading the full document before signing the dotted line. Failing to read a contract could lead to an actor signing one that comes with unfavorable conditions. For example, there could be a clause that they don’t fully understand or agree to, such as a royalties clause for reality TV stars, which gives the studio or network a percentage of a person’s earnings for appearances after the show is over.

Union status isn’t confirmed
When signing a contract, actors need to be sure to confirmĀ union status. The agreement should be covered by the Screen Actors Guild, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists or Actors’ Equity Association. For independent films, a call should me made to SAG to check if the producer of the project is a signatory for the organization.

Contract negotiations aren’t something that should be taken lightly, and actors should keep an entertainment attorney involved in all aspects of the agreement.

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Anthony R. Caruso is a business transactional attorney in New York and New Jersey with experience in structuring, negotiation and completion of legal deals involving business, entrepreneurs, athletes and performers.

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