5 Key Points in Talent Agent Contracts
Congratulations!! You’ve found an agent that is willing to represent you. Now, the question is whether you want them to represent you. Even though you are probably brimming with excitement, now is the time to step back and be mindful. Entering an agency agreement with the wrong talent agent can stifle your career. So, here are 5 things to consider:
- Termination: Read the contract to determine who can terminate the contract and when. If i does not tell you how to terminate the contract, it will be more inconvenient to get out of the contract and you may have to hire an attorney.
- Length of Term: If an agent is trying to lock you into a contract for 3-5 years, you want to make sure you know the agent is reputable and capable of finding you work because 3-5 years is too long to put your career on hold.
- Fees: You should never have to pay up-front fees or be forced to use a particular photographer for headshots. Agents should only get paid when they find you work. Talent agents will often receive certain commissions for a period of time after the contract is terminated. You want to ensure that the talent agent will only continue to receive such commissions as appropriate and for a reasonable amount of time.
- Geography: Do you want to have separate agents in California, New York and Texas? Or, do you want one agent that can represent you in all markets? These are questions to ask yourself at the time of entering into an agreement with an agent. An overly broad inclusion of geography in your agreement may result in only receiving work in one geographic area without the ability to find another agent in another major market. So find out how often this agent may submit you for work in these other areas that are covered before preventing yourself from being able to use other agents there.
- Scope of Representation: If you are a multi-talented actor/model/writer, make sure you and your agent are clear about what kind of jobs your agent is trying to find for you. An overly broad scope may prevent you from seeking separate representation. If you wish to exclude any works from the contract, get it in writing. NEVER rely upon an oral understanding.
Negotiating your first contract may seem intimidating. However, your potential agent should not make you feel bullied into entering a contract with which you are uncomfortable. If you are unsure how to negotiate a contract, you should contact an entertainment attorney. Seeking representation up front to help you clearly define and understand the Artist/Agent relationship may save you a lot of time and hassle later on.
Ronda M. Litwin
Litwin Law Group, PLLC
Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this information, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an attorney. For specific legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.