Like an employment agreement which illustrates the rights, roles and responsibilities of both the employer and the employee, there exists an artist agreement as well. An artist agreement is a contract that is executed between the artist and the production houses or a producer. These agreements help set a firm foot and assist in avoiding miscommunication and uncertainty.
One question that the readers might wonder is why an employment agreement would not satiate the purpose and how are these two agreements different from each other.
-Author (Ananya Bhatnagar)
An artist agreement caters to a specific range of clauses as opposed to an employment contract considering the nature of the work that the artist is expected to carry out. The shifts may differ from time to time, the primary focus relies on the originality of the work and it is pertinent to note that the productions houses deals with plenty of artists including, the actors, the director, cameramen, editor, dancers and the list goes on, therefore, keeping in mind these requisites it is understood that an artist agreement would be a feasible choice for the artists as well as the producers to suit their interests.
Hereinafter, are the following things that a producer must consider before executing an artist agreement.
Details of the Parties
The details of the parties demonstrate that the parties are legally obligated by the agreement. An introduction is a definitive proof to the public about any individual. Similar rules apply to contracts and other agreements. Therefore, the details of the party containing the name, address, email, phone number, etc., is the initial item in any agreement. An introduction is therefore crucial to understanding the parties involved.
An artist agreement must explicitly mention the duration of the relationship between the artist and the production houses. This clause helps to deliver a clear idea of the time within which they are accepted to accomplish their responsibilities. However, this clause must be flexible in case there is a hindrance to the completion of the project. The most relevant example would be that of the ‘pandemic duration’ where the schedules of many films and albums got disturbed, and the shooting schedule had to be altered owing to the reason that many of the people on set including the actors and directors were subjected to COVID. Hence, while drafting an agreement, one must consider different probabilities from different perspectives.
This section must first provide the cost or the budget of the project that the artist would be working on. Setting up all the costs in advance can save time later and allow the parties to concentrate more on the project. Secondly, it must also highlight the payment procedure, i.e. how the party wants its money to be processed throughout the duration of payment or final payment or anything of the kind, which should also be covered by this clause. It should outline each party’s obligations in relation to the payments that must be made by or to them. It must also include the nature in which the payment shall be done, that is, on an hourly basis, daily basis or after the completion of the project.
This clause is profusely important in any artist agreement as it helps to safeguard the original, unfiltered work created by the artists with the production houses. It establishes that any work that has been developed and created by the artist for the production house during the term of the agreement will be the exclusive property of the production house, thereby, avoiding piracy of the content. In recent times, piracy and plagiarism of content are not something new. There have been several instances and even before the release of the movie, its pirated version becomes the talk of the market. Hence, this clause is designed to safeguard both parties against these nightmares.
Conduct of the Artist:
Since, the actors, directors, and musicians are always in the public eye, therefore, it is of utmost importance that they carry themselves with dignity and not contribute to any kind of behaviour that would tarnish or degrade the artist in front of society as their name will be associated with the production house.
Robust insurance coverage offers protection against unforeseen events, physical damage from theft, accidents, etc. While producing any event or a movie, there are a lot of things to cover from the insurance perspective, for example, a movie involves elaborate and expensive sets, costumes and much more, therefore, it is a rational step to include the insurance clause. Another example could be/ the action scenes in the movie where the actors and stuntmen perform and many a time sustains injuries.
The nature of the artist’s job requires them to travel to a variety of places, for shoots, promotions etc. The producer must clarify that the expenses of the travel like airfare, and seats (business class or economy class) shall be borne by the production house including their meals, stays and so on.
This clause helps define alternate remedies in the event of failure to fulfil the agreement or breach of the agreement. Additionally, it shall specify the laws that would govern such agreement and provide provisions for settlement mechanisms like mediation, negotiations etc.
The capacity of the Artist:
The artist must clearly mention that he or she has entered into this agreement with their free will and he or shall not indulge in any activity that would forestall his commitments and obligations towards the fulfilment of the agreement. Moreover, it must also elucidate that the artist must not divulge the subject matter of these agreements as well as not disclose any confidential information. For example, Marvel movies have over the years succeeded in maintaining the mystery around the plot of the movie.
Any and every production house succeeds if there is awareness about the project that they are engaging in. Therefore, to ensure the same the agreement must mention a promotion clause making the artist aware of his or her obligations and responsibilities to promote their upcoming production.