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Old December 17th, 2008, 08:57 AM   #1
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Typical contract/proposal documents

Hi,

I'd like to put together a kind of "all-in-one" document I can quickly send to potential customers looking for video production services. This document would include a rate and an equipment list, delivery options and formats, terms and conditions, client list, as well as some contractual details (who owes what), etc... I'd like to cover pretty much all angles so I don't have to customize this document on every proposal. All I would need to do is make a one page proposal. I'm mostly doing instructional and promotional videos on woodworking products.

Anyone has done something like that? Pros and cons? Good idea or not?

Someone is willing to share this document as an inspiration for creating mine?

Thank you for any help.

Benoit
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Old December 21st, 2008, 09:04 PM   #2
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Good thoughts here. I'd also be interested in some ideas along these lines, or some point of reference of where to start.
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Old December 21st, 2008, 09:44 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Dave Christensen View Post
Good thoughts here. I'd also be interested in some ideas along these lines, or some point of reference of where to start.
I thought so too but either no one wants to share with us or I'm really the first one to come up with it. Anyhow, it would be interesting if anyone could share any type of documents helping in creating this custom document.

I just have no where to start... especially the contractual terms that, I'm assuming, varies a lot depending on the type of production.

Thanks

Benoit
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Old December 22nd, 2008, 04:40 PM   #4
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Guys,

Look, there's nothing wrong with the idea of having "boiler plate" contract copy ready to revise as needed - attorneys do that all the time.

But the point of any contract is to specify the terms of a specific agreement between unique parties at a particular point in time. So just like it's silly to dream of a "generic" piece of music that all people will enjoy listening to all the time - it's kinda foolish to try to figure out a single document that will do a professional job of covering my needs as a corporate video producer in a right to work state (Arizona) while at the same time covering the needs of an indy film producer working in a SAG town like LA - and a lady doing high end wedding video work in Duluth, Minn.

Like I said. Boiler plate contract language is convenient. And you can find LOTS of it if you look around the web.

But that's all it is. Boiler plate.

Until someone with specific legal knowledge customizes that to reflect YOUR circumstances, it's often worthless. (And possibly quite dangerous to rely upon!)

Until a contract is reviewed by a competent attorney with a specialization in the area the contract covers, it's TOTALLY hit or miss about whether the language gives you the correct - or even ANY protection - in the areas that the contract should cover.

You shouldn't hire "Uncle Mike" to make your wedding video unless he has the proper training cuz getting good results is complicated and requires specific knowledge.

That pretty much describes contract creation as well.

Benoit, It's not that expensive to hire an attorney for a few hours to do a basic contract as you describe. And you'll be getting something that, should you ever actually need the legal protection - can be relied upon to provide that.

My 2 cents, anyway.
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Old December 22nd, 2008, 08:39 PM   #5
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Generally speaking, most people shouldn't do their own...

brain surgery... electrical work... plumbing... legal work...

There are things one can "do" and manage to be passable at without causing irrepairable harm. Other things can have adverse results... and an expert should at least be consulted. That said, I've done all but the brain surgery... but I'm willing to try, any volunteers???
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Old December 23rd, 2008, 06:43 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Dave Blackhurst View Post
I've done all but the brain surgery... but I'm willing to try, any volunteers???
No, but I have a brain that even Marty Feldman wouldn't steal. (grin)

I'm wondering if a service like LegalZoom would be a choice here. If they can do wills, divorces and the like, why couldn't they do contracts? I suspect that LegalZoom may be a US-only service but there may be similar services in other countries. This might be cheaper than hiring an attorney and yield the same benefit.
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Old December 23rd, 2008, 09:05 AM   #7
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Hi,

Despite the fact I generally agree that many things are better done by experts in their respective field (like contracts), this thread was not about that subject at all though. What I'm asking is closer to 90% of the promotional material we usually need to send to a potential client rather than the contractual verbiage.

I'm mostly producing short instructional videos and there are a lot of repetitive information to provide before even getting into the specifics of a client's project. I want to provide, and I'm repeating myself here from my initial post; my standard rates, an equipment list, delivery options and formats, terms and conditions, client list. No matter what, that information needs to be repeated on each projects. I don't see anything here that requires a lawyer!

As far as the "standard contractual terms" I'd like to add to this document, it's mostly to determine who owes what and the other stuff along those lines. Nothing here worth hiring a lawyer. I charge between 2K$ and 5K$ most of the time for those type of projects, if I eventually get into problems with a client, it will be a lot cheaper for me to just give up the project and the money owed rather than chasing the client down with a lawyer that would cost me several times more than the project itself anyway. The opposite holds true as well, no serious company will spend 10K$+ in lawyer fees and waste their time just to teach a lesson to a video guy working on their 2K$ instructional video...

So let's not get distracted here from my initial request... Any of you here have made a short and concise standard document that answers 95% of the questions involved in a low cost video production? If so, I'd love to see it so I can prepare my own.

Thank you very much.
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Old December 23rd, 2008, 09:55 AM   #8
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Benoit: I understand your position AND frustration completely. However, the sticking point here is "who owns what". THAT ALONE, is worth contacting a lawyer for. I'll be talking to a colleague of MY lawyer who specializes in Commercial Copyright and Contract Law in the New Year just to get the appropriate phraseology after 10 years of being unsure of whether or not I TRULY get to keep my work in my hands.
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Old December 23rd, 2008, 10:47 AM   #9
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Not to be snarky or sarcastic but the document you are describing has a very technical name. It's called in the business- "A BROCHURE".

You should put everything you have listed in your posts on you BROCHURE as well as on a WEBSITE. There are thousands of examples of those available for perusal. You should get your BROCHURE printed professionally. This will cost you money. If you are not good at graphic design and layout - you might want to hire a DESIGNER to do a layout of your brochure. This will also cost you money.

A brochure is not a legal document or a contract. You will have to customize your contracts, but there are boiler plate production contracts available for free.

I don't think you should conflate the purpose of a Brochure with that of a Contract, or even a "Request for Proposal" - which is what you will often have to deal with as well.
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Old December 23rd, 2008, 08:06 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Benoit Bissonnette View Post
Hi,

this thread was not about that subject at all though. What I'm asking is closer to 90% of the promotional material we usually need to send to a potential client rather than the contractual verbiage.


Nothing here worth hiring a lawyer. I charge between 2K$ and 5K$ most of the time for those type of projects, if I eventually get into problems with a client, it will be a lot cheaper for me to just give up the project and the money owed rather than chasing the client down with a lawyer that would cost me several times more than the project itself anyway. The opposite holds true as well, no serious company will spend 10K$+ in lawyer fees and waste their time just to teach a lesson to a video guy working on their 2K$ instructional video...

Thank you very much.
A couple observations, your original post title stated "contracts"... but I think you've got to take the time to prepare your "boilerplate" promo piece to fit your market/equipment/customer? Take all the ones you've done along the way, print them out, cut and paste as needed, probably better than trying to fit someone elses' square pegs in to your round holes. If you've got nothing, then surf the web a bit and print, cut and paste... and add your own seasoning to taste.

I'll only state you're being far too generous as to the lengths lawyers will go to - it's not about the $2-5K, it's about the absurd attorney fees you'll end up having to pay if something goes wrong and an atty becomes involved.

If an atty becomes involved anywhere along the line, it's far more pain than it's worth even if you're RIGHT. It is after all their "business" to stir the pot and generate billings. Word to the wise, attorneys can dispute the meaning of "is", and create a dispute from even the most simple "misunderstanding". Better to make sure there is little or no room for misunderstandings, than to have to defend yourself later.

You really have two distinct questions:

1) what should your "marketing materials" look like to land and maintain a client

2) What should my contract with that client look like so both parties are protected from "misunderstandings"

Two different fruits there.
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Old December 26th, 2008, 07:39 PM   #11
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Benoit,

Going back to your original post in the thread, you were describing marketing material not too unlike a brochure. Brochures can be effective in some cases. I think they tend to get looked at and thrown away more times than not though and don't cause people to act or follow through on finding out more about your company and services.

Mind you, I have not done a study on that. It's just my opinion. I just think for the most part, brochures are a waste of money for videography businesses. Now another marketing tool that has been around for a while but still has the "novelty" factor going for it is the CD Business card, or Video Business Card, or one of the many other names people have given it. I call mine the Video BIZCARD.

In addition to being one of the services I offer, I also use the Video BIZCARD to market my services. It gives me a tool for showing samples of my work and providing information. There are links to my website, to send me email, and a rate chart. For less than the cost of a color brochure, I can provide a potential client with a Video BIZCARD. There are some considerations regarding them though. They only play in Windows based PC's. But since PC users make up an estimated 90+ percent of computer users, I'm playing the odds favorite.

I've seen some pretty cool flash-based cards that blows mine away as far as the coolness factor goes. Mine is basic but I think it's ample for my services and talent.

My website has a download link for my Video BIZCARD. You can access it here.

Jeff Emery Audio & Video Productions

Since you're doing instructional and promotional videos on woodworking products, this may be an effective, novel way for you to market your service, get your information into the hands of potential clients who are likely to watch it, and generate additional business.

Jeff
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Old March 11th, 2009, 08:40 PM   #12
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Jeff, just wanted to say I really enjoyed your BizCard.
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