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Taking Care of Business
The pen and paper aspects of DV -- put it in writing!


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Old August 17th, 2002, 09:28 AM   #1
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Business practices etc.

Hi everyone! I was wondering about a section on business practices. It was mentioned on an earlier thread. Does anyone have advice on contracts? I have a project coming up (my first solo gig!) and need to have some kind of agreement drawn up for my client to sign regarding their / my expectations. Is there some kind of guide somewhere? A handshake just won't work any more (sad but true).

Becky
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Old August 17th, 2002, 10:14 AM   #2
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We are going to set this up as a separate forum and Dylan Couper has submitted under intense pressure to preside over it. Actually for now let's just carry the discussion here (or better yet, in the Open DV Discussion area), and we'll move the various threads into the new forum once it's established.

Getting an agreement in writing is crucial! It helps very much to have it in writing because it makes it easier to get paid. Does anyone have any standard contract boilerplates that they'd like to offer?
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Old August 19th, 2002, 01:16 PM   #3
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An example would be great!

There are a lot of issues that are associated with this business that would be applicable for many of us. Any help along those lines would be sooo appreciated. The consequences of being unprepared are too horrible to contemplate....

Becky
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Old August 19th, 2002, 01:33 PM   #4
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<<<-- Originally posted by Chris Hurd : We are going to set this up as a separate forum and Dylan Couper has submitted under intense pressure to preside over it. Actually for now let's just carry the discussion here (or better yet, in the Open DV Discussion area), and we'll move the various threads into the new forum once it's established.

Getting an agreement in writing is crucial! It helps very much to have it in writing because it makes it easier to get paid. Does anyone have any standard contract boilerplates that they'd like to offer? -->>>

Chris,

I am not sure if you are interested, but I would be happy to help Dylan moderate that forum. My background is finance and marketing. As I am sure you can tell by my posts, I am fairly new to the video world. I would be happy to share whatever knowledge I have.

Let me know if you can use my help as a moderator.
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Old August 20th, 2002, 07:15 PM   #5
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Chris got me drunk! I swear! :)
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Old September 20th, 2002, 12:30 AM   #6
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...and here we are. Sobering, ain't it?

;-)

Enjoy!
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Old September 21st, 2002, 12:28 AM   #7
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Wow, it's finally arrived!? I can stop clicking my ruby slippers together! :)
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Old November 25th, 2002, 01:26 PM   #8
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So I just answered some questions about Music rights and royalty payments, do they belong in this particualr thread?

Bill

(Married to an IP attorney... yeah, it's a nightmare)
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Old November 25th, 2002, 05:09 PM   #9
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Everything you posted looked good where it was. Thumbs up!
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Old January 9th, 2003, 09:19 PM   #10
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After spending 30 years in Silicon Valley negotiating contracts with and without lawyers, I've developed the following operating methods with regard to contracts:

1. Take a business law course so you understand some of the requirements and terms.

1a. Keep up to date on general business legal issues.

2. Insure that you write down what you want to do from a business sense first and then ask a lawyer to take that and make a contract that will hold up in court.

You cannot ask a lawyer to understand your business. Only you know what is necessary. A good lawyer will suggest that you add (or delete) certain items that are generally included in contracts in your area and for your type of business.

3. Read any contract that is given to you to sign. The small print can really hang you out to dry.

4. Always write the contract if you can. It is an advantage to you.

5. Make certain contracts are fair to both parties.

6. I use the dump truck theory of contract negotiations. If both parties walk out the door and a dump truck kills both, the only guide to the survivors will be the written contract. Does it truly discuss all of the important issues and represent the wills of the two parties?

7. Never ever sign a contract where you have to exert Best Effort or Hold someone harmless. Best effort means you drop everything to fix the problem regardless of the effect on your business or personal life. Hold Harmless means that you will spend your last nickel and bankrupt yourself to fix something you may have done.

Your insurance companies will not issue a rider to someone who has that terminology in a contract and neither should you sign such a contract.

8. When in doubt, check with a lawyer.

9. Always know a good lawyer or two before you need one.

10 lawyers, like doctors, specialize. Be careful how you select one for a specific task.

10A Lawyers are only expensive after you have a problem. Frequently they can help you avoid the problem in the first place.

11. Standard Terms and Conditions aren't

12. When negotiating a contract with a large company or a government agency, make certain they know that you know they should treat you as a small business/minority/disabled or whatever. It can make a big difference in how you are treated and the number of hoops through which you have to jump.

13. Never ignore your business or spend too much money trying to bid a contract or win a job. Budget the amount of time and money you can afford to spend. You can bankrupt yourself and still not get the job.

Remember, you didn't pay for this advise and that may be a clue as to its value.
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Old January 24th, 2004, 08:07 PM   #11
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Mike Rehmus

I would like to thank Mike for writing that little speal, I found it very interesting, accurate and improtant.

Cheers,

David Applegate
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Old January 25th, 2004, 06:01 PM   #12
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Thanks, David,

I found I left out one very important point.

Always read a contract before you sign. All the detail, all the little points. Ask what something means if the terminology isn't clear. If it gets too complicated, don't sign it until you find someone that can understand the terms. If the other party tells you what is is supposed to mean, have them change the wording to reflect that meaning.

If the party that handed you the contract doesn't like to wait, they should have given you a copy before the appointment so as to save time.

If the fine print is too fine or faint to read, demand a legible copy in a type size that can be read by ordinary people.

I ask people to send me their contracts ahead of time. Amazing how many reasons they have to not do so. And sometimes they tell me the contract is made up just before the signing date. That's a clear sign that someone's going to the law books (sample contracts) and pulling contract terms off a CD. Many times the result is a contract with terms that are close but really don't apply in your case. Don't sign them without some deep thought.

Don't ever sign without reading!
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