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Old June 30th, 2006, 06:17 PM   #1
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Client want REVISED CONTRACT

I understand that we should make a strong contract to protect our best interest. But do guys revise your contracts for certain clients? For instance,
stated in my contract.

The client wants the following removed.

"FINAL VIDEO EDITED:
The Studio also reserves the right NOT to use the advertised second camera at any location, indoors or outdoors that we deem to have an excessive security or weather risk"

"The Studio, its employees or assignes, shall not be liable for non performance if caused by illness, accident, or other unavoidable cause such as acts of God, strikes, threats, force majeure or due to any cause beyond control; nor for loss or destruction of videos beyond control.

"We understand that generally speaking, after editing, our Wedding Video will be approximately 30 -58 minutes long. We understand that in special cases wedding videos may be longer; but that no Wedding video will exceed 100 minutes in length"

This prospect client understands that the contract is designed to protect my interest but they also have to protect theirs. But I feel vulnerable taking this out. I am hesistant now of booking this client.

I am waiting to see another client who wants to have their wedding shot on the same weekend but not sure it they will book or not. In the meantime this other smart client wants me to revise the contract by next week.

Do experience videographers here revise your contracts for certain clients? I know some of you would hate to lose a sale if the contract is not revised
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Old June 30th, 2006, 06:45 PM   #2
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I have to admit, if I were the client...I would want the first two paragraphs that are your contract changed as well. If you are sick, die or whatever....you should have a back up plan ie. someone else that could cover the shoot.
Also, the part where your contract says that you reserve the right to not use the second camera due to weather or seciruty risks....I wouldn't like that either. I can't imagine you covering a ceremony with only one cam anyways.

I don't think your client is being unreasonable here, and yes....I will change my contract but with great "caution" for particular client's.

Maybe you could meet them halfway or theboth of you can come to some sort of compromise......you should talk to your client via phone......don't email back and forth on this one, I would want to get this out in the open and you can't always do this by emails.

In the end....if this client is just too difficult in "your" opinion.....then perhaps it's best if you pass on this one, not worth your stress later on...maybe.

The last part of your contract about the length of the video.....well, if you normally produce short form edits....the hold your ground and explain that longer wedding videos are not what you produce or if you wish to do so...maybe at another rate...i dunno on that one, but I want to side with you on that part.

Good luck- joe
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Old June 30th, 2006, 07:52 PM   #3
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I'll assume that your first contract was developed with the assistance of your attorney. A change to that contract should be done with the assistance of your attorney so that you fully understand the risks to which you are exposing your company. Now that the attorneys are involved your net profit is suffering. Personally, I would not remove a force majeure clause from my contract, but I'm funny that way.
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Old June 30th, 2006, 08:27 PM   #4
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My first opinion is to have a serious conversation with your client and come to an agreement. In writing, if necessary. Do not, under any circumstances, amend your contract as written. You will need this continuity if this situation ever goes to litigation.

In reality, any agreement you make, whether in writing or verbally, that amounts to a change in your contract terms, will be recognized by most courts as the same as an amended contract. Simply stated, what you initially put in writing can easily be voided if you make any kind of change after the fact in front of witnesses. The details of the law will vary from state to state, but the generality appears to be consistant.

Having said this, if you cannot come to a satisfactory agreement with your client, terminate it now, and then carefully review the terms of your contract. You need a document that protects both you and your client.
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Old June 30th, 2006, 10:07 PM   #5
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interesting...

from experience, i find that its nto what you say, but its how u say it..
basically what i do is provide the client with as much power as possible PRIOR to the shoot. For the wedding date and post production, if they havent provided said information/materials PRIOR to the shoot, they might end up forfeiting that right. Now this gives me some latitude when working with demanding clients as the onus ios on them to complete their conditional requirements for me to complete mine.
99% of the time people dont have an issue with this. THeyre given power upfront. They choose to take that power, they can, however if they do not, then basically, its up to me to decide what and how i do things.

Whats this mean to you..
well.. your being a little too vague.

"FINAL VIDEO EDITED:
The Studio also reserves the right NOT to use the advertised second camera at any location, indoors or outdoors that we deem to have an excessive security or weather risk"

((The way i read it, is that your advertising the use of 2 cameras, but even with the investment in your gear, what your saying here is that u can pull this out at any time.
OK thats fine.. BUT what if your advertising 2 cameras to nail a client then u decide to change your mind coz u just dont feel like multicamming an edit?? Whats the protect the client who CHOSE you because of this "fact"
IMO, i thinki you should rewird this to "All filming is at the discretion of XYZ company" its a lil more generlaised, however it covers this element without sounding like your falsely advertising


"The Studio, its employees or assignes, shall not be liable for non performance if caused by illness, accident, or other unavoidable cause such as acts of God, strikes, threats, force majeure or due to any cause beyond control; nor for loss or destruction of videos beyond control.

((Huh? this completely nullifies any liability of your company to the job at hand.. to be honest with you, in the real world, people will read this and say no way.. coupled with the above statement, it seems as if your ether shonky, or your trying to hard to protect yourself, which raises further questions to your viability.
IMO< i would reword this to something akin to "the studio is not liable for loss or influence, of material filmed, caused by elements beyond its control, such as yadda yadda yadda. XYZ company will endevaure to film all required locations. Any Loss will be salvaged, and refund percentile refund provided if percentage of loss exceeds ABC% "

"We understand that generally speaking, after editing, our Wedding Video will be approximately 30 -58 minutes long. We understand that in special cases wedding videos may be longer; but that no Wedding video will exceed 100 minutes in length"

((and what happens if your working a long form job and dads speech goes over an hour in itself? Youre not going to give the client an option to at least view it?
IMO, i dont believe you should be so stringent. In the end your clients wil be happier and you will get many more referals if u accomodate this type of requirement.
IMO I would reword this, in fact, i woudlnt even mention this as youre then bound to it.. however if you DO want to reword it, i would say " duration of presentation is dependant on content" Thats what i write anyway...

Be careful with how you word your contracts.. more importantly, what you choose to include to protect your interests. Yes people know that a contract is there for them, but it should be there for you too, however it shoud not be unbalanced.
What you have written would work, if its explained in lamens terms and offers the client a safeguard. At this time, what u have here offers the client no guarantee that the job wil be done as advertised/described
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Old June 30th, 2006, 10:13 PM   #6
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oh and as for "acts of god" i have married off many athiests as well as religios couples who dont believe in the god I do, so this clause, in todays standards, means absolutely jack.

The act of god excuse is a piss weak way of stifling through a situation which u do not want to take responsibility for after the fact. IMO if you want to use something like this (and i woudl recomend u do), be honest and write somethign like "XYZ company will endeavour to film all required locations and events to the best of its ability. "
Its simple and effective and does not use any scapegoats
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Old July 1st, 2006, 12:09 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Jefferson
oh and as for "acts of god" i have married off many athiests as well as religios couples who dont believe in the god I do, so this clause, in todays standards, means absolutely jack.

The act of god excuse is a piss weak way of stifling through a situation which u do not want to take responsibility for after the fact. IMO if you want to use something like this (and i woudl recomend u do), be honest and write somethign like "XYZ company will endeavour to film all required locations and events to the best of its ability. "
Its simple and effective and does not use any scapegoats

In the US, "acts of God" is a legally accepted term to refer to events which are beyond anyone's control. It is quite commonly used.
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Old July 1st, 2006, 12:30 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Waldemar Winkler
In the US, "acts of God" is a legally accepted term to refer to events which are beyond anyone's control. It is quite commonly used.
I dont doubt that, but with the Poo-litical (thats NOT a typo) correctness these days one can never be so sure...
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Old July 1st, 2006, 05:32 PM   #9
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Quote:
"The Studio, its employees or assignes, shall not be liable for non performance if caused by illness, accident, or other unavoidable cause such as acts of God, strikes, threats, force majeure or due to any cause beyond control; nor for loss or destruction of videos beyond control.
Actually this isn't as "harsh" as it sounds *if* it would mention a refund of retainer/deposit.
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Old July 2nd, 2006, 07:44 AM   #10
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"The Studio, its employees or assignes, shall not be liable for non performance if caused by illness, accident, or other unavoidable cause such as acts of God, strikes, threats, force majeure or due to any cause beyond control; nor for loss or destruction of videos beyond control.

Now my curiosity is piqued. Was this written by - or with the assistance of - an attorney?

In legal matters, I tend to get picky, and I don't see this clause as adequately describing the illness, accident, etc. I see where it can protect you from "non-performance claims", but it strikes me as ambiguous.
Is it intended to protect you if YOU become ill? What if an integral member of the CLIENT becomes ill, e.g. the b or g, or a parent, are in hospital and the wedding cannot occur when scheduled?

Or am I reading this all wrong; is the clause there entirely to ensure YOU get paid in case the client cannot perform?
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Old July 2nd, 2006, 08:33 AM   #11
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Hey Billy, as Peter Jefferson said, there is no protection for your customer at all. Your contract simply is not commercially or legally binding even if your customer agrees with it.
"A contract is an agreement between two parties in which a deed or action benefits both parties mutually". Now read your contract carefully again and see if it agrees with this statement.
You really need to change your contract and there are many legal assistants whether practicing or on the web or even a local student of law that you might know to help you with it while keeping in mind:
1: Make it short and sweet
2: People don't like to read complicated words so it should be in laymans terms.
3: Protect your self and your customer equally.
4: Provide what you advertise and sign a contract for.
5: Items included in a contract that are so called "Act og God" should instead be refered as "Beyond your control" and specified in an attachment not in the actual contract.
My contract states simply:
"We are bound by the requisites of the event location". This covers where we can shoot from.
"In the event of a camera person illness or failure to show up we will make every effort to replace hom/her inmediately". Now for this part we always cover ourselves by having a standby operator every time we are working.
"In the event of loss beyond our control we will refund on a percent of video loss basis". I don't want to lose all the income from the job so here both parties are protected.
The last point in my contract is about when payments are made etc., etc., which really means I must have 95% of the monies before we show up to an event.

I hope this is of help.
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Old July 2nd, 2006, 11:19 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Enrique Galvis
Your contract simply is not commercially or legally binding even if your customer agrees with it.
Eh?

Are you implying simply because it's perceived as unfair (depending on who reads it) it's not binding?

A contract is an agreement "period". It makes no claims as to the stupidity or ignorance of the initiator or client. That's why we read them before signing. :)

Sure, it'll get contested and arbitrated, but you can do that with *any* contract. Even then the onus to prove the unfairness falls on the plaintiff who approved the contract to begin with.
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Old July 2nd, 2006, 12:13 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Jefferson
oh and as for "acts of god" i have married off many athiests as well as religios couples who dont believe in the god I do, so this clause, in todays standards, means absolutely jack.

The act of god excuse is a piss weak way ...
As Waldemar said, in the US it's a normal legal term used to refer to acts such as earthquakes, tornados, floods, etc that are not caused by any human act or lack of action, in other words, Mother Nature throwing a tantrum. <g>
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Old July 2nd, 2006, 05:20 PM   #14
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Hey Rick, I got that statement from my neighbor who happens to be a commercial law attorney. He also helped me with my contract which is barely half a page in size. The way Bill's first paragraph reads it does not mention any
outlet for the customer in case of a second camera being pulled out. If the customer signs it then he deserves what he gets as you say.
This contract is binding but can not be enforced at least in my state since there are laws that protect the consumer and Bill has not specified if within the text of his contract the customer is protected for non-performance of service.
Not being a lawyer myself I have to rely on the advise of attorneys to make sure I'm in compliance with all those fairness acts and stuff which is what this falls under.
BTW Rick, have you been to VU lately?...
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Old July 2nd, 2006, 06:14 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Enrique Galvis
This contract is binding but can not be enforced at least in my state since there are laws that protect the consumer and Bill has not specified if within the text of his contract the customer is protected for non-performance of service.
Yes, I realize that. But his restitution clause could be in another part of the document. We'll never know unless he posts it. The clause in question is *intended* to protect him from any civil liability. But yes, consumer protectionism is somewhat present in all 50 states. Without restitution for things that are our fault, the contract is meaningless. The laws may sound like jibberish but the court seeks fairness in most cases.

Quote:
BTW Rick, have you been to VU lately?...
Just about every day. :)
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