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js33
10-11-2003, 04:48 PM
Hi all,

I'm a freelancer and do pretty well for my self but I know a guy that has his own production company that wants to create an animated short under a defered compensation agreement.

Basically this means I do all the animating and he's supposed to come up with the character/story idea.

He has a written agreement but I'm very hesitant to sign it.
But he claims he has contacts in LA. Well actually he does and I know who they are.

Has anyone ever done this and had it work out?

Cheers,
JS

wok
10-11-2003, 06:07 PM
Sounds interesting, but i'd found out a little more about it before you sign anything and make sure you know exactly what your signing!!!! You never know, you dont want to sign your life away!!!

kevman3d
10-11-2003, 06:19 PM
Its very Simple...

Just get a Lawyer/Solicitor to review the contract

Any legal contract should be reviewed by a Lawyer, specially if you are unsure about it. It protects you from making a mistake...

Not all Lawyers cost a Lot of money either, and if you can find a friend who works in a company with their own Lawyer, sometimes you can ask 'nicely' and get a few favors for a couple of beers after work one night! :)

A Lawyer will be able to tell you straight away if you are making a mistake, or you should do it.

Deferred compensation however does sound a little 'suspect'. That sounds like you could do a lot of work and never end up getting paid. I'd get a Lawyer or Solicitor to advise you...

Aegis
10-11-2003, 06:19 PM
READ EVERY LAST DAMN WORD ON THAT CONTRACT!

And if there's anything you don't understand show it to someone that does and can explain it to you...

I've seen defered compensation contracts before and most of 'em go something along the lines of:

Party <insert your name here> agrees to provide graphics, artwork etc. for the project on the understanding that payment will only be made when (and usually IF) the project makes any moolah which of course, 9 times out of 10 it won't...

Ultimately it's down to how much you trust the client and whether you believe the project will make any money or not, just bear in mind that you may not be the only one waiting for money at the end making your chances of getting what's due to you even slimmer - I wouldn't take a "I know this dude who thinks he can sell it" as concrete assurance that you'll make anything on this...

js33
10-11-2003, 06:42 PM
Thanks for all the comments. I'm still suspect of it at this point.
I have never signed anything except for one client that made everyone who worked for him sign an NDA. But he was in such a niche field of business that it didn't really matter.

I think what I will do is make my own contract and have him sign it!

I don't like contracts unless they have a $ amount that company X must pay upon completion.

Cheers,
JS

WizCraker
10-11-2003, 10:07 PM
Yeah I would also say to get a lawyer to look it over. There are a lot of people wanting to screw you out of your hard work.

riki
10-11-2003, 10:47 PM
Ask yourself, can you afford to spend the time on it? Who owns copyright of the work you'll do?

Wade
10-11-2003, 11:15 PM
Sounds like you are doing the work and he is asking you to wait on payment - should not he be the one signing an agreement to pay you? Any contract ought to be him agreeing to pay you in full and then some once this project gets to a defined stage. If you are working on speculation you should get a set amount PLUS a percnetage of the profits. By working upfront and without payment in hand you have become an investor. Again He shoud sign something that makes him obligated to pay you.

Wade

http://vbulletin.newtek.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=6520
Along the same line.

js33
10-11-2003, 11:23 PM
Hi Wade,

Well his contract actually does state that I would be paid x amount for my part in the project with both of us signing it.

I haven't signed anything yet as I'm still on the sideline on this one.

Also Riki the comment about who owns the copyright is a good one too.
At this point I've only made one character that was his idea so I assume he would own the copyright to that. But I develop other characters then I guess I would own the rights to those but if they were developed for a show he created then it gets muddier on who would own what rights.

Cheers,
JS

Miles
10-13-2003, 12:59 PM
These agreements can be tricky. You absolotely need to have your own representation draw up an agreement of defered compensation on your behalf. DO NOT sign another persons/company agreement IF they are not paying you for the work up front and/or during production. I've seen such agreements get twisted in to such BS that the chaps who've done all the work in practical terms gave it all away due to a project title change, etc... YOU need to remain the owner of the media and in control of how it is used until FULL - NOT defered compensation has been made; friend or no friend... If they truely are not out to screw you then they will have no problem with your rights to ownership of the media you create until you're paid.

Best to you on finding terms which will work.

Nemoid
10-13-2003, 01:21 PM
1) go by a lawyer to understand well the contracts most of times they are triky.
2) if you can prepare a contract from yourself and submit to your friend/ author. obviously copyright questions have to be specified clearly.
3) look at payment questions in the contract, and try to make them clear, so that you will be payed regularly.if you can, don't give the complete work untill you are payed
4) since story rules a good advice is: learn to write your own stories!!

Stranahan
10-13-2003, 06:14 PM
Allow me to be a heretic here...

First, lawyers suck.

Second, if somone wants to screw you, they can probably find a way to do it. Often, they will just hire a bigger, more expensive lawyer then you have and have them screw you. This is why lawyers suck.

Third, let's be practical here. Ask yourself who you are, how much time this will take, and what you'd be doing otherwise. If the answers are 'nobody famous or successful (yet), not long, and nothing' - then what are you REALLY risking?

Forth, write down as simple an agreement as possible. If you feel a strong need to ask a lawyer, that's fine - but also ask human beings to look at it. Write it in plain English. If you show it to your friends and they don't understand it, rewrite it. Keep it simple.

Fifth, then put the paper in safe place and don't think about it. Now, get to work on the whole 'animation' thing.

Gui Lo
10-13-2003, 06:54 PM
From bitter experience I tend to agree with Lee.

Don't let the lawyer stuff get in the way of producing the work. If it comes to the worst then it will be your lawyer against his. Either way you lose in money or time.

Think of 'usage' of the characters/animations rather than ownership. Ownership can be argued but usage tends to be more straight forward and can be written down clearer. Try to keep using the verb 'to use' since this assumes the work and payment have been done and will generate a good vibe.

If in doubt always submit work with a heavy watermark of the version number, date and time. This allows good tracking but also makes the pieces unusable until the final piece.

Goes without saying I guess, but have a written agreement on milestone payments given on a C.O.D basis.

Pleas agree to allow submissions of WIP to this forum.

Have fun.

Gui Lo

js33
10-13-2003, 07:47 PM
Hi Lee and Gui Lo,

Good ideas there guys. I guess it comes down to why bother with someone else when I can just create my own projects in my spare time and then I own everything and there's noone to argue with. :D

I have better ideas and am more in tune with the animation world than the guy I'm dealing with. It just comes down to motivation I guess. I'm usually to spent after working on paying gigs to bother with personal projects but freelancing does give me more spare time than most probably have. The only problem is I usually have to spend my spare time looking for new work.

Cheers,
JS

Tom Wood
10-13-2003, 08:35 PM
The authorship, and hence copyright ownership, of any 'work for hire' belongs to the entity that hired the work, that's pretty basic. The 'author' of a screenplay for example, is the producer, not the 'writer'. There's a distinction.

Deferred compensation usually means no compensation, that's just the risk you will have to consider. The project might be the one in a blue moon that succeeds.

Wade is right though, you are in effect becoming an investor in the project and should/could demand a higher rate of return. But asking for copyright is going to be a non-starter for the producer trying to get a project off the ground, unless they are really clueless. (Look at the fight between Disney and Pixar over this very issue) Maybe ask for ten times the going rate, or something like that.

My two cents, and I am not, nor ever will be a lawyer or be qualified to give legal advice.

TW

js33
10-13-2003, 09:13 PM
I think Pixar is going to give Disney that big boot up the butt.
I mean Disney did split production costs but they have absolutely nothing to do with creating or developing the films other than putting money up. Now that Pixar doesn't need Disney's money Pixar can just hire Disney to do their little distribution thing and that's all they can make money from now. ;)

Cheers,
JS

Stranahan
10-13-2003, 09:23 PM
Pixar and Disney just re-upped their deal...

js33
10-13-2003, 09:44 PM
They did? I thought Pixar wanted a better deal. Well maybe they DID get a better deal this time.
I believe they had a 50/50 deal last time maybe it's more like 75/25 Pixar/Disney now.

Cheers,
JS

Gui Lo
10-13-2003, 10:20 PM
I think ownership in the graphics field is very difficult to define and address. For example if I produce a 3d still and use it in photoshop, so I generate a PSD, but the final output is a jpg. Then does the client own all the stages?

The client may think so in that they paid for the work to be done. But then one can argue that the client was paying for the time to result in an end product rather than paying for the material used. This is generally how photographers work where the negatives are the property of the photographer and the client owns a number of resulting images.

Now I agree with the client before hand what it is they are paying for. We agree how(and sometimes where) the products will be used.

Disney and Pixar is a lawyer rather than an artistic mentallity. I mean it seems that Pixar did a better than expected job on a sequal and Disney held them to the legal contract that any sequals would not count as a movie.
Would be fun to see what the contract says now.

Gui Lo

A Mejias
10-14-2003, 12:58 AM
Originally posted by js33
Hi all,

I'm a freelancer and do pretty well for my self but I know a guy that has his own production company that wants to create an animated short under a defered compensation agreement.

Basically this means I do all the animating and he's supposed to come up with the character/story idea.

He has a written agreement but I'm very hesitant to sign it.
But he claims he has contacts in LA. Well actually he does and I know who they are.

Has anyone ever done this and had it work out?

Cheers,
JS


SIGH!

I've said it before and I'll say it again. NEVER DO WORK WITHOUT GETTING PAID!!!

There are lots of people that use the same old stories to get free work from creative professionals and NEVER PAY. "I'll pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today."

Get real, if this guy really had the contacts he'd have the money. And if he really valued your talent and skills he'd pay you for your work when you did it.

Please, everyone, go to www.gag.org buy, read and put into practice the "Graphic Artists Guild Handbook: Pricing & Ethical Guidelines."

js33
10-14-2003, 02:01 AM
Hi A Mejias,

Thanks for that link. Very informative.

Cheers,
JS