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finegrit

Contracts and Legalities of Getting Paid

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I've just got back from a few weeks of travelling and checked in and notice a rash of topics complaining about getting screwed over by various clients. Each one's a different case, but I was surprised that most of the problems probably would have been nipped in the bud if contracts had been negotiated and signed.

 

I won't go on at length except to say that in addition to legally protecting your ass, the process of signing contracts also helps separate clients who have at least a baseline professionalism from the amateurs who are going to screw you.

 

Here is a link (posted by someone else a couple months ago) to a sample contract for design services:

 

http://www.aiga.org/content.cfm/standard-agreement

 

Note, it is for print design and needs some significant revision to use it for broadcast, but it is a good starting point.

 

This won't prevent every problem. But the process of negotiation gives you a good idea of who you are going to be working with. If you get a bad vibe during the process, you can walk away before you invest any real time.

 

It is a simple rule: I don't touch a piece of paper or a keyboard without a contract and a 20% deposit.

 

Obviously, freelancing is a slightly different story, but the same approach of negotiating everything (rate, hours, number of days, kill fee, etc) up front still applies.

 

Cheers.

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It's way past time that this topic was pinned.

 

Please supply links and relevant articles, but not spurious commentary to the thread. Thanks Finegrit for finally supplying the straw that broke the camel's back.

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Guest Sao_Bento
So if I am staff, but not contract, is it legal for my company to make me work all night? I just did an all nighter and several 1am'ers. Is that legal? If I just get up leave after my 8 hours and go home and come in the next day (maybe I get fired for missing the deadline) is that legal? I also watched Hoffa this weekend and think we need a mograph union. Although I will get one of those dog locators in my neck so they can find me!

The answer depends on where you're at. The California overtime laws state that anyone who manages other people or possesses a unique skill (such as an artist) is not subject to the overtime laws - sucks to be us unless we start lobbying and get the law changed.

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There is a great book called "Business and Legal Forms for Graphic Designers". It is an indepth book covering all kinds of topics from non-disclosure agreements - work for hire - all right buyout . . ect. I do not remember the price but I looked up the ISBN number which is: ISBN 1581152744. There is also a great deal of advice and break down of legalese about contracts. To top it off . . . all contracts mentioned in the book are included on a CD in word format. This way the contracts can easily be changed to relate more to our business and personalized to your info. Hope this helps. . .. Best thing I have ever done with contract things and well worth the money.

 

 

Edit (govinda): Here's the link--

 

http://www.amazon.com/Business-Legal-Forms...s/dp/158115030X

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another great book is updated yearly [i think] by AIGA and is called "Graphic Artists Guild Handbook: Pricing & Ethical Guidelines"... the most recent is the 12th edition

 

the last few editions have started to include "digital media" and other sections that relate to motion design... there is a "look inside" feature on Amazon that shows the index of topics covered. Very useful for writing contracts, etc. and even has some pricing guidelines... always a good idea to have things in writing - keeps everyone's expectations in check and makes sure that you get paid for the amazing work you do!

 

 

AIGA site: http://www.gag.org/pegs/index.php

Amazon

 

hope that helps! :)

Edited by dinks

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In light of the VFX turmoil I keep finding myself wondering how more artists don't focus on this stuff. I'm glad this old thread is still at the top of the pile.

 

Mike Monteiro (Mr. "Fuck you, Pay me" himself) also wrote a book called Design is a Job which was the first and single most helpful book I read when deciding to become a freelancer.

 

In my opinion, it should be mandatory reading.

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http://nationwidecollection.net/

 

They take 33% if they collect. If they can't collect within a month or so, but track down the individual in question, you pay $800 up front for them to go through the court process for you. If you win the judgement, which you will, you get your $800 back plus 100% of the debt owed without them taking that 33% cut.

Edited by AromaKat

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