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Constructing a Video Commercial Contract Form

written by: Shane Burley•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 6/30/2010

How to put together a contract for producing a digital video commercial.

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    Commercially Contracted

    As a film or digital video producer you are often leaving yourself open for client work of different sorts. Most people think of commercials being charted by large companies through advertising agencies and big production companies. This is only part of the commercial world, and instead you will often find that simply a small scale production company or group will be hired by a client specifically for their work. When you are contracted for this you have to set up your fees, the overall production cost, and what exactly is going to be done in a way that the company will agree to. To do this in a legally protected sense you will put together a business contract that will outline the project so that everyone is aware of what you will be doing. This is a variable type of business agreement depending on what you are doing, but here is an overview of how you would put together a business contract that is specific for a video commercial.

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    Beginning Information

    You are going to want to list at the top of the commercial contract form the basic information about the two parties involved and the project itself. Here, list the project title, the complete budget that has been agreed upon that includes both the material production costs and your fees, the name of the client, the length of the video, who the contact people are, and the date for the contract. If other information seems incredibly pertinent to put at the top of the contract then you can try. Make sure to also place the name of your production company or lead producer.

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    License and Service Agreement

    Include a basic line for license and service agreement, listing that an agreement is made on the listed date between the two parties. Then list the detailed contact information of the two parties, being the production company and the larger company that is contracting this project.

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    Project Information

    The project information is going to be the dominant part of the commercial contract form where you will list everything about the project and the contract in a text form. Here you will outline what the project is, what kind of form it will come in, the purpose of the advertising, and so on. Below that you will put together a working plan that will outline the production schedule, what is going to be done over the course of the schedule, and who is going to be doing that. A payment plan will also be included as part of this project information and you will list that a certain amount of money will be delivered at certain points in production and then a certain amount at delivery. You will also include a "kill fee," which is a certain amount of money that must be paid if the client cancels the contract. Include copyright information that will essentially be a clear list of what rights will be retained by each party, and this can be negotiated. Usually the client will own sole copyright of everything appearing in the commercial and the production company will reserve the right to include the work on reels, applications, and different items to allow them and their staff achieve later contracts. At the very end make sure to include lines for signatures of three or more members from both the production company and the client. Make sure that date lines will accompany the signatures.