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Old 02-24-01, 10:33 AM   #1
Vantage
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Post Rain

We all tend to be in a very "weather permitting" business.
We were recently hired to do a Mardi Gras gig. It rained all day. We were there and stayed through the rain so we could do sets if it stoped. It didn't.
The event sponsor didn't want to pay us because we didn't perform.
I have thought alot about this lately. We can't aford to not get payed. Once wouldn't hurt, we perform in Florida though. It rains here every day. I thought maybe giving a percentage off for weather, that just doesn't seem right though. We were there and have no control over the weather.

So the question is:
What do you all do about weather and rain and the like??

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Old 02-24-01, 12:30 PM   #2
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It is explicitly defined in my contract that I will be there rain or shine...if they have no where for me to perform because of the rain...not my problem...I also have a cancelation clause that they may cancel up to 24 hours in advance for any reason...(and if they expect crap weather they can do this)...I require 50% of what I was to be paid for cancelations that close to the event.

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Old 02-24-01, 10:11 PM   #3
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Having a weather clause in the contract would help. It is not uncommon, nor unreasonable, to require a non-refundable deposit be required for each paid gig, though the payment schedule details must be clearly written in the contract. Additionally, one can request to be paid on site, but before the performance if you are really guarded.

How you treat the details of the contract with the client depends on the accepted norm for your area. I understand that large cities with less than scrupulous individuals, some are called "agents," lead to more defensive contracts. Ultimately, every gig you do can produce yet another clause in your next contract. Backstage conditions, show responsibilities, call time, etc. all come into play to make, or break, the success of an engagement.

This happened to me the show before the last one I did. I had the unfortunate circumstance of having the producer delay the availability of the music for my act until the night before the opening performance. OK. That sucked. So, when negotiating for the latest show I did, I had them clearly put into the contract that I must be provided a rehearsal copy of my music no later than two weeks before the opening night. Fine. Sure enough, this time the producer got me my music in a timely fashion. But with this show, they changed the prop that they wanted me to do the routine with two days before the opening! OK, OK, OK! So NOW, I have to add yet ANOTHER clause into the contract stating that the choreography will be set no later than two weeks before the opening nightÖ

As you can see, this sort of thing can quickly get out of hand. I just want to do my little act, dammit! I donít want to have to get a lawyer to proof every deal. I donít think that one can ever cover every base, so choose the ones that are most important to you.

I work primarily in the US Midwest. The attitudes here have been very honest and true to the unwritten words in the contract. In twenty years of doing all sorts of gigs, I have never been stiffed or had to haggle after the fact. I attribute this to good management on the agentís part and on my own ability to adapt the situation with the client on a case by case basis. Based on horror stories from other entertainers on either coast, I have been lucky.

As for your considering changing the fee because of extenuating circumstances: One of the things that I took away from the recent MotionFest conference was the idea that if something I did wasnít right about a gig, and if I felt that I needed to "make things right," I always have the power to tell the client that they didnít have to pay. I have never done this, but there have been shows from years back that I remember VIVIDLY as being unacceptable by my standards. If I could go back, I would not have taken the money. Personally, I think it very important to go into any agreement with a written contract, but also be prepared to do what is not written to keep the client on your side, within reason of course. After all, referrals are the best way to get more work. Itís exponential growth. You burn one bridge, and you have possibly lost out on dozens of future opportunities.

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Old 02-26-01, 06:32 AM   #4
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Loved reading that, Steven! Very well put. And I couldn't help but wonder what, after all these trials and experiences, your show contract looks like. Would you consider making a generic version of it available in the library section?
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Old 02-26-01, 12:34 PM   #5
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We generaly have very informal agreements. To the point, sometimes, where the contract has been nothing more than a glorified invoice. Our idea was that as long as they were paying the price we set we were cool with it. I have done 1 performance before where we didn't accept payment. It hurt but we felt it was right because of the circumstances. I think I might push the group to try for a more solid contract though. We havent been burned yet but i don't like the idea of it happening for a first time.
Thanks.
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Old 02-26-01, 11:54 PM   #6
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I think a performer will always be treated more seriously if he/she at least sends a letter of confirmation to the client.
We say (the Client) agrees to provide:- (two or three clauses stating what you need from them, including fee amount and when it should be paid, RAIN OR SHINE!) Remember, they have insurance to cover the weather.
We say (we) agree to provide:-
(two or three clauses stating what you are giving them.)
Send two copies, both signed by you, and have them return one signed copy.
That way, you are covered, and they know what to expect. Too complicated a contract tends to scare off a client. Kelly.
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Old 03-01-01, 02:17 PM   #7
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I think that's a really good idea.

Jim, is there a place (as part of Performers.net) where people could post their sample contracts online? (I don't know if this system has a file provision or not)

I'd be happy to contribute what I'm using. It's pretty simple, with a place for various notes, and a reference to my technical rider.

That's where you put in things like--
The venue/festival provides a stage manager.
All the cues are on tape, (and not CD, for example), so they need to have a tape player.
etc.

I have several different contracts for the different shows (My flea circus contract is different, since it's performed in a theatre, than say, my meet and greet contract, which is probably performed out of doors.
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Old 03-01-01, 04:42 PM   #8
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Great idea, Adam.

If anyone wants to send me their contracts to use as examples, I'd be happy to put them up in the library.

You may email a scan to me, mailto:jim@performers.netjim@performers.net</A> preferably in .tiff format, or if you're handy in Photoshop, a nice, optimized, .gif file would be great.

Or send a .pdf file to the same address.

If you want to mail me hard copy of your contract, I'll do the scanning:
performers.net
P.O. Box 441634
West Somerville, MA
02144
USA

Hopefully, we can get a good cross section of contract examples. I'll organize them and make a Library section. Cool...

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Old 03-01-01, 06:48 PM   #9
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Great Idea,
Will help everyone. Its so good to know all the ways that people have been screwed before it happens to you.

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