5 Do's and Don'ts Of Entertainment Contracts


You have tried for years to land an agency/management contract. When it is offered, it is exciting.  But before you sign, here are some do's and don'ts  to help you: 

Manager’s Duties

Make sure you spell out with specificity what duties or obligations you have negotiated with your management company. Is your contract an exclusive contract? Is it a one time contract?, a non-exclusive contract?, or in modeling, a mother agency contract?  Many artists, actors, singers and models have been stuck in management contracts with unproductive management companies.  Breach of contract actions are complex and often take a long time to resolve.

MAMA Agencies

When signing with an agent, if you are a model and are looking for a Mother Agency contract, you should look for agencies who are franchised with the Mother Agencies of Models Association (MAMA). Agencies under this franchise accept ethical and professional business practices. Mother agency contracts should be negotiated by a skilled legal representative/attorney. Sometimes, the agency may not be representing you fully, but merely selling your rights to a larger agency. Depending on the contract, they may be entitled to a portion of your fee.  

The Term

Typically, the term is 3-5 years, NOT perpetuity!  It may make more sense to shorten the term of the contract or to condition the term on a specific event.

All For One, One For All

Being a member of a band has its ups and downs. When you sign the contract as a band member, you are signing it for the band and everyone becomes bound to the contract. That is called joint and several liability and you become an agent for your band members.  Even if you did not sign the contract and the other members did or your manager signs, and you eventually drop out of the band, you are still liable.  If you cannot pay, the rest of the members have to pay, but of course they can come after you for your share.

The Next Triple Threat

You may be the next "triple threat" in dancing, singing, instrument playing, but you don't want the same management company to represent you in all genres. Always make sure that you specify within the language of your contract what areas your management company will provide representation.