Chapter 9: We Hereby Agree
Paragraph 6. Now here is the most meaningless paragraph of all! There are no such things as "net profits" in movie production. The biggest grossing films in motion picture history never achieved any "net profits." It's all "up front." If you are of sufficient value to your employer as to be offered a share of return on productions you contribute to, then it must be a share of gross receipts. Even 1% of gross receipts is worth more than 25% of net profits. My own personal standard for the past 30 years is 5% of gross income, from the first dollar, and in perpetuity. This should include not only returns on sales or rentals of the films in any form, television syndication, videos, etc, but also ancillary rights, including merchandising of toys, etc. Needless to say, I never received a penny from Paragraph 6. Even if any net profits miraculously appeared, this paragraph is laced with every form of weasel word old Foxy and his lawyers could come up with. Just read it carefully!
Paragraph 8. This gives FoxyWoxy all of the options. I had no options to get out of the contract, and would have faced loss of all salaries and whatever rights there might be if I would quit.
Paragraph 9. Ha ha! More empty guff, adding up to zero.
Paragraph 10. If not money, at least glory. I was able to get major screen credit rights, and this was not just for ego satisfaction. Screen credits are also money in the bank, and vital for your next career moves.
The rest of this early employment contract is standard "boiler plate," legal essentials. You'll see variations of this in the following examples.
The next example is a contract where you are hired to animate someone else's creative property or properties. The names are changed, but it is based on an actual contract I worked under successfully for many years.
CONTRACT FOR SERVICES
A G R E E M E N T dated this 1st day of August, Year by and between KID FOOD, INC., a [State] corporation having its principal offices in Town, State 00000 (hereinafter called "Kid inc.") and Joe Animator, 1234 Street, Town, Country (hereinafter called "Animator").
1. Kid inc. is in the business of producing and exploiting sound and silent motion pictures, recordings, filmstrips, slides, TV programs and other so-called "Mass Media".
2. Kid inc. contracts directly with artists, illustrators, publishers, etc. for the rights for adaptation, production, co-production, and exploitation as motion pictures, (hereinafter called "Projects"), on which Animator shall perform services as: ADAPTER - ANIMATOR - DIRECTOR.
3. As compensation for the services performed by Animator, Kid inc. shall pay hereunder:
A. [Several] thousand dollars ($00000.00) as a fee for the preparation of a storyboard adaptation for a film,
B. A minimum of [several] thousand dollars ($0000000) as a fee for directing or supervising the production of a film up to the running length of 7 minutes.
C. A minimum fee of [several] thousand dollars ($0000000) for directing or supervising the production of a film up to the running length of 8-14 minutes in length, and of a difficulty as represented by the example of the film "Suchandsuch"
D. A minimum fee of [several] thousand dollars ($000000000) for directing or supervising the production of a film up to 3O minutes in length, and of a difficulty as represented by the version of "Suchandsuch", written by Animator.
E. The exact fees for directing or supervising the production of each film will be agreed in writing by the parties at the time Kid inc. shall assign the project to Animator.
F. In addition to the fees as listed in items A. B. C. and D. above, Animator shall receive a royalty* [commission] of 5% (five percent) in perpetuity of the gross revenue from all sources, of the films directed by Animator under the terms of this contract.