Hi all,

I'm new to the forums here, so I just wanted to say hello first off, and that this seems like really great resource and community! So much appreciation in advance.

I'm hoping that I can get some advice and/or possible resources on a project that I'm currently working on. Basically I've done the music soundtrack for a feature length independent film. The situation is a little bit backwards, as the director/producer and I have had mostly verbal/email agreements for the content and payment. Now this has been fine, and we have a good relationship and trust. Now all the work has been done and paid, though we do need to put together a contract so everything is finalized and in order for the future release of the film.

So here is the case, basically the producer and I have a good relationship, so she has given me the ok to design the contract, so long as it corresponds with our verbal agreement. So I feel this is a good opportunity to learn about some of this stuff, as I am not well versed in these business aspects.

I'm not quite sure what the proper term is, though one of the main points I want to figure out is the clause for licensing the music to third parties. The producer has no intention of splitting off the music from the film in any way like that (ie, licensing to a company for a commercial etc), although since she has no intention of doing that, she has given me the ok to include myself for a share if she ever was to choose to do that, ie 25%.

I feel it is a good opportunity for me, as all this is in good will, and it gives me a chance to learn some important business practices that I may need in the future. So I'm wondering how I can start to put this together. I have begun searching around the internet and am gathering information, and am hoping maybe for some input/advice  anyone could give me, or some resources people could point me to.

I can outline more of the details if need be as well, and appreciate and info or advice anyone could provide.

thanks a bunch!


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  • Congratulations on obtaining that work! Are you permitted to share the music here? 

    Congratulations also on the good will and trust you have with the film producer. I think you are right, this can serve as a learning experience in terms of how to put an agreement in writing. But I would caution you to avoid inserting so much legalese as to give the producer the impression you don't trust her. The most important element you have here is the producer's trust.

    A legal document is a much weaker and less useful asset than the trust felt between the two parties. A lot of people don't understand that, but it is so. It is easier to circumvent a legal document than it is to overcome a loss of personal trust.

    The most useful role of a legal document is to serve as a memorandum of understanding. Because people can genuinely forget what they had agreed to, and having it in writing helps a lot. 

  • Hi Manfred! Thanks for your response and your thoughtful input. At the moment there is no content to share, though I believe the trailer and a website with content are both in the works to hopefully be available to share in the next couple weeks. If so, I'd be glad to share! :)

    Yes the legal speak can be a bit frightening and I am realizing that I may not have the resources to put all this together, though I figure I'll give it a try anyway. I have found some info online about the type of scenario I'm referring to, although I haven't found enough/any examples of an actual contract to draw from to maybe start to put something together. It's really not worth paying hundreds of dollars for a lawyer, so I figure I'll eventually be limited to what I can draw from as far available examples.

    Thanks again, and I'll keep all that in mind for sure, as I do agree with your insight . To lose track of the value of the relationship over the technical details would be unfortunate, so it's a good reminder to appreciate those opportunities.


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