Robert M. Angel,
A Professional Corporation
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Contracts & Negotiations

Since my contract is full of many pages of jargon and legal boilerplate, how will I be able to understand it?

Because your attorney has negotiated, reviewed and drafted thousands of entertainment industry contracts, he has the knowledge and expertise to explain to you how the business works and the key points in your contracts.  By focusing on the critical business and legal issues of your contract in his conversations with you, your attorney will reduce the issues to the essential issues which concern you while sparing you from the legal complexities.  In the meantime, your attorney will address legal issues with the network or studio and attempt to make the best possible deal on those points.


Similarly, if you are an author, the boilerplate contract between you and the publisher is not entirely ironclad and non-negotiable.  It contains certain terms which can be negotiated more favorably for you, including the amounts of your advance, the royalties, and the number of free copies.


Won’t the contract I am sent be fair to both sides and accurately reflect the terms of the deal we made?

Remember, the studio, the network, the record company, and the publisher are in business to make money and want to make the best deal they can.  They are not interested in making the best deal for you, but your attorney is.  If you have an agent or a personal manager, they may try to make a good deal for you, but they are not trained legal professionals who can identify often critical legal issues.  Their focus is on a few key points, whereas your attorney may be able to identify other key issues and negotiate a more favorable deal for you.


Won’t my agent or manager be looking out for me?

Your agent and your manager are in the business of making money.  While your agent and manager represent you, they are not obligated to disclose potential conflicts of interests.  Your agent may want to receive a package commission from the network or studio by linking you with other clients of the agency to your project.  Your manager may want to receive a producing credit and fee as a condition of your deal with the studio or network.  Under these circumstances, you need independent representation.  Your attorney will be that independent representative.  Your attorney also act as a go-between with your agent and manager to be sure that their contracts with you are legal, fair, and will conform with industry standards.  These services may involve negotiation of the contracts, legal review of the contracts, or negotiation of the legal terms to make what will truly be the best deal for you under the circumstances. 


Isn’t it better to save some money by handling my own negotiations?

Often it’s better to hire someone to handle negotiations and contracts instead of trying to do it yourself.  Granted, it may cost you some money up front, but you are much better off having someone else handle these matters.  First, you can tell your employer that you don’t negotiate your own deals or handle your own contracts.  This will allow you to remove yourself from the distasteful and contentious business and legal part of show business and focus on the “show” part – the fun stuff which is the part which excites you such as the creative part of your writing or performing which reflects your creative vision.  Second, in many situations in life, some things are not best handled on a do-it-yourself basis.  If your plumbing backs up, you may be able to make a temporary repair yourself, but wouldn’t be preferable and easier to call a plumber who would know exactly how to fix the problem?  At least you won’t have a mess in your shower or a flood under your sink.  Hiring an experienced and skilled entertainment attorney is the same thing; your attorney will represent you and only you.