How to make a contract with companies who want to pay only expenses, or with a percentage of profits
Hi, Let me share with you a few of my experiences since becoming a professional actor. Most film makers are honest hard working people and will stand by their word and give you everything promised and treat you well and with respect BUT not everyone will. Ive had a few bad experiences in this business BUT It has taught me how to go about things the right way. Ive had to learn the hard way and quickly how to go about protecting yourself and coming over more professional. I feel it is very important to make up a contract between you and the producer/director of the film, that way you have a legal binding agreement between both parties stating clearly what you both expect from each other.
In the past I have agreed to do films on a profit shared agreement but not signed anything (Hand shake agreement) and I have been used and treated very badly by a few film makers, from promising you a copy of the finished film but not receiving one. In one case I was even promised payment for a film that did quite well and then not receiving any payment what so ever what was agreed at the start of filming but not by legal contract, the golden hand shake that means nothing. One film maker even tried to charge me for a copy of a film I worked on for free.
The only way I would go about it now is by signing an agreement stating what you both expect from the film and legally what percentage of profit you should/will get if the film is successful.
If they are a legit company/film makers they should/will have no problem signing a contract. Ive recently finished my 4th feature film which is on a profit share agreement and we both signed a legal agreement. It's the only way to protect yourself for sure. The film will be getting promoted in Cannes this year and hopefully getting a screening in 2014.
I know a lot of people starting out will be keen to get the chance to make a film BUT there is nothing wrong with asking the producer/director if he would draw up a binding contract between the both of you.
I Hope this helps and Remember people will promise you everything BUT only some will provide. Make sure you sign before you start filming it's the only way to guarantee you will get what was offered. Good luck.