Business of VO – Contracts

Contracts, NDAs, addendums, agreements, non-competes…WTF? Where do you get them? What do they mean? Can I just write one myself? The Bosses are on top of the contract conundrum. We’ve got the answers you need to be contract competent!


Quick Concepts from Today’s Episode:

  1. Contracts should originate from an attorney

  2. They are common in VO when you enter into a retainer agreement

  3. You may initiate a contract or your client may do so

  4. You can modify a contract and resubmit it for review prior to signing.

  5. Mark them up. Negate points.

  6. Review all points of a contract and ask questions.

  7. By writing your own contract you are at the advantage

  8. A statement of work can be stand alone or added to a contract.

  9. Contracts can be added on to with addendums.

  10. A contract should include: payment terms, work terms, turnaround, revisions, usage,

  11. length of use & renewals.

  12. If a client accepts a quote, then they are accepting your terms.

  13. Gabby’s Radio Imaging book includes a contract template you can use.

  14. Rob Sciglimpaglia’s book VO Legal does as well.

  15. A thorough invoice can serve as a contract.

  16. There are great apps and web tools to help you complete, sign and send contracts.

  17. Clients who deem their work to be sensitive will require an NDA

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Share ideas with your own network ++

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Anything is a contract once two people have signed it. #VOBOSS Click To Tweet

Referenced in this Episode

Direct links to things we brought up ++

  1. Voiceover Legal by Rob Sciglimpaglia on Amazon

  2. Rob Sciglimpaglia’s Legal Website

  3. Recorded on ipDTL

Full Episode Transcript

>> Today’s voiceover talent is more than just a pretty voice.

>> Pretty voice.

>> Pretty voice.

>> Pretty voice.

>> Today’s voiceover talent has to be a BOSS.

>> BOSS.

>> A BOSS.

>> A BOSS.

>> Join us each week for business owner strategies and success with your hosts Anne Ganguzza and Gabrielle Nistico, along with some of the strongest voices in our industry.

>> Rock your business.

>> Rock your business.

>> Rock your business.

>> Like a BOSS.

>> Like a BOSS.

>> Rock your business like a BOSS.

>> Rock your business like a BOSS.




Anne: Hey, everybody. Welcome to the VO BOSS podcast. I’m your host, Anne Ganguzza, with my amazingly wonderful BOSS bestie, Gabby Nistico. Hey, Gabby!

Gabby: Ciao.

Anne: Oo ciao. Ciao bella. [laughs] So Gabby, I was on Facebook the other day and happened to notice a post that was asking about how to write a contract, or what should I include in my contract from my client?

Gabby: Mmm. Mm-hmm, mm-hmm. Yeah.

Anne: And bam, I thought wow, this would be an amazing topic to talk about.

Gabby: Oh yeah, and I think there’s so many different aspects of it too. People are intimidated by contracts, afraid of contracts, don’t know what to do for a contract, don’t know where to get contracts. It’s a whole thing.

Anne: It is. [laughs] I think it’s important to understand, I guess in our industry, what’s important to include in a contract, and can you write one yourself? Is that a thing?

Gabby: Any decent contract I think originates from a legal attorney. That’s its beginning. You really want to have that initial structure set up by someone who knows and understands contract legalties. But it can be modified after the fact. And they can be kind of evolved. The contract that I use for all of my imaging and TV promo work is like that. It was created many, many years ago by an attorney that the casting company I worked for hired, and I was given permission to use it. But you know, like I said, it started with someone who really knows what the heck they’re doing in that world.

Anne: So let me ask you, Gabby, because I think we should differentiate, because you’ve an actual like document, correct, that you send for all of your clients to sign, or is this just for your radio imaging clients and TV promo?

Gabby: No. So in my world, anything that’s on retainer should have a contract.

Anne: Mm-hmm. Absolutely.

Gabby: That could be a commercial client. And, in the past I have had commercial clients on retainer. I’ve also had corporate clients on retainer. But whenever there’s a retainer and there’s an agreed upon amount of work for an agreed upon consistent amount of money, yeah, there has to be a contract in place. I’ll take the contract I’ve for imaging and promo and modify it depending on whatever that need is.

Anne: Also, Gabby, I think it’s important for our listeners to understand, there is a contract that you can draw up, or there’s a contract that you sign that your client draws up. I’ve had both.

Gabby: Yes. I have too.

[both laugh]

Gabby: The reason I’m laughing is because in many, many, many instances, a client is going to present you with a contract –

Anne: Right.

Gabby: but my feeling on it is, if you don’t have a counter contract of your own, or just a decent knowledge of contracts, then you really don’t want the client being the one to originate it.

Anne: Well now, that’s very interesting. Because I’ve had, for my corporate contracts,

I’ve had companies that originated with me, and I will not get that work unless I sign it. However I will say that every contract that, and this is important I think for you guys to listen to, every contract that you are presented with, you have an opportunity, right, to mark up that contract, and to negate points on that contract that you may or may not agree with. Don’t just sign a contract blindly, for goodness’ sake. Please God, don’t do that. I think it’s your responsibility as a good business person to absolutely review all points of the contract, and if you don’t agree with those points of contract, you can mark that up and submit that back to your client for review.

Gabby: Literally all you have to do is put a line through the thing you don’t like.

Anne: And initial.

Gabby: Exactly, and your initials next to it, and then you resubmit it. I’m always going to assume that if the client is handing me the contract, that the contract is not written in my best interest. That it’s written in their best interest.

Anne: Of course. Hence therefore if you write the contract [laughs] you’re at an advantage there, right, because you’re stating exactly what it is that you want from the client or are going to provide the client. Now I’ve had an instance where I’ve had a contract that was sent to me by a company, and it was a long-term contract, right, where I was getting a substantial amount of work for a substantial length of time. I then looked at the contract, marked up those areas which I didn’t agree with, and put my initials there, and you can sign that to see if your client will accept it. And then there is also something that I have sent to my clients after that takes place is a statement of work contract, a SOW, a statement of work, which you have to sign. It’s something you provide to the client if you’re expecting work from them, or they might send you and have you sign as well.

Gabby: Yup, I’ve also had cases where I’ve submitted my contract to a corporate client, typically one of the big radio conglomerates, and then they acknowledge my contract, but they attach their contract as an addendum.

[both laugh]

Anne: Exactly, exactly.

Gabby: So it’s –

Anne: Then we just addendum everything.

Gabby: Right, so it’s a contract merging with another contract –

Anne: Which then gets responded to with yet another maybe addendum. There’s always –