Progressing your career as an artist can be a stressful, and sometimes lengthy, process. Securing an agent can be one of the most influential moves of your career. They can secure meetings with new contacts, or expand your networks to lead to your next big opportunity.
While securing an agent can be an incredible milestone, you have to make sure that you have a representation agreement that you are confident in. A well-planned contract can be the difference between propelling your career forward with the assistance of an agent or having your dreams crushed as you realize they’ve lied to you.
What to look for in a Talent Representation Agreement?
Talent Agents are expected to follow a Code of Ethics. As an example, the Talent Agents and Managers Association of Canada (TAMAC) has done a great job outlining one. Within their code of ethics, agents are expected to be honest and truthful with their clients, be aware of unique abilities and skills regarding future work and maintain a professional relationship.
Signing a representation agreement is the beginning of securing an agent, and a code of ethics should be highlighted when creating that agreement. Below are just a few examples of things to look for when it over
When looking at the term of the agreement, you want to be sure that you are covered starting immediately upon signing; while also ensuring you are covered for an appropriate length of time. Being covered for a longer period of time can ensure that you have many chances to secure projects or land opportunities. However, you also want to be sure that the agreement allows the opportunity to terminate early if the agent/talent relationship falls through.
An agent is entitled to a commission with regard to any work that they have secured for an artist. When signing your agreement, be sure that the commission percentage is agreed upon, not simply written in. This percentage can be negotiated. The commission is based on work secured by an agent, and the amount should always be calculated after any incurred expenses are deducted.
The Agent’s Responsibilities
In an agreement, it should be made clear that when an agent is under possession of any samples of an artist’s work, they have sole rights and that the samples are protected from damage or loss. These rights are not to be transferred at the agent’s discretion. In the event of a termination, the samples should be returned within an agreement upon time frame. Also, it should be highlighted what expenses the agent should bear. Including what percentage of promotional costs they will share with an artist.
These aspects of a contract are only the tip of the iceberg in regards of what to look for. Seeking legal counsel, to look over a representation agreement can illustrate just how many aspects may have been overlooked.
Things To Keep In Mind
Securing a representative can have some negative long-term implications if your agreement is signed without being reviewed. These implications can be the result of clauses written into an agreement, and shouldn’t be taken lightly or agreed to without a full understanding. An agent may opt to represent you on their own, without officially signing you into their agency. Or, may even hold off from certain opportunities as they wait for your “next big gig” to come along at their own discretion.
Before signing your agreement, always be sure that you understand every part of it. Vagueness and undeclared aspects should always be a red flag in any contract. A clear agreement should always be the staple of any agent/talent relationship.
Seeking legal advice to review or to help clarify some aspects of a representation agreement is always recommended. This ensures that you are not signing your career away, or allowing yourself to be misrepresented.
The Entertainment Law team at Hummingbird Lawyers can sit down with you to go over any representation agreement to make sure that your best interests are taken care of, and that you avoid any serious long-term implications. Contact Hummingbird today to see what your next steps should be when securing representation.