For a while, I’d been negotiating my freelancer terms on a napkin. This had a substantial negative impact which either had a direct effect on my pay or health. Sounds a bit dramatic? No, it has legs, listen: I’d either forget to mention overtime, payment terms, cancellations, expenses to be paid (like lunch, or dinner on late nights of work, travel) and so on and so forth. I learnt the hard way. That meant that each time I made these mistakes, it put me in a vulnerable position where I’d either work long hours back to back (which is fine if you explicitly agree to it but not when you realise it’s not what you expected and could’ve pumped up your rate) or be paid fairly late or was owed expenses. Anyway, don’t feel sorry for me 😂, it’s not the point…
Make no mistake, one of the PM’s main responsibility is to look after the production’s budget and spend as efficiently as possible. They’d be pretty screwed if the production went bankrupt halfway through a project (that’s an extreme case though, but you know what I mean). The bottom line is, you’re always going to be in a position of negotiation with a PM where the juices will be squeezed out of you and you can’t put them in the wrong for doing so, so back yourself up. And it would be the same situation in any case, for any other freelancer working in a different industry.
What you should aim for is consistency, and that’s what this document is all about. Fair & square balanced rules between you (the “Freelancer”) and Production (the “Client”). It will set the tone and empower your work, and it may also have the benefit of making you look more professional.
Read the document properly and amend as what you think should be appropriate according to the project type & size that you engage with, but make it fair for both parties. What I am saying is, (e.g.) if you keep the template as it is, but you’re going to be hired on a x1 day shoot only, you’re likely going to put off the PMs because it may just be too comprehensive and diligent (which they won’t have the time for). So trim it down until you just got what you need.
A good relationship with PMs will keep you getting work. Set your terms upfront, make it as simple as possible, don’t do anything dodgy and if all gets agreed quickly, then you did a good job at securing yourself some work on your terms.
Table of Contents
- Freelancer Obligations
- Client Obligations
- Fees and Expenses
- Extra time and Out of Hours
- Liability and Warranty
- Copyright, Trademarks and Intellectual Property
- Credits and Publication