Contracts

There are common items in most deal memos for DP's. It usually lists the working period, number of guaranteed days of paid prep, any kit rental, minimum payment if fired, credit information, and a promise of a tape copy to be used for one's reel. Sometimes it will indicate when the DP's name must be listed on advertisements.

If it is a non-union film that may go union, I recommend some clause to cover renegotiation of rate for the DP (since there are no DP rates listed in the low-budget IA agreement, so one could end up with no change in salary but the crew could end up making more than you. This has happened to me -- the film went union, the operator and 1st AC got minimum union rates with overtime, which added up to be more than my flat rate as DP. But the IA low-budget agreement only says "DP will be subject to the deal memo" so the producers were under no legal obligation to pay me more, just health & welfare.) I suggest a phrase like "If the film becomes subject to the IATSE low-budget agreement, the DP rate must be 1.5X the operator's rate" or something like that, since the operator's rate IS listed.

For actors, it gets more complicated with issues like residuals or profit participation, executive producer credit, trailers, assistants or staff, promotional work, etc.
 
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