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Be careful of what projects you decide to take on.

On Set

I took on a project with two collaborators related to a documentary , I faced difficulties during the contract negotiation phase. There were some straightforward changes I wanted to make in the contract. Firstly, I requested that any equipment I provided be covered by their insurance, which I believed was a fair request. Secondly, I wanted to include a clause in the contract that would prevent me from taking on other projects while working on this one.

However, the problem arose because I wasn't being paid upfront; my compensation was solely based on a percentage of the eventual profits. This meant that while I was devoting time to the project's development, I wasn't earning any income. When I tried to address these concerns and requested changes, my collaborators were unwilling to make amendments to the contract. Despite agreeing with me verbally about not wanting me fully committed due to my other commitments, they were resistant to changing the contract's wording.

Additionally, they repeatedly visited my LinkedIn page and website, which raised suspicions. It began to seem like they were attempting to integrate me too deeply into the project and push me to sign a contract that didn't favor me. Consequently, I declined, and this experience serves as a cautionary tale for freelancers.

The key lesson here is the importance of carefully reviewing contracts. If you don't fully understand the terms, seek someone who can explain them clearly. This isn't the first time I've encountered an unfair contract, and I've turned down such offers before. It's essential to be selective about the projects you take on, as your first experiences can impact your future opportunities.

Here are my main points in regards to contracts:

1. Thoroughly Review Contracts: Always take the time to read and understand contracts before committing to a project. Seek clarification from a legal professional or someone experienced in contract negotiations if needed.

2. Clear Communication: Effective communication with collaborators is crucial. Ensure that all parties are on the same page regarding project expectations, responsibilities, and terms.

3. Fair Compensation: Negotiate fair compensation terms that align with your contributions. Be cautious of projects that only offer profit-sharing without upfront payment, as this can leave you working without income.

4. Protect Your Interests: Insist on protecting your assets, such as equipment, by including clauses in the contract for insurance coverage. Stand firm on clauses that safeguard your interests.

5. Red Flags: Pay attention to red flags, such as collaborators pushing for excessive control or making frequent changes to the contract. Trust your instincts if something doesn't feel right.

6. Selective Project Choices: Be selective in choosing projects that align with your values, goals, and financial needs. Sometimes, turning down an unfair contract can lead to better opportunities down the line.

7. Learn from Experience: Each contract negotiation is a learning opportunity. Even if your first few contracts are less favorable, they can pave the way for better deals in the future.

8. Professional Guidance: Consider seeking legal advice or consulting with industry peers who have experience in contract negotiations to navigate complex agreements.

9. Online Presence Awareness: Be cautious about how much information you share online, especially regarding your projects, until agreements are finalized. Protect your professional boundaries.

10. Trust Your Instincts: If something doesn't feel right during negotiations or collaboration, trust your instincts and be prepared to walk away if necessary.


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