A contract consists of one party making an offer which is accepted by another party. If you have agreed what you are going to do, where you are going to do it, when, and for what fee, then a contract is in place. A contract doesn’t have to be in writing, although a verbal contract may be difficult to prove if challenged. The existence of a contract can be proven via letters, emails and text messages.
It is essential that you get a written agreement with the employer / choreographer before you start work. At best this means a physical document signed by both parties. If this is not possible, you should at least get a confirmation of the engagement via email.
What should the contract include? As a bare minimum, your contract should include:
– Your name and those of the employer
– Fee confirmation (plus when you will receive your fee)
– Dates and hours of work
– Your role and the tasks you’ll be expected to perform
– Location of the job
– If your performance is being filmed: where the footage will be used for what purpose and for how long. Audio-visual recordings of performances for commercial purposes should attract an additional fee.
What if my contract is cancelled?
If your contract is cancelled you are still entitled to the fee, unless there are clauses in the contract which mean you have signed away this right. You also need to prove that you have tried to find work for the period in which you were originally contracted. This is known as mitigating your loss.
Equity frequently helps members who have had jobs cancelled and lost out on money. We are often successful.
Often a letter from Equity is enough to make the contractor pay up, but sometimes we have to go futher. In these instances an application to the Small Claims Court is necessary. Equity is there to help you in these cases and can represent you throughout the whole process.