Contract PSA For Comedians (And Other People, Too)
Nato Green is “either a comedian who moonlights as a union organizer or a union organizer who moonlights as a comedian,” he can’t really tell anymore. Regardless, he knows a thing or two about contracts, and knows how common it is to be screwed over by not reading or understanding something before you sign it. Care of the Comic’s Comic, Green shares some helpful tips and real talk about contracts. I am not a comedian (I know, I know, I can hardly believe it either) but I am both overwhelmed by and obsessed with the idea of contracts (language! subjectivity! performativity!) and this helped me wrap my mind around some things. This is a great point:
In legal terms, a contract is a “meeting of the minds.” All that matters legally is whether the parties understood what they agreed to. That’s why it sucks for us as “talent” to not understand what we’re signing. Usually, the people who need to agree to the contract are not the people who write it—the first draft always comes from a legal template instead of the person I’m working with. For every contract, I create an email record to clarify the meaning, and then renegotiate so the language reflects what we’ve verbally agreed to. No one objects when I say, “This doesn’t reflect the conversation we just had. Let’s fix the language.”
Read the whole thing! And read your contracts!