Know Your Rights

A significant portion of production staff members, including cast and crew members, are independent contractors or freelancers hired by production companies for specific projects. As freelancers, they are required to invoice the production company for their services. While the industry itself is captivating, it presents certain obstacles that add to the complexity faced by employees.

Both regular employees and freelancers in the entertainment and movie industry may encounter challenges related to payment, intellectual property, and legal liability, as they may have different legal protections and rights. Therefore, it is crucial for all workers to have a clear understanding of their rights and obligations to confidently and securely navigate the realm of employment in this industry.

Occupation Rights

Generally, the amount of job rights that an individual has will depend on their specific position. Although they have slightly more rights if they are considered to have “worker” status, freelancers with limited employment rights are still subject to all employment rights with minor exceptions.

In the movie industry, the cast and crew members play a critical role, and it is vital that they are protected and supported in their work. One way to achieve this is through occupation rights.

Occupation rights refer to the rights of workers to carry out their jobs without discrimination or exploitation, and with access to necessary resources and protections. For all cast and crew members in the movie industry, whether regular employees or freelancers, this includes fair pay, access to benefits, and safe working conditions.

The following list outlines some of the primary rights that all workers in the movie industry should be aware of. However, it is not mandatory for individuals to accept every invitation, and they have the right to choose whether or not to participate in a movie project. Also, you have the right to:

Get proper legal protection. Your contract provides legal backing for the work you do and safeguards your interests.

Receive compensation for the work you have done, as agreed upon by you and your client.

Get a secure working environment that is free from hazards and potential dangers.

Be treated fairly in the workplace, regardless of your race, gender, religion, or other personal characteristics. Discrimination is illegal and can result in legal action.

If you have a disability, your employer is required to provide reasonable accommodations that allow you to perform your job duties. This includes modifications to the workplace or work schedule.

Access to a report on the project’s results after its completion. If you find this case important, ensure it is included in the terms outlined in the contract.

Have clear and transparent communication regarding their role in the production, including the scope of work, schedule, and expectations.

Intellectual property protections for their creative contributions to the production, including rights to royalties and credit where applicable.

Terms of Contracts To Be Aware Of

In the entertainment industry, professionals like actors, musicians, and writers often have to sign contracts with production companies or record labels. These contracts can include various provisions, such as payment, intellectual property, and obligations, that define the terms of the working relationship. Understanding these provisions can help professionals position themselves for a successful and lucrative career in the industry.

Here are some examples you might need to consider upon signing a contract:

  • Non-disclosure agreement (NDA): An NDA is a contract that requires the actor to keep certain information confidential and not share it with anyone without permission, such as plot details or behind-the-scenes information.
  • Force Majeure clause: This clause protects the parties from unforeseeable events, such as natural disasters or political unrest, that may prevent the actor from fulfilling their obligations under the contract.
  • Travel and accommodation: This clause specifies who is responsible for covering the actor’s travel and accommodation expenses during production.
  • Perks and bonuses: This clause outlines any additional benefits or bonuses the actor may receive for their work, such as a bonus for exceeding expectations or access to certain amenities on set.
  • Intellectual property: This clause outlines the ownership and usage rights of any intellectual property created during the production, such as the rights to use the actor’s likeness for merchandise or promotional materials.

Not all workers in the entertainment industry are employed on a traditional full-time basis. Some may be hired as independent contractors, while others may be considered employees with additional benefits such as vacation pay and taxes deducted from their paychecks. Understanding your position and rights is crucial to ensure success and longevity in this industry.

To succeed in the entertainment industry, it’s important to seek expert guidance, network with others in the field, and give back whenever possible. By following these steps, you can enjoy the personal and professional benefits of a career in the entertainment industry, regardless of your employment status.