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What’s in a performance contract

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There are two things you need to know about performance contracts.

  1. They can run anywhere from a single page to dozens of pages. The price range is just as wide.
  2. You should always have a performance contract.

A good contract protects both parties – you and the person or company hiring you. Whether a lawyer, you or your client produces the contract, at the very least this document should specify:

  1.  Who is getting paid and who is paying.

Names of the person, group or company doing/supplying the performance and the the person or company paying for the performance.

“This is an agreement between XYZ Corp Bhd (Client) and Lalala Singers (Artist)”

  1.  Where, when, at what time and how long.
  • Location and date(s) of the rehearsals/performance.
  • Time and duration of the rehearsals/performance.
  • Type of performance. I.e. Dance, comedy act, concert, etc. and any relevant details.

Artist will perform at Client’s annual dinner on October 30, 2016 at FruFru Hotel, KL (Performance). In this Performance, the Artist will sing 10-12 songs from 8:30pm to 9:30pm.

  1.  How much, how and when

Here state how much you will be paid, how you will receive payment (check, transfer, etc.) and when (deposit before and full payment right before or after the performance is the norm).

The Client will pay a the Artist RM4000 (Performance Fee) as follows:

  • A non-refundable retainer of RM1000 upon signing this Performance Contract.
  • The RM3000 balance of the Performance Fee within 30 days after the Performance.
  1.  What if

What happens if the client cancels the event? What if you don’t show up or are late? What if the event or performance is cancelled for reasons beyond anyone’s control?

If Client cancels within 7 days of the Performance for any reason whatsoever, the Client will pay the Artist’s full Performance Fee.

  1.  Agreement

The contract needs to be signed by both sides to show that you both are committed to fulfill your obligations.

Client’s (or representative’s) signature

Full name: ______________
Designation: ____________
Date: _________________

Artist’s (or representative’s) signature

Full name: _____________
Signature: _____________
IC number: ____________
Date: ________________

Download your sample basic performing contract template.

Yes, there can be more.

A lot more. A lawyer will tell you, always consult a lawyer, and yes, a professional can draw up a contract detailing every eensy little detail, such as:

  • Specifics about the performance (eg. number and type of songs, etc.).
  • Whether anything is not allowed (certain language, topics or style of dress. On the client’s side, certain behaviours – you would not believe what some people think they are paying for when they hire dancers).
  • Whether you are permitted/required to take breaks. If so, how long are the breaks?
  • Whether a deposit is required.
  • What happens if the deposit isn’t paid on time.
  • What penalties will be paid by whom in the event of a cancellation (depending on circumstances, faults, costs incurred and whether the cancellation happens weeks, days or hours before the performance)
  • Whether you need to report in person or over the phone on the day (usually 1-2 hours) before the performance.
  • Who provides the necessary equipment.
  • Who is allowed to move/operate equipment.
  • What happens if equipment (yours, the client’s or the venue’s) is damaged?
  • Who is responsible in the event of injury.
  • If the event requires travel and/or overnight accommodation, what will the client pay for. Bus fare? Petrol and tolls? Food allowance? Hotel? Unfortunately, some clients think that appropriate accommodation is six of you sharing a single room in a 2-star hotel.
  • Whether the client will make money out of your performance (ticket sales, F&B sales, event merchandise) and whether you are entitled to any part of the profits.  
  • Whether the client / audience has permission to record and distribute your performance.

So if you can afford a lawyer, fine and dandy. If you can’t, remember that a basic agreement in writing is better than a handshake.

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Amy De Kanter
Amy De Kanter

Former Chief Editor, frequent contributor and enthusiastic audience member, Amy is thrilled to have a job that lets her do three of the things she loves most.