Most of the voiceover work I have done up to this point has been rather straight-forward (contract-wise).  I got into voiceover work after already being established as an actor for commercials and industrials (and more recently, television and film).  In fact, before I even committed to myself that I would pursue voiceover work, I had two clients contact me asking me if I performed such work (karma?).

 

Anyway, one client provides eLearning modules to their clients.  Although their media division is rather small (actually, they consolidated the media divisions from all their regional offices to their corporate headquarters), they provide many services, including IT, customer service, billing support and other services for companies worldwide.

 

I give you that background to explain my situation:

 

After working on several projects for them, their corporate legal department stepped in and explained that all "subcontracted work" must go through a mediary.  OK, I have an agent - that'll work, right?  In order to book work, the agent must sign a "Service Provider Agreement" form, which holds her accountable for things agents really shouldn't be held accountable for.

 

The form is 24-pages long, and includes phrasing, such as, "Supplier shall reperform any services which are rejected by (client) at no additional cost."  Now, they did leave the door open, asking for "any edits to be written in the margin in red ink," so there might be an opportunity to negotiate "free re-takes," but the rest of the stuff is a bit restrictive.

 

I understand this is the typical way many corporations work with various vendors, but there's a disconnect when dealing with an industry such as ours.  Most corporations of this size go through an advertising agency, but they want to provide this media in-house.

 

How have you negotiated an amenable outcome, when experiencing an interaction like this?

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Edited.  For some reason, the original post was "invisible."  Try reading it now.  I'd love to hear your responses.
Hello Scott,
Well in my summation the obvious answer is to catch these things before occur, which may not help you in this case. To solve the current conundrum, diplomacy would be my approach, if you have agreed to their terms already in writing, they key phrase, "in writing", then you're committed contractually. If it's verbal only, then go back to diplomacy and negotiate new terms before it's finalized or you could be subjected to legal consequences which may cost you more time and money.

Further considerations: Don't commit your services for big or important jobs , let your agent handle those.
if you want to tackle those yourself prepare to have a legal pro advise you (read money well spent). Smaller jobs - have a standard bid and contract form you can easily change to suit the job at hand.

I don't commit myself to jobs I don't fully understand. if the client insists you sign their contract, get a copy so you or your attorney can review in advance, before any signatures. Business is business, VO or otherwise. Don't overthink or over encumber your prospective clients with convaluted extensive contracts. For your own private clients keep it simple, concise and short! One page is probably really good. Good luck on this.

Thanks.  There has been a similar discussion over at http://poppaunplugged.com/ recently.

 

Another wrench in the works recently:  NOW the company is looking for "proof of worker's compensation insurance" from the agency.  You know how that went.  I don't know how they got voiceover talent before going this route.  I'm going to get my contact to find out how their other media departments handled it when they were located elsewhere.

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