Talent release forms can take on a number of different looks, depending on whom you sign with, what their intentions are, and what you’re looking to get out of it. Some talent release forms can be pages long, but for the most part, those that stretch beyond one to two pages should raise an eyebrow or two. No matter what contract you may be looking to sign at any given time, be sure to read the contract carefully, from beginning to end. A talent release form is generally designed for one project, and one project only, but in this day and age there are plenty of scams circulating the world that it pays to be vigilant. A few extra moments of reading now could potentially save you countless hours fighting in court later on.
There are 4 essential parts to a talent release form
Basically, there are 4 essential parts to a talent release form. The first is perhaps the most encompassing aspect. This is the agreement that you make with the producers of the film or project that grants them permission to use your name, likeness, image, voice, or any other appearance aspect in your performance however they deem suitable to the project. If you film a commercial promoting a product, for example, they can use your likeness in print ads, not just television spots. They can also use your voice for radio spots.
This part of the agreement will generally read as follows (though different forms and contracts will vary from production company to company): I grant –Production Firm Name-, its designee, the right to use my name, likeness, image, voice, appearance, and performance as embodied in the product whether recorded on or transferred to videotape, film, slides, photographs, audio tapes, or other media, now known or later developed. This grant includes without limitation the right to edit, mix, or duplicate and to use or re-use the product in whole or part as the –Production Firm Name- may elect. –Production Firm Name- or its designee shall have complete ownership of the product in which I appear, including copyright interest or ownership in the product or its copyright.
The second part has to do with distribution. In this section, you authorize the producers to market and sell the product as they deem necessary, whether in whole or as parts. This will likely read as follows: I also grant the –Production Firm Name- and its designees the right to broadcast, exhibit, market, sell, and otherwise distribute the product, either in whole or in parts, and either alone or with other products, for commercial or non-commercial television or theater, film festivals, closed-circuit exhibition, home video distribution or any other purpose that –Production Firm Name- or its designees in their sole discretion may determine. This grant includes the right to use the product for promoting or publicizing any of these uses.
The third component of this agreement assures the producers that you have full legal right to enter into this contract and that you do not have prior agreements or commitments to other parties that would hinder any aspect of the production. This will likely read as follows: I confirm that I have the right to enter into this agreement, that I am not restricted by any commitments to third parties, and that –Production Firm Name- has no financial commitment or obligations to me as a result of this agreement. I hereby give all clearances, copyright and otherwise, for use of my name likeness, image, voice, appearance, and performance embodied in the product. I expressly release and indemnify –Production Firm Name- and its officers, employees, agents and designees from any and all claims known and unknown arising out of or in any way connected with the above granted uses and representations. The right granted –Production Firm Name- herein are perpetual and worldwide.
This third section is important to read through and understand, since it expressly forfeits discussion of compensation. Therefore, it is imperative that, before signing an agreement like this that compensation is discussed, agreed to, and signed in a different contract.
The fourth essential component of a talent release form is the agreement that you have read the terms and it is reasonable and acceptable to you. It may read as follows: In consideration of all the above, I hereby acknowledge receipt of reasonable and fair consideration from the –Production Firm Name-.
Before signing any agreement or contract, be certain that you fully understand what it is that you are signing. If you are hiring talent, then be certain that they understand these terms fully before they sign. It will save everyone a great deal of trouble later on.