Getting an entertainment contract can be incredibly exciting, whether it’s your first part in a pilot episode or your third major record deal. A new contract can be a turning point in your career and might lead to other contracts in the future.

However, there are several legal considerations to keep in mind when you get a contract. It’s important to stay level-headed and avoid making any rush decisions. Here are the things you must do when you get an entertainment contract.

How Big is the Contract?

When you’re looking over an entertainment contract, think about how much it represents. If you’re doing a small part in a TV show, you probably don’t have as many factors to worry about. If it’s a long-term deal or a contract to purchase the rights to a work you spent a long time creating, you’ll want to be very careful before you proceed.

Are the Terms Fair?

It’s important to look at the contract as objectively as you can. Are the terms fair? Are they the terms you agreed to when you discussed the deal with the other party? Even if you’re new to the business, you should not let anyone take advantage of you or lock you into an unfair agreement that will limit your future opportunities.

Do You Understand Everything?

Comprehending all the “legalese” in a contract can be challenging if you aren’t a lawyer. It’s essential that you understand everything in the contract before you sign it. If you’re not sure, ask questions! It’s best to have your own lawyer go over any major contracts you sign, especially as they could end up getting you a better deal overall.

Do You Really Have to Read it All?

Yes, it’s very important to read over the entire entertainment contract carefully. You might be signing over intellectual property, locking yourself into a long-term arrangement that could affect you for years, or providing exclusivity. These are things you need to understand and consider before you sign.

Do You Need to Call a Lawyer?

Every situation is different, but unless you’re signing a very simple contract for a small role or a similar deal, it’s smart to have an entertainment lawyer look over your contract and help you through the negotiation process. Your lawyer will be able to answer your questions, help you negotiate a better deal, and point out any potential issues in the contract.

If you need help understanding an entertainment contract you’ve been asked to sign, give our Beverly Hills office a call at 323-230-6200. Our experienced entertainment lawyers in Los Angeles are standing by to help.