If you’re signing documents for a new gig, you’re probably pretty excited.  This means you’ve caught someone’s attention and are on your way to building your resume.  Whether you’re an aspiring actor or model or both, you’ll commonly encounter contracts of some sort or another.  But, before signing your life away, there are a few things to watch out for.  Make sure you understand what you are signing and that the contract is mutually beneficial.

Are you happy with the terms?  First of all, you should be satisfied with what the job has to offer if you’re planning to accept it.  If it’s a no paid position, it is still worth a spot on your resume?  Will the gig allow you to get some valuable demo reel footage?  Will you be working alongside some talented performers who you’ll be able to learn from?

If the gig is paid, have you been offered an acceptable rate?  Are the hours reasonable?  Are you being offered any additional income, such as reimbursement for travel or accommodations?  You likely won’t make millions on a single gig, but you’ll want to make sure the monetary amount makes sense.

Are you able to do this, in general?  You’ll also have to seriously consider whether you’re able to fully commit yourself.  Do the expectations align with your schedule, location, skills?  Can you foresee yourself taking this on and being able to totally immerse yourself in the project while managing life’s other responsibilities?  Are there foreseeable conflicts and can these be negotiated into the terms?

Are there any red flags?  In reviewing the paperwork, do you notice anything that gives you moment’s pause, or that just doesn’t seem right?  Are you uncomfortable with where the project takes place?  Are you being asked to front any fees?

You should never be asked to wire money for a wardrobe, hotel stay, or anything else project-related.  And you should always have the opportunity to meet with the crew you’ll be working with face to face first, even if this means over Skype.  Be leery of any job that asks for you to send money up front, requires giving out too much personal information ahead of time, or is simply not geographically feasible.

If you are uncomfortable with any terms or want to renegotiate, consider having a lawyer take a second look or working with a manager.  Make sure you’re keeping your best interest in mind as you’re working your way to the top.  After all, it’s your career!

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