Great, you booked a commercial! But, before you sign anything, know how it could negatively affect the rest of your commercial career.
It’s important to note that as a commercial actor, your image is essentially being leased for a period of time. This means a brand can use your ad for a predetermined period of time and for a specified use.
As an example, let’s say you booked a Toyota Commercial. Toyota plans to use this commercial for a 13 week run, for web only. That means for 13 weeks (unless renewed) you are unable to work for any other car company. This is what is referred to as a “conflict”. It is the actor’s responsibility to know their conflicts and avoid getting into contracts with competing companies during the ad run period.
One thing to look out for, especially if you are not represented by a talent agency, is any commercial job that does not have a term associated with it. If the contract states a complete buyout and no term, this could create a conflict for life. It’s okay to ask them to add a term for usage to the contract, if they are unwilling, then it might be best to turn down the job.
Imagine if you signed a complete buyout with no term, for a car manufacturer, athletic apparel brand, soft drink company, fast food business, personal hygiene product, and a pharmaceutical commercial. You’d have so many lifelong conflicts, you might as well say goodbye to your commercial career altogether.
When it comes to commercials, it really does pay to have a talent agent booking you for jobs and negotiating your contracts. The agent will make sure you aren’t getting taken advantage of. This is why agents are constantly telling their talent not to sign anything on set, unless they, the agent have already given the OK.
So, before you even submit for that next commercial job, check the usage terms. It might save you a lot of time and heartache down the road!