It’s common in today’s market to have writers, editors, screenwriters and others in the entertainment industry work on multiple jobs around the United States and world. Many writers find that they are signed onto projects using series deal contracts, but they don’t always feel that those contracts have kept up with the changing conditions of the industry.
Right now, talented writers, actors and others may be held under exclusive deals that may last anywhere from nine months to over a year, limiting their options for booking other jobs without getting approval from the other party in the contract. This can be problematic because writers or actors might run into time limits for new job opportunities that wouldn’t unreasonably affect their current work.
Contracts have always been a part of working in entertainment
It is true that contracts have always restricted what writers, actors or others could do, but they were largely created during a time when writers and other talent would work around eight or nine months at a time. The series on broadcast television used to last at least 20 episodes per season, too.
Today, that’s not the case. Some series are only a few episodes long. This hurts writers, in particular, because they are held to a long contract but only working on a small number of episodes.
If you are working in this industry, it’s important to review your contract carefully. You need to know if the network or streaming company will agree to a hiatus or to allow you to move on to another project if your work for its project has finalized. Contract law can be tricky, but knowing that this problem exists may help you prepare for it.