Clip These Clauses In my last column, I suggested ways to handle clauses found inthat could come back to haunt you. This time, I'd like you to consider some clauses that you can add to a to help protect your best interests.
Depending on the complexity of the contract and event, as well as the amount of money being spent, we may add anywhere from a few clauses to a few pages to the agreement. The clauses below have been simplified: You may wish to modify them to better suit your needs.
Clause: Artist shall be responsible for all incidental hotel expenses incurred by Artist and/or members of Artist's entourage; Purchaser shall be responsible only for room and related tax charges. Artist and/or members of Artist's entourage shall not authorize any expense not specifically provided for in this contract without Purchaser's approval.
Benefit: This clause helps clarify which expenses you will pay for and which you will not. Items often arise that are not clear-cut such as freight, additional production costs, runners, catering, limo for the run of the engagement, and myriad other items.
While people are generally forthright about such matters, an individual sometimes surfaces who, intentionally or not, attaches a charge to his or her portfolio which is not appropriate. Believe it or not, we once had an entertainer who attempted to charge a day-care fee to the client. You have a responsibility to take care of entertainers' production requirements--not their kids. These items are rarely contested but it's nice to know you have it in writing, particularly when dealing with a large entourage.
Clause: Guests of Artist and/or members of Artist's entourage may be allowed into the performance only with Purchaser's prior approval.
Benefit: At one time or another, you've likely been unable to accommodate guests based on space or other circumstances. Corporate dates, known as "privates" among entertainers and agents, should be just that--private--unless you wish to allow otherwise. Putting it in writing makes that clear to the other party.
Clause: Access to the room, setup time, rehearsals, power supply, and/or certain other elements of production may be restricted based on venue obstructions beyond Purchaser's control. A decibel level of 94 or lower shall be set and shall apply to all performances.
Benefit: This is a catch-all for limitations beyond your control. You do need to be realistic and reasonable about turnaround times and space availability; however, this clause protects you when you cannot accommodate certain things sought by the entertainer that are "unreasonable." Access to the ballroom, scheduling conflicts, and physical limitations of the space are common items that frequently tie a meeting planner's hands. This clause also alerts the other party that sound levels are important to you and should be adhered to.
Clause: Artist agrees to avoid any questionable material such as lyrics, dialogue, costuming/attire, etc., that may not be in good taste from per-formance. No audience members shall be brought on stage and Artist shall not go into audience without Purchaser's prior knowledge and approval.
Benefit: You can't legislate good taste but you can draw the entertainer's attention to your concern that no one be insulted or put off. We also include a clause that goes even further, precluding the act from slander and/or defamation. In any case, you'll typically purchase an entertainer or group who will perform consistent with their reputation; as always, it's your job to know ahead of time what will be acceptable to your attendees and, of course, to management.
In addition, I like to know ahead of time whether the entertainer or speaker intends to go into the audience, and more important, if he or she wishes to bring anyone on stage. I want to avoid embarrassing audience members; be prepared for production cues such as lighting the house and avoiding audio feedback; and in the case of musical groups, be sure that the stage can support an enthusiastic group of dancers should your guests be invited on stage.
In any contract, your inclusion of specific items and issues alerts the other party to your concerns and sends a message about your expectations and commitment to a high-quality presentation.