by Kimberly Fennell
Is your biz legit? As an artist (regardless of your specific field) it is easy to let the details of your business fall through the cracks. As your business grows what once appeared to be a minor detail can become a major barrier to your success.
As the saying goes, “the devil is in the details”. To take it a step further, the details are in the documents and forms. Getting your paperwork in order up front can save time, money, and your sanity in the long run. (You are in it for the long run, aren’t you?)
Take the time now to jot a list of the documents and forms you think you’ll need. (Don’t worry if you can’t think of everything – some documents you may not develop until the need for it arises. The point of this exercise is to take care of the basics.)
Contracts are a touchy subject, but are a necessary evil in business. What types of agreements will you need in the operation of your business? Begin to jot these down also while you’re working on your documents and forms.
Look for templates and samples that you can use as a foundation. Then, consult a business and/or entertainment attorney to help you customize the contracts to meet your needs. (It is definitely a worthwhile investment to make sure your bases are covered before an issue arises.)
Also, don’t forget existing forms that you may need to comply with federal, state and local laws. For example, if you work with independent contractors frequently you my want to pull a w-9 form from the IRS website and keep it handy.
Appropriate copyright forms from the Library of Congress website (http://www.copyright.gov/) may also be helpful to have so you can protect your intellectual property.
Need help? Our Essential Entertainment Documents and Forms Checklist is a great starting point.