Freelancers in film and TV often make bookings over the phone or via the internet. To protect yourself from potential problems, it is highly advisable to put all verbal, email and telephone bookings into writing, noting the payment and all other terms agreed. A copy is then sent to the employer.
The first rule of freelancing – get it in writing!
Why Get a Booking in Writing?
An unscrupulous employer will happily take advantage of a verbal agreement, as any dispute with the terms or payment originally discussed can be hard to prove.
BECTU (the UK union for entertainment workers) has written a confirmation of booking letter that can be adapted for individual bookings for all freelancers and grades. The letter can be found below. The areas in (parenthesis) are for you to delete/amend as relevant to your booking. There is also a section for any kit you supply.
Send the letter by a means that shows it was sent and received. For example, use a signed-for delivery service, or send via fax and keep the delivered receipt, email delivered confirmation, and so on. You can also ask for confirmation from the recipient and to establish that everything in the letter is accepted.
Put all bookings in writing – protect yourself!
Confirmation of Booking Letter
Employer’s name and address
Date: (add date)
Dear (insert employer’s name),
Re: (insert name of production)
I am writing to confirm our (verbal/telephone etc.) booking for this production.
We have agreed that you will engage me in the capacity of (insert job title/grade) at a (daily/weekly) rate of (insert £ sum). This rate is good for a (insert number) hour (day/week).
For clarity, this rate (does not/does not include) consolidated holiday pay.
(If it is a fixed-term engagement):-
We have agreed that the start date for this engagement will be (insert date) and the finish date will be (insert date) and that this is therefore a fixed term engagement.
(If it is a weekly engagement):-
We have agreed that the start date for this engagement will be (insert date). I confirm that termination of this agreement is subject to one week’s notice on either side.
(If it is a daily engagement):-
We have agreed that the date for this engagement will be (insert date). Please let me know if you wish to offer further days of work after this date.
(If you are supplying kit/equipment/consumables):-
I have agreed to supply the following: (describe kit/ equipment/ consumables). The fee for supplying this will be (insert £ sum) per (day/week), which is additional to my personal rate given above and is (inclusive/exclusive) of VAT.
I look forward to working with you.
Yours (faithfully, sincerely, etc.)
(Sign your letter)