Does anyone have access to a basic contract that works for an indipendent film production?
The contract would be between the person controlling the production of the movie, (they can be considered an individual, not a company) and the composer.
If a contract is prepared by the prod. co., it almost certainly will consider the score a "work for hire". If you (or your attorney) prepares it, you'll want the agreement to be a license (specific rights to use for a set term incl. media and territories). Your performing rights society (ASCAP, BMI, SESAC) could certainly provide you with license forms for the use of songs in a film (I know you can download them from BMI's website) & I would think that their dept that specializes in sync rights would have similar ones for an underscore. So if they are your PR Society, contact that dept. in the LA office (or see www.bmi.com). I assume ASCAP will have the same resources; they all have artists reps (and workshops, scholarships, etc. for film composers) -- so if you don't find what you need @ Lee's suggested site, try them. You might also give this a quick read: http://www.bmi.com/licensing/broadcaster/sync.asp
I'm one of the small guys who has always wanted to "put things in writing", but have either not had the finances to hire an attorney, or just didn't know where to begin (or who to trust). My guess is that some advice would say "you can't afford not to hire one"...which I can subscribe to as well. My workload is getting higher profile and I need some protection/guidance. Have you personally used any of these contracts or know someone who can testify to their quality?
Is it too much to expect that these are pro enough, or is it a heck of a deal for a guy like me? Many thanks for any suggestions!
Just a word of caution about the "one contract fits all" type of contracts - they don't necessarily fit all. Sure there is certainly a lot of boiler plate language in every contract, but certain circumstances, including negotiating various deal points, requires the attention of an attorney. Just be wary of what each of the provisions in the contract provide, and how they affect you, your music, and of course your bottom line.