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Writing a Personal Services Contract

  • What issues and items should be included in the contract?

Obviously, the contract is the primary and virtually one of the basic legal documents that regulate the work processes of writing and editing, as applied to the written material in question. Therefore, the contract must, in every case, include the following issues:

- a clear definition of the parties to the agreement (i.e. the Editor and the Client, respectively), and, immediately followed by it, a statement outlining the nature of the relationship between them: more specifically, the fact that these parties have decided on cooperation as to the Object (i.e. the written text under work);

-  details on the sense of the job that needs to be done. Specific details have to be given as to the contents of the film (as it concerns illegal immigrants on the territory of Texas, the level of the editor’s background knowledge on history, legislation and social problems has to be defined) and its duration. Any technical trivia that is relevant to the correct performance by the editor has to be provided as well;

-  as to the salary, the following issues have to be specified: the minimal period of time accountable for a chronological working unit, the amount of salary, possible additional hours and other working conditions. Also the issue of working place has to be determined (whether the employee will be entitled to work remotely or he has to be present at the workplace at all times);

-  hierarchy and accountability need to be outlined too. What amount of responsibility is allocated to the editor himself, what issues he has to coordinate and adjust with the boss or bosses (President and the Vice President, accordingly – in our case);

-  any additional services that might be needed from the editor within the framework of cooperation.

The sole purpose of the contract is to prevent any misinterpreting of the working conditions and any misunderstanding that might happen in the course of cooperation. In order to do so, we must ensure that the assumptions of both parties as to writing and editing issues coincide.

  • According to all of the aforementioned information, the sample short professional services contract that our company could use would look as follows:

Editorial Agreement

This is to certify that an agreement is being concluded as between the Editor (First Name and Last Name) and the Client (the Name of the Company), represented by (Names of the President and the Vice President). This document concerns the following film script (the Working Title of the Film).

Editorial Tasks. The Editor agrees to perform the following tasks: to process and edit work already written by his colleagues, as well as pieces that are still in work and are pending approval. If and when occasion occurs, the editor must be ready to write the original material and present it to the Client within a reasonable amount of time (specified in each particular case).

For the working process to proceed normally, project meetings need to be held at least twice a week (with certain time specified by the Client), which must be attended by the Editor at all times, including cases, when they take place after working hours.

The Editor also shall, as the case may be, to conduct interviews with the people significant for the writing and research process, and present the information acquired in concise and easily perceivable form.

The employment period encompasses three months, which equals to 60 full working days, each day being 7 hours long. The Editor shall be present at the Writers and Editorial Office within the working hours. The salary shall constitute 250$ per day.

The film relates to the issue of illegal immigrants in Texas; therefore, the Editor has to have a clear and full understanding of the problem and of its background in historical, economic, demographic and political terms. A respective interview shall be conducted with the potential Editor before being hired, in order to determine his level of understanding of the problem.

Tasks shall be given to the Editor directly from the Vice President or the President himself. In case of need the Editor can contact the Vice President for explanation and clarification at all times. This includes negotiating changes to the manuscript. The tasks of the Editor shall also include editing for grammar, punctuation, usage, spelling, and other stylistic devices relevant to the final text; including formatting, checking facts for consistency, and proofreading the final version of the product.

The Client is obliged to pay the whole sum of money that constitutes the Editor’s salary in full and due form and without delay. If the Editor terminates the agreement, the Editor will be paid by the Client for work done up to the date of termination. If the Client terminates the agreement, the Editor will be paid for the already performed work until termination is complete.

Hereunder assigned parties to the agreement give their approval for all the terms of the present document. 

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