Talent Release Form

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Upd. 1, Dec, 2022
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A talent release form, known as an actors contract template, is a legally binding agreement between a video or photography content creator and a talented person. The contract enables a producer to use the talent’s image, likeness, voice, name, performance, or any other specified feature for a show, content, commercial, or picture. The release form protects an artist and a producer from confusion and legal disputes that may arise during cooperation. Edit this template on Lawrina and download it for immediate use.

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Template Description

When making a film you intend to distribute for public consumption, get into a contract with the featured individuals using a talent release form template. The agreement establishes a contractual relationship between you and the talent and gives you the legal right to distribute a motion picture with an actor's name or appearance.

What Are Talent Release Forms?

A talent release form, also known as an actors contract template, is a legally binding agreement between a video or photography content creator and a talent. The contract permits a producer to use the talent’s image, likeness, voice, name, performance, or any other specified feature for your show, content, commercial, or picture. 

From the definition, the word talent refers to a professional or non-professional individual hired to appear in a film, including:

  • Background actors
  • Voiceover artists
  • Main characters
  • Child actors 
  • Models

Further, the term “image” refers to the physical appearance of the talent captured in the performance. The word “likeness”, on the other hand, refers to the intangible features of the actor, such as voice, performance, and personality. 

The release form protects you in the following ways:

  • Guarantees that the talent is not putting you in conflict with another project they are working on;
  • It gives you the exclusive right to distribute and commercialize the content you are producing;
  • It gives you the right to use the actor's performance without violating their rights; and
  • Protects you from lawsuits for using the talent's voice, image, and likeness in marketing materials. 

The form protects the artist in the following ways: 

  • It safeguards the artist's interest by guaranteeing compensation for their talent;
  • The permissible use clause gives the artist some degree of control over how the producers will use the material; and
  • It helps the artist avoid disputes between themselves and the producers;

There are six basic types of talent release form templates as follows: 

  1. A talent release form for minors template – Also known as a minor appearance release, it is signed by a parent or guardian of a minor, giving a film producer or content creator permission to feature a child in the production. 
  2. Photography release form – Use mainly in the photography industry, which models sign to permit the use and distribution of the image and likeness in a photograph. 
  3. Location release form – A property owner signs it permitting the filming or photography of a location for distribution.
  4. Talent release form for video – Provides permission to use a talent's voice, likeness, and performance in video production. 
  5. Pet release form – Signed by a pet owner, the agreement permits an individual or production company to take photographs or videos of a dog, cat, or any other domestic animal. 

Every person has a right to privacy, which includes the right to:

  • Not have their private affairs made public without a legitimate public concern;
  • Unlawful appropriation of their personality; or
  • Unnecessary publicity. 

Therefore, you expose yourself to a civil rights lawsuit if you film a person without their consent. A talent release form for video provides sufficient legal cover if your project also involves taking photographs of people. However, you need a separate release document if you are featuring someone’s property or a pet in your project. 

When To Use A Talent Release Form?

Any time you work with a talent for a film or photograph you intend to distribute for commercial gain, create production release forms. Such publications may include those used in traditional media, online, presentations, press, music videos, newspapers, documentaries, courses, commercials, or physical products such as DVDs. 

A talent contract template pdf enables you to protect yourself from situations where the talent changes their mind about participating in your film or claiming commercial interest since you used their talent. Further, the form insulates you from violation of privacy lawsuits. 

What To Include in a Talent Release Form Template?

Comprehensive film talent release forms outline the talent's consent to participate in your film production for commercial gain. Their commercial interest in your output ends when you pay them for their work. Once a talent signs a film release forms templates, you get control over your work to use it according to present or future opportunities. 

So what do you include in the template? 

  • Names of the Parties – Write the names and contact information of the parties in the contract. The parties are usually the talent and the production company or individual. Besides capturing the actor's name, the agreement should also allow you to use the actor's name in association with your project. 

The talent may be open to you using their names in the opening and closing credits, but you need explicit permission to use them in promotional materials. The reason is that they may require additional financial incentives for the extra leverage on their name, and their interests must be well covered in the form. 

  • Performance – Performance refers to anything the audience will see, hear or experience due to the unique ways the actor will portray their role. Provide specific details of the expected talent's performance in the contract.
  • Voice, image, and likeness – In addition to the talent's performance in the production, you will need permission to use their voice, image, and likeness in press kits, bonus features, promotional stills, or official posters of the production.
  • Compensation – State that you will not use the talent’s performance unless you pay them for their work. Have a separate agreement that outlines the terms of engagement which includes payment. 
  • Permissions – If the work is an audio-visual production, ensure that the agreement permits you to use the actor's image and likeness. Suppose the talent’s performance entails speaking, secure the permission to utilize the actor’s voice. 
  • Ownership of the intellectual property – Establish the owner of the intellectual property. State that your business will own the rights to the film or production that makes the subject of the agreement.
  • Permissible use – Describe how you will use the film in the present or near future. For example, if you intend to use the project output online first, but it is possible to have it featured on national television, reflect these possibilities in the agreement. Keep the clause broad, so you are open to how you could draw value from the work. 
  • Release of Liability – Have the talent acknowledge that they have released you, or your company and its successors, from any liability arising from using the production that makes the subject of the agreement. 

The form should reflect more than just the actor's involvement in the principal work. It should also include the use of their features in other incidental efforts, such as marketing, that contribute to the success of the main project. 

How To Write a Talent Release Agreement: Easy Steps

Step 1 - Make and download a standard form.

First, obtain an individual's permission to use their voice, image, or likeness in your work. Get the necessary information from the talent, such as their legal names and contact information. Next, find an appropriate talent release form. 

Though these are usually simple one-page documents, confirming that the document has all the essential clauses that protect you and your business from lawsuits is critical. To write release forms for filming, download a blank talent release form, available for sale at the Lawina website, and use it as is according to your need. 

Step 2 - Fill in the variable details

Once you purchase a printable talent release form, fill out the variable details such as the names of the parties, contact information and the production details. 

Step 3 - Print out the forms

Print out the talent release agreements and distribute them to each casting team member. You can also print out blank documents with general terms for extras or background actors.

Step 4 - Review and sign

After you’ve completed the variable details, review the form to ensure no errors, such as typos and all blanks, are finalized. Once you confirm the accuracy of the information in the agreement, you and the counterparty should sign and date the form.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How to use talent release forms?

If you are a content creator of any sort, from a photographer, video content creator, or filmmaker, working with talent, then you need a talent release form. It’s advisable to have the papers signed, alongside the main engagement contract, before the production begins.

When to fill out an actor release form?

You and the actors should fill out and sign an actor release form sample before the start of production. You want to start working on the same page with your actors, establish clear expectations and resolve legal issues before your cooperation.

What happens if you don’t have a signed talent release form?

Without a signed talent release form, you cannot use or distribute a talent's likeness, performance, voice, or name in your production. Any action taken to publicize the film exposes you to lawsuits and liabilities. Further, without an actor release form template, an actor can demand you remove them from your film anytime during or after the production. The talent can also claim copyright ownership.

Should they get a role that conflicts with the work they did with you, they may demand that you pay them liabilities for the lost opportunity or insist that you remove their performance from your production.