Advice and How-To's Especially for ACTORS!

Welcome- I am so glad you're here! Bite-Size Business is a program created to help actors navigate the business in a way that is fun, empowering and educational.

Use the "Blog Topics" on the left to find hundreds of articles covering all areas of acting, or browse the archives for a title that sounds groovy. Feel free to leave a comment- and be sure to check each post to see if a comment was left.

And if you enjoy this blog...

• Subscribe (<--- look to the left!) so you can be updated when future articles are posted.
• You can also share this article by clicking on an icon below. Cheers!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Buyouts in Commercial Contracts

* Bookmark and Share

I saw this question posted on a popular forum for actors, and I responded. Here is what transpired:

"I'm posting this question for a friend of mine who is currently without an agent/manager. He has a callback for cable promo. The casting director listed this job as a "BUYOUT" and the promo will be broadcast for cable and internet usage. When you work on something like this, what types of conflicts will you have? Does that mean you can't work on any other movie-promos INDEFINITELY? Or is it usually for a few years? The CD said "buyout", but did not say "in perpetuity". So my friend was just worried about what doing this type of TLC promo might exclude him from in the future."

Hello! As far as I know, the term "buyout" only refers to payment/salary. It simply means that your friend will get paid one time (for the session) and no other payments or residuals will be due, no matter how long the promo runs.

As far as conflicts, the contract should have some sort of language about exclusivity, if that is something they require. if it is required, they will stipulate how long the contract binds the actor exclusively. If it doesn't mention exclusivity, have him ask this question when he signs the contract. Often on non-union promos there is no exclusivity so your friend would have the right to whatever other promos he likes. Just make sure he looks closely at the contract so he know what his rights are.

Hope this helps- and please pass along my congratulations to your friend!

Erin Cronican's career as a professional actor and career coach has spanned the last 25 years in New York City, Los Angeles and San Diego. She has appeared in major feature films and on television, and has done national tours of plays and musicals. She has worked in the advertising & marketing departments of major corporations, film production companies, theater magazines, and non-profit acting organizations. To learn more, check out

4 COMMENTS - Click to READ:

Laura said...

As always thanks for the great info


Allen said...

I chanced upon to view your blog and found it very interesting as well as very informative, i was need such type information, which you have submitted. I really thankful to you, this posting help a huge number of people. Great ... Keep it up!

Anonymous said...

Here's my understanding from the Producer side of things (yes, I'm one of them!). You are correct that "buyout" means the talent will get paid once for their work, no matter how many times it gets played or how many outlets show the spot. Not sure what it's like in NYC, but here on the left coast, if I'm looking for a buyout from an actor, I generally expect to pay at least twice their normal day-rate for the rights.

And I never ask union talent for buyouts. Well... almost never... :-)

If I want exclusivity within a category (for instance, automotive), I will state that explicitly, and I will expect to pay for it. However, I can count on one finger the number of times I've had a client ask for exclusivity with talent. Probably more common on large (I mean LARGE) national accounts, but if you're in that position, you have an agent working on your side.

And, as always, Erin's recommendation to RTF Contract is dead on. If something isn't clear, ask!

Erin Cronican said...

Yep- it's the same out here too. It is rare for union actors to accept a buyout- there is almost always a residual structure involved as determined by the union, as well as the agent (as you mentioned.)

Sidebar: I wanted to mention that Brent and his company, Groovy Like A Movie, are proof that there are producers out there striving to treat their employees and contractors well. After such a contentous couple of years in our industry, it is important to remember the good folks who grease the wheels to make this work possible. Of course, it is important to have both party's interests represented fully while in negotiations, but I think that many producers and actors respect one another's work and importance in the industry.

So... thanks to Brent (as always) for his insights and recommendations!

Post a Comment

Thanks for leaving your thoughts- I will respond as soon as possible! (Be sure to click the "Subscribe by Email" link to be notified about my response as well as others'...)


This content is offered under a Creative Commons by-NC-ND License.That means you're free to share it, republish it, refer to it, include it in your wedding vows, whatever... - PROVIDED you:

a) you don't change anything.
b) you don't use it to make money.
c) credit me (with my blog's name, and a link back to my site.)
d) it's not required, but it would be awesome if you'd email me to let me know you're using it, and then I can help promote your post!

If you are copying an article in its entirely, you MUST include the following acknowledgment at the top of the post: "This blog was pulled, in its entirety, from Bite-Size Business for Actors, a blog published by The Actors' Enterprise. To learn more, visit"

To view the license, click here. To learn more about Creative Commons, click here.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-
No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License

Follow Bite-Size Business for Actors
Directory for New York, NY
Blog Directory
Blog Directory
Blog Directory & Business Pages -