Actor Contract Template

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If you’re an actor or producer, you’ll know just how important it is to have a contract when you take on a job. More than just a document that lays out the agreement between an actor and employer for their services, it’s legally binding, which means that there will be legal repercussions if terms are broken.

But how do you write one, and what exactly needs to go into your actor agreement contract?

In this article we’ll dive into the details of what you need to know, including:

  • What makes up an actor contract
  • What a standard actor contract is
  • What different kinds of contracts you’ll find for actors
  • Eight things to include in your actor contract
  • An example of an actor contract template
  • Tips for writing an acting contract
  • Why you should use Bonsai to write your actor contract
  • How to use Bonsai to create your actor contract
  • Legal jargon you should be aware of
  • Frequently asked questions.

Let’s dive in!

What Is in an Actor Contract?

An actor contract should include the following:

1. Actor’s Services

This section outlines the expectations and responsibilities of the actor. The aim is to make sure both parties are in agreement on what is expected during the project.

This may include the description of the role, as well as any other duties that the actor is expected to fulfill.

2. Payment

Details of pay conditions and rates, such as whether the actor is being paid a flat rate, hourly rate, or a per-performance rate. It can also include methods of payment and expected payment timeframes.

3. Term

Lays out the start and end dates of the actor’s contract.

4. Role Credit

Description of how the actor will be credited in the completed production. This will vary based on the nature of the role — for example, a commercial is credited very differently to a feature film.

5. Expenses, Transportation & Accommodation

This section of the contract ensures the actor is fairly compensated with any expenses or travel costs that the role requires.

6. Publicity & Promotion

A clear outline of promotional obligations the actor has, including interviews, media appearances, and other promotional events.

7. Representations & Warranties

This can include an agreement around the actor’s other commitments, such as confirming the actor has no other contracts that would impact their role in the production.

8. Nudity

If it applies to the production, this section should clearly outline the boundaries and expectations for any nude scenes, making sure the actor is aware of the requirements of the role before accepting.

9. Name & Likeness

This section outlines the rights the producer has to the actor’s image for promotional purposes relating to the production.

10. Producer Owns Production

The actor will need to acknowledge that the producer or production company has ownership over the final product, which may include the actor’s performance.

11. Termination

A clear description of the grounds for terminating the contract — both in the event of a breach or at the end of the project.

This section should lay out the consequences of early termination for both parties.

12. Other Terms & Conditions

This is the place for any other requirements that may be specific to the project, such as insurance requirements or particular on-set behavior expectations.

What Is a Standard Actor Contract?

A standard actor contract is a binding agreement between an actor and their employer. It aims to outline the employment terms of the job and can be used for commercial production, film, television, and stage performances.

What’s the Difference Between an Actor Contact and a Release Form?

While both of these are legal documents, they serve different purposes:

  • Actor Contract

The purpose is to cover the relationship between the actor and the employer and covers elements of the job, including working conditions, payment, and length of the job.

  • Release Form

A release form is specifically for the actor to relinquish rights over their performance. It gives the employer permission to use their performance in whatever way is stipulated in the form.

What Are the Different Kinds of Contracts for Actors?

  • Talent Agreement

Outlines the terms for an actor’s performance and the use of the actor’s image.

  • Employment Contract

An agreement specifying the terms of employment between an actor and the employer (usually a production company).

  • Independent Contractor Agreement

In some circumstances, actors may be classified as independent contractors rather than employees. This agreement details the obligations of the contractor and the payment terms.

  • Work-for-Hire Agreement

Under this type of agreement, the actor’s performance is owned by the hiring party, meaning the actor is paid only for their performance and has no rights to residuals.

  • Exclusive Actor Agreement

An agreement that commits the actor to work exclusively for a specific employer or on a specific project for a set period.

  • Non-Exclusive Actor Agreement

Lets an actor take on other projects for other employers simultaneously.

  • Option Agreement

A contract that gives the employer exclusive rights to the actor’s performance for a set period.

  • Per Episode/Project Agreement

An agreement that has a defined payment for individual episodes or individual projects.

  • Royalty Agreement

A contract that defines the percentage of profits or revenue an actor will receive from a project.

  • Merchandising Agreement

An agreement on the terms for using the actor’s images for promotional merchandise, such as dolls or posters.

  • Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA)

A contract that requires the actor to keep certain information confidential.

  • Non-Compete Agreement

A clause that prohibits the actor from engaging in projects that may cause conflicts with their contract obligations.

  • Image Release Form

Allows use of the actor’s image for promotional purposes.

  • Likeness Release Form

Allows use of the actor’s likeness for promotional purposes. The likeness may include appearance, voice, mannerisms, and image.

  • Voice Release Form

Allows use of the actor’s voice for purposes including promotion, animation, and voiceovers.

What Should Be Included in a Standard Actor Contract?‍

Detailed Descriptions of the Work

This section should include details of the role and responsibilities of the actor, including expectations of the performance.

Hours and Timeline of the Project

This should outline the expected start and end date of the project, as well as the total hours the actor will be expected to work. There may also be restrictions in place, ie, if the actor is underage and can legally only work a certain number of hours per day.

Payment Details

This section should provide clarity on how the actor will be paid, as well as how much. The actor may be paid hourly, a flat fee, or per performance or episode.


This section needs to include how the actor will be compensated for any expenses relating to the job. This may include travel, accommodation, and food budgets.

It should describe whether the actor will receive payment for these costs ahead of time, or whether they’ll be reimbursed.

Merchandising Agreement

The contract should include details on how the actor’s image, voice, or likeness will be used for merchandising, and how they will be compensated for this.


This area of the contract lays out whether or not the actor can take on other work during the duration of the project.

Termination of Contract

This section should outline under which conditions the contract can be ended by either party and what the consequences will be.

Other factors

This is for anything that doesn’t fit under the other sections. It can include details on insurance or clarification on intellectual property rights.

Actor Contract Example Template‍

Feeling a little intimidated by what you need to put together your actor contract? Luckily Bonsai can help with that!

Our free actor customizable actor contract template takes the stress out of writing contracts, so all you’ll need to do is fill in your details and customize it, then send the completed contract to your recipients!

How Do You Write an Acting Contract?

When writing an acting contract, it’s essential to ensure you include all the information we’ve outlined above:

  • A detailed description of the work
  • The timeline of the project and hours of work
  • Payment terms (i.e., how much, how often, and in what form the actor will be paid)
  • Expense details
  • Merchandising and rights agreements
  • Exclusivity details
  • Termination details
  • Legal obligations
  • Other details.

If you’re writing it yourself from scratch, you’ll want to ensure that you have a lawyer look it over to ensure it’s all legal.

Remember, this is a legally binding document, so as much detail as possible should be included to cover every aspect.

What’s the Benefit of Using Bonsai, Instead of Editing a Template Yourself?‍

As you can see, putting together an actor contract yourself takes time, money, and know-how.

However, with Bonsai, our actor contract templates were designed by professionals and our in-house legal team.

That means that not only can you be confident that they’re compliant, but you also won’t have to spend money and time hiring an outside lawyer to check over your contracts for you.

you can be confident that they’re compliant and

We’ve designed our contract templates to be easy to use, aesthetically pleasing, and fully customizable. Need to add your own logo or brand colors? With Bonsai it’s easy to do, and all at the click of a button!

How to Create an Actor Contract with Bonsai‍

Creating an actor contract with Bonsai is easy and just takes three simple steps.

  1. Sign up for free
  1. Download the free actor contract template
  1. Edit as necessary and send to your recipient.

Have several contracts you need to send? Now you can easily save your actor contract template and edit the details as needed to get it out to as many different recipients as you need!

With all that in mind, why not sign up to Bonsai for free today and let us take care of all your actor contract needs?

Legal Jargon You Should Know

  • Compensation and payment terms

How much, when, and how an actor will be paid.

  • Work-for-hire agreement

An agreement that specifies that the employer owns the rights to the actor’s work.

  • Performance obligations and expectations

The duties and expectations the actor is expected to meet in their performance.

  • Termination clauses

Conditions under which the contract can be terminated.

  • Non-disclosure agreement (NDA)

A legal agreement that keeps certain information confidential.

  • Intellectual property rights and usage

Defines who owns the rights to the content that is created and how it can be used.

  • Indemnification and liability

Protects either the actor or the employer from legal repercussions due to the actions of the other party.

  • Force majeure clause

A clause that outlines unexpected events that prevent the contract from being fulfilled, such as deaths or natural disasters.

  • Governing law and jurisdiction

Outlines the laws in the filming or acting location that will affect the contract.

  • Confidentiality provisions

Obliges the actor to keep certain information within the contract confidential.

  • Option and exclusivity clauses

A clause that outlines whether actors can work on other projects during the contract timeframe.

  • Royalties and residuals

Ongoing payments based on the success of the project.

  • Arbitration or dispute resolution

Methods to be used if there is a disagreement between the parties regarding the contract.

  • Representation and warranties

The promises you’re making in the contract.

Frequently Asked Questions
Questions about this template.

Do actors get contracts?

An actor is typically required to sign a contract with their employer when they are hired for an acting position. This could be referred to as an actor agreement or an actor contract. Ready for your next big role? Create your own freelance actor contract by registering with Bonsai today!

How long are acting contracts?

In the world of middle-class working actors, a one-year contract is usually considered the industry standard. Anything longer than a year is not normal, so feel free to question your agent about it. Make sure you create a contract that covers all this important information, using Bonsai's freelance actor contract.

Use Bonsai's freelancer actor contract to outline the work description, shooting schedules, payment terms, termination agreements, etc. The contract protects the interests of both parties—you and the production house. If one of you violates the contract terms, the other party may choose to sue, terminate the agreement, or receive compensation.

Use Bonsai's freelancer actor contract to outline the work description, shooting schedules, payment terms, termination agreements, etc. The contract protects the interests of both parties—you and the production house. If one of you violates the contract terms, the other party may choose to sue, terminate the agreement, or receive compensation.

How should I approach negotiating an acting contract?

When negotiating an acting contract, make sure you understand your rights and be clear about your terms. Consider seeking legal representation to ensure you get the best possible deal.

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Actor Contract Template

Actor Contract

First Name
Last Name
Acme LLC.
First Name
Last Name
Corporation Corp.

This contract (the "Agreement") provides details for the services provided by Acme LLC (the "Actor") for Client (the "Producer" and together with Actor, the "Parties"), dated as of [DATE] in the production of the project currently entitled "[PROJECT NAME]" (the "Project").

As a condition of the Producer hiring the Actor and other valuable considerations, the Parties to this Agreement agree as follows:

Project Title: [PROJECT NAME]

Actor Role: [ROLE NAME]

Actor Contact Email: [EMAIL ADDRESS]

1. Actor's Services

The Producer is hiring the Actor to provide the following services for the Project:

The Actor will be responsible for performing their Role in the Project, as well as attend any connected rehearsals and costume fittings. The Actor shall render services customarily rendered by actors in motion picture and television projects and promptly comply with Producer's reasonable instructions. Photography shall be exclusive and rendered consecutively until the completion of the Project. After the completion of principal photography, the Actor will be available for customary post-production services, subject to his then existing prior professional commitments.


2. Payment

The Producer will pay the Actor at a rate of [PAYMENT RATE] per hour.

The Producer agrees to pay the amount owed within 14 days of receiving the invoice, otherwise the Actor will not be expected to continue to provide services for the Project. Payment after that date will incur a late fee of [LATE FEE PERCENT]% per month on the outstanding amount.

3. Term

The term of employment hereunder shall begin on or about [START DATE] and continue until the completion of the photography and completion of said Role in Project. Principal photography is currently contemplated to take place on [SHOOT DATE], but this may change at the option of the Producer.

The Actor agrees that in the event of retakes, changes, dubbing, extra audio dialogue work, transparencies, added scenes, further photography, trailers, process shots or other language versions, contemplated or not, the Actor will continue to render services in such scenes until the Project is completed, as determined by Producer.

4. Role Credit

Provided the Actor appear recognizably in the Project as released and further provided that Actor is not in breach of any provision of this Agreement, the Actor shall receive credit in substantially the following form unless otherwise agreed to by the Actor and Producer:

Company in the role of [ROLE NAME]

The Actor's credit will be in the end titles of the Project. Other aspects of Actor credit and all other credits shall be at the sole discretion of Producer. The Producer is under obligation to provide the Actor credit in paid advertising or publicity. Any casual or inadvertent failure of the Producer or its assignees or licensees to comply with the foregoing credit provisions shall not constitute a material breach of this Agreement and the Producer shall exert its reasonable best efforts to cure any failure upon receipt of written notice from the Actor.

5. Expenses, Transportation & Accommodation

The Actor will provide their own accommodation and pay for their own transportation for the production of the Project. Any expenses committing the Producer to pay any sum of money for any reason whatsoever in connection with the Actor's services in the Project must obtain written approval by the Producer first.

6. Publicity & Promotion

The Producer has the unlimited right to use the name, voice and likeness of the Actor to promote and advertise the Project. No product endorsement may be implied.

7. Representations & Warranties

The Actor represents and warrants that they are free to enter this Agreement and will not do or permit any act which will interfere with or detract from the full performance of the Actor's services or Producer's exercise of the rights herein granted.

8. Nudity

If the Project includes a scene including nudity, partial nudity or simulated sexual acts with the Actor, a separate legally binding contract shall be provided and signed by both Parties. In the absence of an additional contract providing consent by the Actor, the Actor is under no obligation to continue to provide services for the Project and may withdraw at any time.

9. Name & Likeness

The Actor grants the Producer and its assignees and licensees the perpetual, non-exclusive right and license to use and to permit others to use and reproduce the Actor's name, pseudonym, sobriquet, photograph, likeness, voice, caricature, biographical data, sound effects, imagery and performances rendered hereunder on and in connection with:

  1. All advertising and publicity relating to the Project, the general business activities of Producer and distributors and exhibitors of the Project, the character and role portrayed by Actor in the Project, all incidental services rendered by the Actor and all other services which the Actor may render pursuant to the provisions of this Agreement including, without limitation, in trailers and promotional films relating to the Project (including featurettes, "behind the scenes" and "making of" films), souvenir programs and booklets, press books, clothing, merchandise, posters and other advertising materials and accessories used in connection with the distribution, publicity and advertising of the Project;
  2. Commercial tie-ups and promotions and the manufacturing, distribution and sale of any product, commodity or service which is based upon, developed or created from any part of the Project, the Role or the screenplay thereof, or any other plot, character, incident, object or element contained in the Project or the screenplay; provided that the Actor shall not be portrayed, directly or indirectly, other than in character in the Project Role, as recommending, endorsing, or suing any such product, commodity or service without the Actor's written consent.

10. Producer Owns Production

The Actor hereby acknowledges that all of the results and proceeds of the Actor's services produced for the Project hereunder are owned by the Producer or Producer's assignee. The Producer shall have the right to use the Actor's name and likeness with respect to distribution and exploitation of the Project. The Producer may make such use of the Project and distribution of the Project as the Producer, in its sole discretion, shall deem appropriate.

The Actor hereby irrevocably grants, sells and assigns to the Producer, its successors and assigns, all of Actor's rights, title and interest of any kind and nature, in and to the Project, including, without limitation, all copyrights in connection therewith and all tangible and intangible properties with respect to the Project, in perpetuity, whether in existence now or as may come into existence in the future.

The Actor acknowledges that the Producer owns the copyright in and to the motion pictures and recordings that the Producer is creating for the Project and that the Actor has no interest therein.

11. Termination

This Agreement will continue in perpetuity unless otherwise specified in this Agreement or ended by either party with at least 30 days written notice. Termination of this Agreement or of the Actor's services rendered, for any reason whatsoever, shall not extinguish or limit any of the Producer's rights, interests or property in, or title to, the results and proceeds of the Actor's services.

12. Other Terms & Conditions

Any permits, licenses, approvals or other variances required by the Actor for the Project to provide services will be provided by the Producer.

The validity, interpretation, construction and performance of this document shall be governed by the laws of the United States of America.


First Name
Last Name
Acme LLC.
First Name
Last Name
Corporation Corp.