Contract work-composing/arranging

Hi all,

As I'm starting my composing/arranging career, I've been very lucky to land some gigs, however, as you all know, each school/program is so different in terms of their budget, payment plans, etc, etc.

Just curious, how do you guys finalize writing gigs? In other words, do you always have to have a contract?

I suppose if you're a big time composer you have a lot of leverage, therefore you can pretty much call the shots.

On the other hand, if you're just starting out like me, I don't have much leverage.

For example, one gig I was able to receive a 50% deposit before I started the writing, then received the last 50% when I finished. Another gig I just started writing the music and a 50% deposit will be coming in the middle of my writing process, then the last 50% after I'm done.

Any thoughts/input would be appreciated! Thanks.
Murray,

Thank you so much for this advice, it helps tremendously!

-Michael
In my experience, there are as many scenarios for this kind of thing as there are parties that transact them. The best advice I can give is to do your best to meet your deadlines with high quality work. Try to exceed expectations where possible, and be as forgiving as you can of people that don't behave as professionally as you do.

In terms of fee, that's your call. Bear in mind that undervaluing your work can create a perception that it isn't worth as much. But of course charging hefty fees out of the gate will automatically rule out a certain percentage of potential gigs.

I've learned some of these lessons the hard way, and am still learning. But I've definitely found that being flexible about payment, easy to work with, and valuing my time and efforts sufficiently have worked better for me than being rigid about details and under/over-valuing the work.

Hope this helps!
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