Professional Storyteller

Share a Story - Change the World

Well, I'm curious what you've experienced. I would have to say that one of the areas I was weakest on was a contract, especially when I began. Does anyone have a great contract they use (that you'd be willing to share with all) that guarantees you are treated like you are supposed to, paid on time or in a timely manner that you can live with, seating arrangements, etc? Over the years I've dealt with all kinds of cockamamie things in all these areas (and more..sigh).
So...thoughts, sharings?

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Replies to This Discussion

Stuart: I am so glad you started this discussion! I too have problems when it comes to contracts. I would like to formulate some sort of standard form to use - perhaps you and others can help! - Pam Holcomb
Stuart and Pam:

Attached is my contract and my assembly preparation sheet. My contract was written by an attorney and I give permission to storytellers to adapt it for their own use. It is included in the Story Biz Handbook.


Thank you so much for the very valuable information. I will use it. I'm sure this will save many head-aches in the future!

Hi Stuart

For many years I've worked as a professional musician and storytelling was something that grew out of my music festival and concert work. I've used the standard musician's union contract for the storytelling as well, and can get the union to enforce it if needed. I've also walked many of my fellow musicians through the small claims court process. We get a lot of advice from the State Labor attorney for such things. I also work in the union office as the business agent, and many of the gig problems for musicians are the same as for storytellers. The one we are provided with is what is called a basic boiler plate contract. Basic stuff and places to write things in such as when pay is due or covered area, breaks, etc.

Using the contracts also helps our company (an L.L.C.) make pension contributions on my wife and our band members, both for music and storytelling. I usually allot 10% of each persons pay. It allows us to have a retirement like people that work in other fields, it also motivates me to always use a contract.

I could attach a copy with the union logos and references taken off.

I've also had to deal with all kinds of crazy schemes and set ups, I like to think I'm pretty moxy, but I can still get fooled on a rare occasion. I've gotten to the point where I don't even take the gig seriously unless the contract has been signed. A festival that has a contract of their own is usually fine too, since it implies good intent and a willingness to agree. I like them just to clear up communiciation problems and what has been aggreed upon is not up to both parties sometimes faulty memories.

Dave Sharp
Glastonbury duo
Thanks Diane and Dave:
I never dealt with a union, so I was pretty much mucho naive in the beginning, and got burnt a couple of times.

I'm glad you shared the contract with us Diane. I'll look at it soon. Thanks
Hello Stuart, I'm Gwendolyn. I have used several contracts over the course of ten years. Some drawn up by attorneys. Two pagers and one pagers, etc. And still as you say...I deal with cockamamie things....I will share mine. So far this year, no cockamamie things occured.

It is not on a template. I will upload a recent contract that I sent out.

Hope this works for you.

Gwendolyn Quezaire-Presutti
Hi Gwen...
thanks. I hope everyone realizes this is much more then for me. I know if anyone is starting out they need this help. I had to make it all up as I went along.

But...that being said...
I appreciate the sharing being done here. That's what's cool about storytellers.

Hi Stuart and all,
There are a couple of issues that have not been raised and that are included on every contract we send out:
1. No flash photography during the performance without prior permission--We don't have an issue with having our picture taken, just having one taken by someone who doesn't know what they are doing and interrupts the program to get their shot. (And newspaper photographers can sometimes be the worst offenders.) So we want to talk to the photographer beforehand to be sure there are no surprises.
2. No videotaping of programs. We have shown up to gigs to find people setting up video cameras for the intent of taping and then re-showing the video for other classes so they don't have to hire us again. We do make exceptions but they had better be discussed beforehand. And we don't have an issue with someone doing a brief recording off their cell phone.
3. For children's programs, we have in our contract that there will be at least one adult representative of the facility for every 25 children at all times. And we have experienced teachers deciding to take their break and getting up and leaving the classroom while we were telling--so we followed right behind. We consider this is a vital part of our contract.
--Peggy Helmick-Richardson
<...teachers...leaving the classroom while we were telling---so we followed right behind.>
Good for you!




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