Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Purchase Orders

In my mind a purchase order is more than an invoice receipt for the agency or client, it also acts as a contract between the artists/vendors and agency/client. The more descriptive a purchase order is, the better it is to protect all the parties involved on the agreed upon licensing and information accompanying it. Some clients or agencies might keep their purchase orders for internal billing only, in that case always make sure there is an agreement in writing, whether it is an email or on the artist invoice.

Here's what I usually include:
- Phone and fax number for artist and rep
- Team working on the project (Art Buyer, Art Director, Project Manager or Account Manager)
- Date of shoot and date of film/digital file due to agency
- Advance paid amount and date paid
- Usage parameters, if the usage is a limited usage and not unlimited I always like to include the date of first use and whether it is non-exclusive or exclusive.
- Shoot description, an outline of all the situations to be photographed and the number of shots expected as well as for final usage
- Outline a mini-schedule with travel, prep, shoot, and wrap dates
- Who is paying for talent/models if there are any
- A rights for self-promotion line for the agency and client
- Include all receipts when invoicing for backup of invoice. This also provides a paper trail of expenses for agency and client as well as proof for auditing purposes.
- Expenses not to exceed "X" amount without written authorization in advance (I find this helps keep track of any overages that occur on set and get client sign-off so there are no surprises.)

- When purchasing stock, whether from a stock house or a photographer, I include the image number, what the image description is, size, licensed usage and cost per image (not just the lump sum).

The other benefit of having paperwork that is this descriptive is that it allows as back-up for someone that may have to work off this at a later date (especially if the main person is not around) and it makes reference for re-use easy because you have all the original information available.
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