I know this has been dealt with before but I'm wondering if there have been any new developments. Production wants us to sign a "Box rental form". They understand it's "equipment" rental and not "Box" rental and all that, but the corporation still requires the form to be signed to process payment. The following line on the form is very worrisome. You explain all this to accounting and the UPM and they just shrug. If you wanna get paid you have to sign this.
How do you guys deal with this? Just sign and hope for the best?
"Employee/Loanout agrees that the equipment herein is rented to [company] for use under Employee/Loanout’s direction and control. Employee/Loanout is responsible for any damage to or loss of such equipment and hereby waives any claims against [company] for any loss or damage of any kind, unless caused by the sole negligence or willful misconduct of [company]. [company] shall have no obligation to indemnify Employee/Loanout against any losses or damages, or to provide any insurance coverage for the benefit of Employee/Loanout covering the equipment herein described."
While I haven't had this happen personally yet, I do have some experience with this kind of thing from working in a rental house. Sometimes production companies would bounce back a rental agreement and their lawyer would ask the rental house to change some of the jargon in the agreement before they were willing to sign it. Does the production company have a lawyer, or can you ask to speak with the person who wrote the document? Perhaps speaking directly with them will allow you to get the language you need for your gear to be covered. Personally, I wouldn't sign it unless I knew my gear would be covered by the company. Explain that you are no different than a rental house from an insurance standpoint; it is still rental gear being used on the production, regardless of whether it comes from an owner op or a rental house.
Also make sure you have both property and liability insurance from the production. The COI should list you as the certificate holder, and make sure you are listed as "loss payee" (with regard to property insurance) and as "additional insured" (with regard to liability insurance). If you're not, it can be viewed as a loophole that can lead to you not being paid in the event something happens. If you receive a COI and you're not listed, call the insurance agent (generally the contact info is listed on the COI) and ask them to amend it. Generally not a bad idea to call the insurance agent anyway to make sure the COI was not forged by the production company. Ask the agent the verify the limits, expiration dates, and confirm you are listed on the COI, of to simplify have them email you a COI directly.
Many of the studios have a different form for Steadicam, Sound Mixer, Construction which do offer liability for our equipment. Often the POC or UPM do not know about this form and will find it if pressed. Otherwise I cross out the offending language and initial it for obvious reasons.
Doc, it doesn't get bounced back to you when you "modify" their form like that? I tried that twice, with major studio TV beurocracies, and the form got returned to me saying they can't accept it. Did it work out for you?
The situation with this particular company, it's a major studio TV production, they provided an insurance cert no problem. The UPM says they'll of course cover any unfortunate incidents that may happen (luckily it hasn't happened). Yet they make you sign this box rental form as some weird technicality to process your rental payment. And without it they can't process the payment. I just sign the damn thing and hope for the best, but I sign it under protest and I don't see the logic in the whole thing.
It's only been bounced back one time. I almost always invoice for my gear through my Corporation rather than collect a weekly Box Rental. Perhaps this makes it easier? Had an issue with CBS where they would only pay via Box/payroll company.If pressed they will usually come up with the "special" box rental form I mentioned earlier.
Alec and Doc, Ive been billing all my gear through my LLC for the last 5 years, but companies like Fox, WB, Showtime and others still ask me to fill out the damn box rental/liability waiver form. I explain to them that its not a box rental, it's an equipment rental paid to my corp, but they still insist that I must sign the box form or they can't process the paperwork. This has happened multiple times to me. Again, luckily I've had no damage incidents (knock wood), but if there was some catastrophic loss, that box rental form technically, legally waives their liability, cuz I signed the damn thing. Whenever I have this conversation with the studio legal dept, they say "don't worry, we'll take care of damages, but still need the signed form". Maybe it's just some antiquated boilerplate form the bureaucracy hasn't bothered to update. Thanks for the info guys. I'll look into the special box forms. And if we all spread the word to actually read those box rental forms and cross out any offending items, it might inspire some future revisions. Beyond that, I guess we just have to consider this one of life's paradoxes and move on.
I had this issue with a WB show over the summer it took about 3 weeks into the show to get it resolved and a COI. Basically it all went to network legal - they dropped the box rental nonsense after I asked them if the techno was considered a "box rental," if not, treat me like the techno. It required a lot of pictures and a detailed inventory with prices. It's a real pain and production is not always aware of network policies and just want to get their papers signed. Keep up the fight