By Geetha Ballal
My previous blog on management covered the primary aspects of a show and.. what I am about to write now is a lot more elaborate and absolute necessary things to do.
I am sure if you have made a check list as mentioned in my previous blog and put it to trail and test, you would by now be quite an expert in telling where are the glitches and which areas needs more ‘attention’.
I am referring to the legal obligations of being in the performance field. If you thought dance was a career that needn’t be bothered with government laws and requisites; think again!!
We’ll start with the basics first –
To avoid unnecessary trouble with officials, I recommend any dance entity to be registered – either as a trust, a company or firm or under proprietorship. This will automatically give you the legal license to ‘perform’ on any platform. This is also a very valid, important document to avail any government privileges, helps you get recognition at important forums both national and international and provide a general bracket of security for all your performances.
This will also ensure that your income will directly get accounted for taxes – the organisers will deduct a certain percentage as Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) which will account for your annual tax component. You may alternatively get more secure by applying for a service tax number and add this to your invoice.
In this world of copycats and mimicry, we are all prone to plagiarism. Your much coveted and cherished work can easily be the most aped work in town if you don’t safeguard it. My strong suggestion to at least claim parentage over your own choreographic works is to obtain copyrights. Copyright infringement is a punishable offense and people will think twice before lifting your precious choreography into their own.
The elements that can be copyrighted would be the choreography, the concept and the music. These will become part of your intellectual property (IP) that you can have absolute claim on.
Applications are available online or any good lawyer will be able to guide you in the right direction to obtain these.
Laws have become are more streamlined when it comes to using music tracks. Artistes and music labels have come forward to address issues faced on unauthorized usage of their music. If you are not using original composition for your performance, you must write to the artiste/music label on the track you intend to use (even if you are editing it for your convenience) and procure permission. Again, have a written confirmation, should any misunderstanding arise you can always refer back to this.
Though most of the event organisers have to procure licenses for all elements including your performance, it would be wise to remind them on the music and performing licences. Let them know in advance if you are using originally composed music tracks or an existing music track (given them the artiste and album name if using pre-recorded tracks).
Note: PPL – is a license to play any recorded music during a show. It is advisable to procure one for yourself if you use a lot of pre-recorded music for your dances. You will have to register with the PPL office at your city and obtain this to avoid any hindrance for your music during the show, just in the case the organisers have not procured the same.
We know by now that we need a written confirmation to book us for a performance. What makes this document legal is the letter be printed on the organisers’ letterhead and attested by the authorised signatory. This letter will act almost as a contract between the two parties to avoid any hassles in logistics later on. Details covered in previous blog.
It would be wise to have your requirements printed and signed too – as this is the most vulnerable portion susceptible to miscommunications. Get the entire list of things you will need from the organisers – right from the stage specs, to the green rooms, lights, sound, refreshment specifics, etc., on the document to make your process a smooth one. Always make a point to recheck all of the agreed points before the commencement of the show – preferably much before the tech-rehearsals as well.
Any company must have an invoice/voucher book – this is a good way to keep track of all the performances you have done for the year as well as be the ‘bible’ to account your proceeds (your auditor will be the most happiest person if you give him this book rightly maintained). Ensure the invoice is given to the organisers in prior to avoid any late payment of your hard-earned remuneration. My advice is once the confirmation is through send the invoice so you have your payment in place before the performance.
We often take it for granted that the event organisers will do ‘everything’ concerning your participation in ‘their’ event. I wish if only it were that simple!!
– Have a list of resources – persons/organisation who you know well and by their names, who will help you if you need anything in the last minute (hotel numbers, taxi numbers, costume/prop hirers for back-up, etc)
– Have a rough note sheet and tick the notes off as and when you finish tasks relating to the event.
– Assign one person (or a team if it is a large scale production) who will just do the organising while the rest of the team can give attention to dance. You can have the team members take turns on this as well –
– Credit/debit card – a must for the person in charge to carry – just in case of emergencies.
– Have a voucher/bill for everything that you pay for and send to the organisers for any reimbursement. (Make sure you have told about these expenses in prior to the organisers).
Well, I guess that’s it for now!
I hope this list helps you more with your organisation skills. It would be great to share your organising experiences or if you want to add on anything to enhance this.