Equity Short Film Agreement

Equity Short Film Agreement – A Comprehensive Guide

The entertainment industry is vast and comprises numerous elements, including movies, TV shows, documentaries, and short films. Short films, in particular, are a popular avenue for up-and-coming filmmakers to showcase their talent, hone their skills, and establish a name for themselves in the industry. However, making a short film requires significant investment, time, and effort, which is why filmmakers must ensure that their work is protected and that they receive compensation for their efforts. This is where an Equity Short Film Agreement (ESFA) comes into play.

What is an Equity Short Film Agreement?

An Equity Short Film Agreement is a legal contract between a filmmaker, represented by Equity (the UK actors’ union), and actors who participate in the film. The agreement outlines the terms and conditions related to the actors` involvement in the project, including fees, working conditions, and rights. This agreement ensures that all parties are aware of their responsibilities and obligations towards the project and establishes a fair and equitable working relationship.

Key Components of an ESFA

An ESFA features several elements that govern the actor`s participation in the film, including:

1. Roles and Responsibilities

The agreement outlines the actors` roles and responsibilities and specifies the amount of time and effort they must contribute to the project. It also includes information on rehearsal schedules, filming dates, and post-production activities.

2. Payment and Benefits

The ESFA describes the actors` payment structure, including their hourly rates, overtime pay, and other benefits. It also outlines the payment schedule and the conditions under which payment will be made, such as payment upon completion or payment over time.

3. Intellectual Property Rights

The agreement specifies the ownership of the project`s intellectual property, including copyright and trademarks. This section outlines who owns the rights to the film and its distribution and marketing, ensuring that the filmmaker retains full control over their work.

4. Health and Safety

The ESFA includes provisions to ensure the actors` safety and well-being during filming. This section outlines the safety protocols and measures that must be put in place to protect the actors.

5. Termination and Dispute Resolution

The ESFA outlines the conditions under which the contract can be terminated and the process for resolving any disputes that may arise. This section ensures that all parties have a clear understanding of their rights and obligations in case of any unexpected circumstances.

Benefits of an ESFA

An Equity Short Film Agreement has several benefits for both filmmakers and actors, including:

1. Clarity and Transparency

The ESFA ensures that all parties involved have a clear understanding of their roles, responsibilities, and obligations towards the project. This clarity and transparency reduce conflicts and disputes, improving the working relationship between the filmmaker and actors.

2. Protection of Rights

The agreement protects the filmmaker`s intellectual property rights, ensuring that they retain full control over their work. It also protects the actors` rights, ensuring that they receive fair compensation for their efforts.

3. Professionalism

An ESFA establishes a professional relationship between the filmmaker and actors, promoting a positive and respectful working environment. This professionalism can be an invaluable asset to both parties, as it can lead to future collaborations and opportunities.


An Equity Short Film Agreement is a comprehensive legal contract that outlines the terms and conditions related to the actors` participation in a short film. This agreement is essential for filmmakers and actors, as it establishes a fair and equitable working relationship and protects their rights and interests. If you are planning to make a short film, it is highly recommended that you consult with Equity and consider drafting an ESFA to ensure the success of your project.