What to Say When Clients Want to Film Your Presentation

A client recently asked me what to say when they are booked to speak and the organizer wants to film their talk. It’s a great question!

The main thing to think about with video is — video is great if it can help you get more gigs, and it’s really bad if can prevent you from getting more gigs.

Which is why you need to decide your philosophy and then dictate the terms to match.

I encourage you to create a blank presentation filming agreement that you can include with your contracts.

I’ll include one BELOW you can download a copy of and customize to make your own. I would either have them sign it as an addendum to your agreement, or include any of the language you resonate with in your agreement before you sign it.

I encourage you to think about asking for added language in the agreement not as a confrontation, but as a conversation where you are simply coming across like the professional you are. That’s what they’ll see. And if they don’t, that’s a red flag for you.

Main things to think about with the client recording your talk are:

1) You get to decide if you want to give them permission to post your talk in full on social media for public viewing
–Posting your entire session online could potentially prevent other people from hiring you as a presenter. If they really want to post your talk in full on social media than you have to decide if this video can help you showcase your work and spread the word, or compete with you getting paid to speak again. It’s certainly possible that some groups which just watch your talk on youtube rather than pay to hear you speak. These are your low-budget groups anyway, so they might not even be potential clients anyway. And the reality is, even if people can watch your whole video online if they are a group that has money to bring speakers they’d rather pay and have you in-person. Gathering people together and showing your video makes them look cheap!

2) You get to decide if you want to give them permission to sell copies of your presentation
–I’m assuming you don’t want that (because why on earth would you), but if the language doesn’t explicitly say so then you’ve accidentally given them that permission. It’s doubtful that they actually would want to do this, but verbal assurances do not protect anyone. Written agreements are all about making sure the needs of both parties are protected.

If they push back on #1 above, bullet point 3 in the sample agreement is meant to function as a helpful compromise. You can post it internally in full, no problem. Or you can post it publicly, not in its entirety.

Download a copy of Colin’s blank presentation filming agreement.