Yesterday, we received an unsolicited copy of the “talent services contract” for National Geographic’s Old Believer television series, along with a special request: Would you please help us translate the contract’s 14 pages of legalese into plain English? Because we don’t understand what we’re being asked to sign.
We’d love to help, but we’re journalists, not lawyers — so the language in the contract is often confusing or ambiguous, even to us.
That’s why we reached out to Joseph Townley, who graciously took our phone call today. Mr. Townley is the Chief Operating Officer of MY Tupelo Entertainment, the production house that’s making the Old Believers series for National Geographic. With more than two decades of experience in the entertainment and sports television sectors, Mr. Townley certainly knows his way around the TV business. And since his name, title, and address are listed on the contract, we figure he must understand all the fine print.
What’s especially nice is that based on our phone conversation with him this afternoon, Mr. Townley seems like a real good guy.
Mr. Townley said he would consider our request for an interview, but only if we submitted the request with relevant details via email. He then gave us his email address.
Here is our email (sent earlier today), with the relevant details:
(click email to enlarge)