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The consequences of going AWOL in showbiz

On Behalf of | Apr 16, 2024 | Entertainment Law

Being in the entertainment industry has its pros and cons. The bright lights, the roaring crowd and the fame may be all you have ever wanted. But then, reality sets in, and you begin to dread the grueling hours, the demanding director and the never-ending pressure to do well on stage or screen. As much as it may be tempting to disappear or hide out during challenging times, this move carries significant consequences that can jeopardize your career as an artist.

What are the repercussions for going AWOL?

Being in the entertainment industry can be alluring, but it can also be overwhelming. There is nothing wrong with taking a step back to rest and recover, but you must consider the clauses on your contract to avoid consequences for missing out on obligations:

  • Breach of contract: A binding contract is the foundation of a professional relationship in the entertainment industry. Being away from your duties without authorization can constitute a breach of contract, exposing you to potential lawsuits, substantial financial penalties and even injunctions that prevent you from working anywhere else.
  • Damage to reputation and industry blacklist: Skipping work is unprofessional and can send a message of disregard for commitments. Rumors and negative feedback about your work ethic may spread out quickly. This can also impact future opportunities as studios, agencies and production companies may avoid collaborating with you.
  • Project delays and financial setbacks: An artist’s unexpected absence may derail the production crew’s schedule and require re-shoots, recasting and adjusting production schedules. This leads to additional costs and can create financial strain on the project and animosity among colleagues. If you go AWOL in the middle of a project, you may be liable for some additional expenses.

The stakes are high in the entertainment industry. Building a thriving career center on a positive reputation and any artist must protect that image no matter what.

Dealing with a lawsuit

If you are facing a lawsuit because you did not fulfill contractual duties, do not panic. You can try reviewing your contract with a trusted legal professional to help you negotiate and explore settlement options. It may also be best to demonstrate your commitment to professionalism as it may increase your chances of getting back on track.