Marine biology career questions

From: Pieter Arend Folkens (animalbytes@earthlink.net)
Date: Tue Nov 20 2001 - 13:00:50 EST


>I had e-mailed you prior to ask you some questions concerning the field of
>marine biology. I just had a few more questions or clarifications. . . .

>You said that you neogiate contracts, what kind of contracts do
>you neogiate? Who do you neogiate these contracts with? What kinds of
>people do you have to e-mail on a regular basis? What kinds fo things do
>you discuss? If you could expand on how you use these verbal and written
>communication skills it would be very helpful.

The contracts fall into three different distinctions: service, use,
and rights. In some situations our team provides a service to a
client. We do something for someone. In other circumstances the
client wants to use some asset of ours, such as a boat or other
equipment. The third is common for me personally as I license rights
to use creative content such as words, photos, and illustrations.

A contract contains four basic elements to be valid: parties with the
authority to enter into a binding agreement; legality of purpose; an
exchange of product or service for valuable consideration; and a time
frame. The contract can be as short as a cash receipt or as long as a
book, depending on the need for detail and ability of the parties to
trust one another. I personally like "cowboy contracts" in which the
integrity of the individual is paramount. A cowboy contract is sealed
with a handshake. Should one of them renege on the agreement, their
reputation is soiled forever and respect is lost. My longest contract
was for Disney (27 pages) for a 1-hour consultation with their
feature animation staff on the film Fantasia III.

Contracts are negotiated with a variety of clients, but in my
situation it commonly involves government agencies (Fisheries Canada,
National Marine Sanctuaries/NMFS, etc.), non-profit organizations,
and publishers.

Email is used to initiate contact and discuss terms of the agreement
such as what rights are conveyed, how long the agreement will be in
effect, and so on. The final agreement (hard copy) is always sent via
mail or an express service.

I hope this helps.

cheers,

Pieter Folkens

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