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Taking Care of Business
The pen and paper aspects of DV -- put it in writing!


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Old March 5th, 2009, 11:09 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Dylan Couper View Post

Just kidding... I wouldn't really sue you... I'm Canadian, we only settle our differences on the ice with sticks. Courts of law are for wusses.

Maybe what you aren't seeing Bill, is that in my case, we had an agreement/contract as to the specifics of the job, and the $600 came as an "oh, I also need to charge you $600 for rendering". I didn't agree to pay it up front, and the rendering was technically covered in the contract specifying the delivery of the project.
Now...
If at the start of the project, he quoted/included $600/10hrs for rendering there never would have been an issue later. Having said that, I still would have told him I wasn't paying full rate for rendering, and if he wanted the contract, he'd better drop the price by 50% or better.
First of all, courts are not for "wusses", they are for making people stick to the contractual agreements that we do business and make our livings by. I bet my house in Vegas you WOULD sue the guy if he somehow made you lose your client and revenue.

Secondly, you didn't state in your original story about the fact that you had a detailed contract and these hours weren't originally included. To that I say, that is the bad of the contractor not figuring that into the cost of his bid. He should eat it for not having forethought. Having said that, it is up to the contractor, not the producer, to set the price of the bid. If you say "I'm not going to pay this amount" (BEFORE the job of course), then it is up the contractor to either decide to alter his bid or not take the job.

Both parties need to clearly define their roles and expectations in a deal before work starts or money changers hands.

There is a saying that goes "with the right client, a good contract is never needed, with the wrong one its never enough"
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Old March 5th, 2009, 12:54 PM   #17
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Secondly, you didn't state in your original story about the fact that you had a detailed contract and these hours weren't originally included. To that I say, that is the bad of the contractor not figuring that into the cost of his bid. He should eat it for not having forethought. Having said that, it is up to the contractor, not the producer, to set the price of the bid.
I'd like to add a caveat here: based on a situation I'm CURRENTLY involved in that has cost me approaching $20k in "free" work due to a contract that set out my obligations and ESTIMATED time based on the scope of the project we had discussed, ANY VARIANCE to the scope of the project (including additional sign off copies and subsequent edits) should be billed as additional work. Unless we as the contractor can effectively keep a project on track, I feel we should not be held financially liable for non-discussed (therefore unagreed to) additional labour and expenses. I never intended for my business model to be an "All You Can Shoot and Edit Buffet". Give 'em an inch...
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Old March 5th, 2009, 02:37 PM   #18
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I bet my house in Vegas you WOULD sue the guy if he somehow made you lose your client and revenue.
Take that bet, prove him wrong, and recoup your losses by selling his Vegas house.

No, seriously, I think that you might as well be as transparent as possible with business partners. Tell them that you're not going to pay for render time, and then you won't have to bother suing. If that's not acceptable for THEM, work out a solution. If you can't, find another editor.

Quote:
I'm CURRENTLY involved in that has cost me approaching $20k in "free" work due to a contract that set out my obligations and ESTIMATED time based on the scope of the project we had discussed, ANY VARIANCE to the scope of the project (including additional sign off copies and subsequent edits) should be billed as additional work. Unless we as the contractor can effectively keep a project on track, I feel we should not be held financially liable for non-discussed
Hear hear Shaun, I totally agree.
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Old March 6th, 2009, 01:29 AM   #19
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First of all, courts are not for "wusses",
Still waiting for that sense of humor transplant, huh?
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Old March 6th, 2009, 01:35 AM   #20
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ANY VARIANCE to the scope of the project (including additional sign off copies and subsequent edits) should be billed as additional work.
True!

I think almost all of us (producers, editors, cameramen alike) have been burned by a client uttering those three horrible works "can you also..."

The last time it happened to me it was "can you also... reproduce this entire 8 hour shoot, with a second variation of our product, in a single hour, and we don't pay you any more money?" Ok ok, that's my interpretation, but is basically what they were asking. Needless to say, it didn't happen.

Editors probably have it the worst. It's critical to tell the client asap how many extra hours a simple change will add, and what it will cost them. Otherwise, they'll just assume it's covered.
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Old March 6th, 2009, 05:46 AM   #21
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It's critical to tell the client asap how many extra hours a simple change will add, and what it will cost them. Otherwise, they'll just assume it's covered.
In my case, they just looked at the bottom line of my line-item specific quote and said to themselves, "Oh, that's how much our video costs..." and ignored all the specific prior discussion of "this quote assumes that industry standard protocols and workflows will be followed... blah blah blah"... ARGH! And there are TOO many people who have assumed "ownership" of this darned thing so I'm just putting in time to get through with it. Oh, and by the way, the client calls my house at 10 pm occasionally...
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Old March 6th, 2009, 03:21 PM   #22
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Analogy: a client hires you to tape a speech and just wants a straight locked down wide shot. After the 6-hour shoot (say, the guy is Castro or Clinton or something), they only pay you for the combined 45 minutes it took you to set up, tear down, and change tapes because you were reading or emailing while the camera did its thing unassisted.

I cannot imagine a happy camera owner in that scenario.

Any time my computer gets tied up and cannot be used for other tasks, I'd better charge or I am cheating myself. Of course, how much I charge is between me and the client. Rush jobs get full rate, overnight jobs with good clients usually get substantially reduced rates, but whatever it is, we agree to it beforehand. If I find mid-project that I didn't mention a charged item, I'll make sure to let them know before I slap it on an invoice and we'll talk it over like adults instead of playing the piddly passive-aggressive BS games that are so en vogue in our rapidly declining Western culture.

speaking of which, what's that 2 cents worth now with inflation? $4.73?
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Old March 6th, 2009, 07:15 PM   #23
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Analogy: a client hires you to tape a speech and just wants a straight locked down wide shot. After the 6-hour shoot (say, the guy is Castro or Clinton or something), they only pay you for the combined 45 minutes it took you to set up, tear down, and change tapes because you were reading or emailing while the camera did its thing unassisted.
An interesting choice. If my camera operator went and read a magazine while his camera sat churning away... there is no way I'd pay him full rate. But he wouldn't be doing that, he'd be at the camera, making sure second by second that nothing went wrong. No one sits and stares at a render bar for 15 hours straight to make sure nothing goes wrong down to the second. They check on it during pee breaks in the middle of Firefly marathons.

I'm not saying render time is not worth anything... it definitely has value... but it isn't full editing rate.

To me render time is worth the same as a camera rental, because that's basically what you are doing, renting time on equipment, without any real human time involved. Yes, the editor gets paid full rate for setting up the render, but after that...

And if the editor only has one computer and it kills his productivity during renders... that's not my problem. He can render it at night or get another workstation.
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Old March 6th, 2009, 07:20 PM   #24
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Oh, and by the way, the client calls my house at 10 pm occasionally...
Send their office a notice of new rates/billing. Include one line that states all calls after 6pm will be billed at $30/15m segments. Keep track of time. Send them a bill.

I think I got that from Paul Tauger actually...
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Old March 7th, 2009, 08:16 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Kevin McRoberts View Post
Any time my computer gets tied up and cannot be used for other tasks, I'd better charge or I am cheating myself.
You better get a second computer or you're cheating yourself.

Your Castro speech analogy is flawed. The main reason you'd charge full rate for the duration of the speech is because of "lost opportunity". While you're recording the speech you have no opportunity to do other work.

I charge for travel time. Sure I'm not doing anything other than watching the road, but the time I spend on the road is time I don't get to work. However I can do lots of things in my office while a video is rendering.
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Old March 7th, 2009, 11:25 AM   #26
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Still waiting for that sense of humor transplant, huh?
Unfortunately, yes. Our healthcare system down here in the States does not cover free humor transplants. :)

But I got my feathers ruffled a little about the "wuss" comment because I had a good friend just go through the lawsuit thing because a producer didn't want to pay her for the work he asked her to do.

The point I was trying to make is, contracts are essential to both parties so neither side gets taken advantage of. But if one party doesn't want to hold up to their side, a lawsuit is pretty much all you can do other than eating it (which for a small operation in this economy can mean the difference between staying open or not).

And back to the original point: It is up to the contractor to factor in what their "cost" is in render time (lost productivity, wear/tear, power, time babysitting, etc), and if/how they want to pass that on to the client. But then both parties need to be "on board" with it beforehand...
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Old March 7th, 2009, 11:42 AM   #27
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Unfortunately, yes. Our healthcare system down here in the States does not cover free humor transplants. :)
Laughing out loud.... :) I'm going to have to steal that line!


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But I got my feathers ruffled a little about the "wuss" comment because I had a good friend just go through the lawsuit thing because a producer didn't want to pay her for the work he asked her to do.

The point I was trying to make is, contracts are essential to both parties so neither side gets taken advantage of. But if one party doesn't want to hold up to their side, a lawsuit is pretty much all you can do other than eating it (which for a small operation in this economy can mean the difference between staying open or not).

And back to the original point: It is up to the contractor to factor in what their "cost" is in render time (lost productivity, wear/tear, power, time babysitting, etc), and if/how they want to pass that on to the client. But then both parties need to be "on board" with it beforehand...
I didn't mean to ruffle any feathers with that one. While we really aren't very litigious up here, the truth is for a lot of small businesses and contract workers/shooters, suing someone is rarely worth the time. On principal, it's always worth it, but when it comes down to it (and for me it's come down to it at least 3 times in the last year) the extended process of taking someone to court, making a case, and then trying to collect, isn't worth a couple grand for the time and stress.

The one lesson in this business that has cost me the most money, lost me the most time, and took me the longest to learn is... always have a contract... even at least a paper or email that spells out point by point:
*what tasks the person will perform
*when they will perform them by
*how much each will cost.
Doing this is critical if you are hiring someone.
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Old March 7th, 2009, 05:42 PM   #28
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the truth is for a lot of small businesses and contract workers/shooters, suing someone is rarely worth the time.
Amen. That is the sad truth 99% of the time!
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