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


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Old September 3rd, 2006, 08:59 AM   #1
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Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Alton IL
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Waiting to collect.

I did a shoot quite some time ago for a gospel band. It was a live shoot in a full church on Easter Sunday. They were going to make a live audio recording and mix it later and the band decided to make a dvd of the event also. They wanted a 3 camera shoot but it ended up being 4 cause I am just that nice. 2 JVC 5000u, 1 xl1, a gl2 and lots of editing. All of the cameras matched pretty good except the gl2. After a mere $500 deposit and a contract to collect a month later they started having problems with the audio, actually they said they had none. So I offerd to try and help perhaps using what I captured live but I said I still need paid regardless as I had fullfilled my contract. I think there original idea was to make some money off of the dvd sales and then they could easily afford to pay me. After months of trying to get ahold of the son I got through using the old call from a different phone technique and got dad's phone number. Sure we will pay you but it will have to be in payments. A month later I got phone call and the father said, I apoligize we have been on vacation but I can pay you in the remaing balance in 3 payments.
Lessons learned: Don't trust anyone to pay on time (even gospel bands).
Be sure to have several phone numbers and names.
Don't let things go to long or they will asume you don't need paid.
Collect a larger deposit and collect at more times for example the day of the shoot collect, after the first edit collect, collect after the final edit and get the remaining balance with the mastered and dvd. This will give more incentive to pay as they will have more of an investment in the project.
Now, we will see if indeed I get a check next Friday. If not they I guess I will see them in court.
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Old September 3rd, 2006, 09:35 AM   #2
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If they have the money to go on vacation they have the money to pay you. Go get 'em!
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Old September 3rd, 2006, 07:22 PM   #3
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My policy:
Deposit to book shoot. Shoot must be paid in full on day of shoot since crew must be paid.

Edit is supervised and paid and end of eachy daily session or, if unsupervised, estimate paid in advance for editing to happen.

Even final payment on delivery doesn't work because too many people "extend" the time to pick up the master.
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Old October 3rd, 2006, 01:13 PM   #4
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I think Craig's suggestions are on the right track, but in my experience clients rarely want to get into supervised edits... many don't have the time, and/or feel that it's "your department" (even though they'll nit-pick every pixel's placement after the fact anyway, but so it goes).

I like to get 50% up front on the day the agreement is made or in extremely short order thereafter (while not committing to the date(s) fully until payment is made), and the remaining 50% upon delivery of a ROUGH edit. This is all my initial estimate covers, apart from expenses. If the client wants to make any changes whatsoever to the rough edit, they pay me an hourly rate IN ADDITION to the initial estimate for any such changes. I also bill at a slightly cut rate for additional video capture and rendering time (because my computer is tied up and I can't make money on other things, this only seems fair). These additional fees are due upon delivery of each subsequent edit.

Even taking these steps, I still find myself waiting forever and ever before I am paid. Writing a check is apparently the most time-consuming and difficult task that mankind has ever come across. :)
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Old October 4th, 2006, 07:59 AM   #5
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Which is why I never accept pay on delivery jobs. If you're a professional (need to pay your bills with the income), you can't have a stack of jobs you're working on while no money is coming in the door. The money happens first. If they don't trust me then I'm not going to work under a situation where the lack of trust is overriding. Pay on delivery opens the door to a job getting abandoned after you do the work, suddenly they want changes or make additional demands near the time of delivery, etc.

In short, if it's supervised work they can pay at the end of the day but if it's unsupervised I won't work unless I get the money upfront.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jarrod Whaley

Even taking these steps, I still find myself waiting forever and ever before I am paid. Writing a check is apparently the most time-consuming and difficult task that mankind has ever come across. :)
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Old October 4th, 2006, 10:32 AM   #6
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I agree with what you're saying... By "pay on delivery," I mean I don't hand them anything until I'm paid. That doesn't stop a client who's not in a hurry from simply delaying that transaction. Unless a client has a burning, desperate, and immediate need for the material (which is actually pretty rare), there's no way to make them pay quickly.

I agree that you can't have jobs piled up with no money coming in. That doesn't mean it's always achievable to avoid that kind of situation. There really is very little you can do to stop certain clients from dragging things out as long as possible. There are also plenty of jobs that I've run into where you either accept payment on the client's terms or else there's no job at all. There are all kinds of fuzzy situations where the above-discussed contract terms simply do not apply, or else they don't work that well. Right now, for example, I'm waiting to receive the first check for an after-school filmmaking program I'm doing. This is a multi-month project. The agreement was half at the beginning, 25% 3/4 of the way through, and 25% at the end. Note that is was unusually nice of the funding institutions involved to agree to this in the first place as opposed to a really delayed payroll kind of situation. Unfortunately, though, the local institutions are waiting to receive the grant funds from a state institution. So the short version is that no one has any idea whatsoever about when I will actually receive that initial 50%. What am I supposed to do? Refuse to teach and thus endanger the entire job and my reputation in the process? The point being: good luck if you're trying to be hard-nosed about payment when state-level funds are involved. :) You're basically at the funders' mercy .

Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Seeman
In short, if it's supervised work they can pay at the end of the day but if it's unsupervised I won't work unless I get the money upfront.
All well and good, but again, I've only once come across a client who even wanted to supervise an edit, much less had the time to do so. I think you're just getting lucky, or else have an entirely different kind of clientele than I do most of the time.
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Old October 4th, 2006, 02:15 PM   #7
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One thing I've found that doesn't help is the client's ability to google your name and see all the neat things you are saying about them in this forum!
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