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Old September 17th, 2009, 06:37 AM   #1
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Its been 1.5 years and my videographer has not started the video...please help!

Hello Guys,

This is a very upsetting situation for my family and myself. I was married last year in May and the videographer I hired at the time was very nice and friendly and I had seen his work and it was pretty good. He did video tape a lot of hours as my wedding was a 3 day event and he was there for everything. I was happy with his work and I also tipped him $200.00 dollars after the wedding was done. Now, its been 1.5 years and I don't have my wedding video yet and I have spoken to my videographer and he said he is in France and will be back in October and once he starts he will notify me??? I was like I told you last year in September to start the video as I wanted to give him my own songs and he is saying he hasnt started yet because he has to work on the 2009 videos first before he gets to mine.

Another problem with this person is that he never replies back at all, it took him 1.5 months to respond back to an email I had sent him to which he told me he will finish the video by this June 2009. But I never received it and never heard back and left numerous messages to his home #, cell # and emailed him in July literally begging and pleading to finsih the video by mid August and he still never responded until I was really pissed and sent an email last Friday telling him of how he is very unprofessional and incompetent in his work and have no decency to respond back on time. I demanded him to respond by Monday September 14 2009 to which he did saying "he doesnt work on Demands and that it is my fault for not giving him the songs on time and he will notify me once he is back from France and once he starts the video". He had told me in May 2009 that it will be completed in June 2009 and when I signed the contract he told me he will finsih the video 2 months from the time we tell him to start the video. It has been exactly one year since I have told him and it doesnt look like he will even do it this year.

I had told him in the email either get it done by this month or I want my raw tapes back and will have someone else finsih it.

Now, I am sure even if he works on my video he will not do a good job and my wife and I are very concerned. I am going to take the raw tapes back and my 50% of what I have already paid him and am wondering if there is someone who is able and willing to help me out at all? I will obviously pay you for your time and effort for editing my video but can one of you professionals please help us out in this? My family, especially my wife is very upset and disappointed with all this and we are hoping someone can help us edit our video please???

You can email me at kamanali@gmail.com. This was an Indian wedding so there is a lot of footage but obviously I will leave it up to you as you are the professional and would know what clips would work where the best.

Before somene asks, as to why I did not go to my videographers house? WEll, I live in North Bay which is 4 hours away from Toronto as I moved early this year and I did try to go his plaace but had no luck as either there was no answer or he was not home.

So please let me know if you can help us out we would greatly appreciate it very much...it's so sad but I myself feel like crying as I type this I just feel horrible about this whole expeirnce.

Thank you for reading such a long post but hopefully you understand how upsetting this is for us.

Karim.
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Old September 17th, 2009, 07:11 AM   #2
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What a terrible situation for you to be in.

If you can get in contact with him, say that you realise he is extremely busy, and to save any more angst would it be possible for him to send you the raw tapes, and nothing more will be said.

Other than that, I dont know. Going down the legal route will be expensive (only the lawyers win, and they get all the money..) so if you are able to get hold of a mediator things will be better.

Here in Australia, each state has an office of fair trading, and consumer affairs, where a client such as yourself can seek assistance. This usually works well.

HTH
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Old September 17th, 2009, 07:49 AM   #3
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Hi Karim

No offence but I would have kicked his butt a long time ago..he is being not only downright unprofessional but almost fraudulent ... Alas, going down the legal route as Ben says, is often not worth it so I would at least go for the raw footage so you or someone else can edit it!! These are your memories and it's unfair that you have paid for services and not see any results.

It sounds like you are going to have to be really nice to him, get the footage in your hands and then you can put the screws on...most definately I wouldn't throw any more money at him. I sure there will be someone here that's close enough to you to help you out with the editing!!

Chris
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Old September 17th, 2009, 08:39 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Karim Amanali View Post
So please let me know if you can help us out we would greatly appreciate it very much...it's so sad but I myself feel like crying as I type this I just feel horrible about this whole expeirnce.
Hi Karim,

Take a deep breath.

Did you pay him in full? If yes, I would politely ask for your tapes back and at least a 50% refund. You can use that money to pay someone else to edit it.

Yes, the legal route is pretty much useless, except for perhaps small claims court, which you could use as a last resort if he refuses to refund your money. Small claims lets you get into court without the expense of a lawyer.

Once you get your tapes back, you can post here again looking for editing help. If you have three days of coverage and lots of material, I would expect you would have to pay around $1000 to get the job done. Maybe more or less depending on what you have and what you would like to receive.

Relax and deal with this guy on a professional basis, as hard as that is right now when you are upset. I suspect he doesn't want to edit your video anyway, and might be happy to get rid of it. The problem will be getting your refund.

Do everything in writing. Send him a registered letter. Keep a copy, save all your emails, etc, etc. Then if he refuses to refund you, you have records to show in small claims.

Even if in the end, you lose all your money and have to pay extra to have it done, do it and put it behind you. It's a small loss in the big picture of your life. Move on.
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Old September 17th, 2009, 10:07 AM   #5
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Name him on this forum.
I doubt if he's one of the regulars here.
If he's that busy and has so much work that it takes him this long then he could pass the work on, there's plenty of us that aren't that busy, me included.

Paul.
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Old September 17th, 2009, 10:31 AM   #6
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Name him on this forum.
We won't do that here as it is most definitely not in the spirit of this community to do so. I will immediately remove that information from public view and close a couple of accounts as well. For Karim, as has been stated, your best bet at this point is to acquire the raw tapes. Nobody responds well to "demands," so my suggestion is to remain as amicable as you can manage. If I were in your position, I would make arrangements to pick up the tapes in person. Be firm and persistent, but above all, be polite. I wouldn't worry about any extra expense, since you cannot really assign a value to this material. Legal action should be your very last recourse only after exhausting all other options. Good luck and keep us advised of your progress.
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Old September 17th, 2009, 10:52 AM   #7
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Our turnaround is never more than six weeks. I don't know what your small claims court is like in Canada, but it would be worth looking into, if not just to give you a little leverage. Getting your hands on the raw footage is everything. I wouldn't want this joker editing if he's that incompetent. I received a call once from a swamped videographer who was threatened with a lawsuit for being eight months late. He farmed out the job to me and I finished it in two weeks.

This guy is taking something that people would run into a burning home to salvage. In the states, small claims is very inexpensive (like $35) and the judge would side with you IMO.
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Old September 17th, 2009, 11:04 AM   #8
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The thing to say is how sorry I feel for you and your wife - it's a nasty situation to be in.

What does worry me is that he may well have experienced a technical fault and (for instance) have shot everything mute. He's looked at the footage and panicked, not being brave enough to admit his faults and not having proper indemnity insurance he's just hoping you'll fade away.

But you won't. The Small Claims Court can be pretty effective, but as others have said, keep your cool, be polite and simply ask that he send you all the raw tapes. Get him to copy them first so there won't be any 'lost in the post' stories. And the best of luck to you.

tom.
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Old September 17th, 2009, 11:06 AM   #9
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This is a perfect example about things that make the news magazines and destroy our reptutaion as a group.

I have seen this type of thing not only a few times over the last few years on the TV news mags but it's also been posted on the bridal websites.

These are the guys that undo everything we all work hard to overcome and while
I agree the legal recourse avenue would be the last resort, if after trying the "nice" route you find that it is not working, perhaps your lawyer (if you have one) can simply wirte a letter on his/her letterhead and demand recourse. Many times just the letter will do the job.


One of my favorite responses to people that have or are jacking me around over things which involve money for services (with me as the client), if the job isn't done to satisfaction or the service hasn't been provided and I've tried the 'nice' route, I generally say "we need to resolve this or I will be forced to take further action". I don't say it with anger or threathingly. I am simply informing them that I am prepared to move ahead with 'further action'.

After 1.5 years, I would say the tapes have had enough time to mature naturally and the time to get it done is now. Get the tapes!

Good luck and let us know how it works out.
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Old September 17th, 2009, 11:14 AM   #10
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If he doesn't co-operate maybe you could threaten to take the story to a local newspaper and send him a photo of your wife in tears in the meantime.
That may prick his conscience and give him a panic attack at the same time.
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Old September 17th, 2009, 11:28 AM   #11
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I see most everyone agreeing with Karim (and the customer is right, right?), but I'll play "devil's advocate" here...


Karim,
A couple things - if he's in France, you are going to have to wait until the guy gets back, making demands while someone is halfway around the world will just get him ticked off and not likely to want to work with you... not what you want.

Also, you indicate "I wanted to give him my own songs and he is saying he hasnt started yet because he has to work on the 2009 videos first before he gets to mine"... WHEN did you get him the songs?? I'm getting a vibe here that the guy has some things on his calendar, expected you to deliver songs sometime last year and you didn't get them to him until quite a while after the wedding - am I misreading your timeline? I gather from your post you expected him to start editing without having the songs... that may be a big part of the problem.

I would think that finishing the oldest projects first is the "normal" approach, but if a project goes off track, it may make finishing problematic - if you delayed in getting the music required to finish the project to the videographer... there may be some friction if you blame him. Let's say he's got half a dozen or more 2009 projects in edit, and he'd have to clear them ALL off his hard drives for your 3 days of footage... OK, I'd go buy a new big drive, but... realize that while he may have been ready to do your edit a year ago, he now may have to schedule around other things because the music arrived late.

There are two sides to every story, and certainly we all sympathize with you - that's a long time to wait, and you want to stay on top of it. BUT, getting angry and frustrated isn't going to get your video done (and may have unwanted undesirable effects). It's already apparent from what you have posted that the videographer is placing at least some of the blame for the delay on your not getting him the music tracks...


Keep in mind that your goal is to get the finished video. I'll presume the guy now has all the required music, and can put your video on a schedule - ask nicely and realistically what that schedule will be - keep in mind he can't edit while in France, he now has other projects that have cropped up in the last year that also must be done, and there's already obviously some friction on THIS project. Friction is never good on a creative project, and I'd suggest you try to find an approach that will reduce and avoid that, ASAP. As Don suggests, being FIRM is fine and certainly warranted, but one can be firm and still be reasonable.

That said, you should put together a reasonable timeline (for editing 3 days of footage... that is a large project) in writing and ask him if he thinks it's possible to meet it with his current workload/calendar. If not, and he can't give you some timeline you can BOTH work with, then ask him to consider giving you the tapes so you can have someone else edit it, along with whatever that may cost.

Getting upset, angry, and demanding, or worse getting "litigious" isn't going to get you to your goal. I'm hoping that seeing both sides will help you resolve the situation when the time comes - but honestly, jumping all over someone who for whatever reason is currently on the other side of the planet and in all likelyhood can't possibly do anything to rectify the situation at the moment doesn't help you...

If you needed to vent, I totally understand (been there, done that, but be careful on "public" forums), relax a bit, and re-group with the goal of getting the video done when the guy gets back and settles in.
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Old September 17th, 2009, 11:33 AM   #12
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Hey Karim.....Get ready for winter in North Bay...

If you DO get the tapes back, give me a shout....
Otherwise, there's lots of people on the forums (especially in Southern Ontario area) to choose from..

I just did my first Indian/Jewish wedding last week....Three boxes of tapes man!!!!!
You guys are hard core.

Good luck with your situtation..
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Old September 17th, 2009, 10:49 PM   #13
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Hi Karim, best thing for you is to get your tapes back. I think theres little chance of you getting the guy to edit it now as he is going to be pretty busy with the other jobs he has got.
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Old September 18th, 2009, 01:24 AM   #14
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I'm agree with Anish, better get your tapes back, you might ask other video editors to edit later and dont forget to ask for 50% refund
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Old September 18th, 2009, 02:56 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Peter Manojlovic View Post
Hey Karim.....Get ready for winter in North Bay...

If you DO get the tapes back, give me a shout....
Otherwise, there's lots of people on the forums (especially in Southern Ontario area) to choose from..

I just did my first Indian/Jewish wedding last week....Three boxes of tapes man!!!!!
You guys are hard core.

Good luck with your situtation..
All I'd add to the excellent advice already offered is to give the editing job to someone who understands Indian weddings. The culture (musically especially) is very different to the conventional "western" wedding video and unless you're experienced it can be a steep learning curve with numerous pitfalls.

PS I also think you're being very generous offering 50% of the fee - in my view his behaviour has lost him any right to any payment except perhaps the raw stock but even then you have to ask was it virgin? It also underscores the value (to the buyer) of our practice of taking a deposit and 50% before the wedding, the rest on delivery of the approved copies.
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