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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old May 9th, 2005, 04:51 PM   #1
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wedding blues

Did a wedding last week with instructions not to get many close shots of the bride and groom, and to capture the quests arriving and leaveing church ( they did'nt want the church service filmed) to capture the B+G arrive at the reiception venue + the guests mingling in the grounds of the hotel, and then been informaly recieved by the B+G, the cake cutting, speeches, 1st dance.

The next day i edited it added music of there preference and sent them a copy on VHS to see if it was ok before i made DVDs the total running time was around an hour and give a lovely snapshot of there day.

2 days later the bride contacted me and said was this just a demo? its only a hour long, you were here all day (9hrs in total) no closeups of me and my husband and it went on and on, no mention of the music and the over all quality, it was very sunny the footage was stunning (pd170).

I was hurt because i had put everthing into it and expected better then this
+ only charged them a small fee, this is the 4th wedding i have done the others with no complants just many thanks for giving them something to look back on to there special day.

What i think she expected was that the whole time that i was there that i just let the camera run (9hrs) and just film none stop. I sent her a revised VHS copy running time 1hr 35mins last friday and up to now had no reply, they paid a small deposit but things don't look to bright.

I know the customer is always right but when they start moving the goal posts what can you do, anybody out thre had similar.
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Old May 9th, 2005, 05:08 PM   #2
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Ian,

Usually, since I know next to nothing about wedding videography, I don't even follow these threads. But your plea moved me, and I was moved to try to help.

I suspect they didn't know how to make their expectations clear to you. If they said "not many," did they mean 2% of the shots should be close-ups of the bride? 20%? 40%? Did they know how long a video they wanted? Do they have a copy of someone else's video that they're comparing it to? Or, worst of all, do they somehow think that nine hours of raw footage means three hours of Pure Wedding Gold?

I have immense respect for anyone who can read the minds of and satisfy customers paying for a record of their once-in-a-lifetime, world-changing, dream-fulfilling event.

Good luck.

Michael
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Old May 9th, 2005, 05:30 PM   #3
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Thanks Michael for your post'

No sooner i post this than i get an email from the happy couple to say that they are very happy with the 2nd video that i sent them and could they have it on dvd and 2 for the parants what a differance a few minuites make.

Thanks again.
Ian
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Old May 9th, 2005, 05:34 PM   #4
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Glad things worked out.

Lesson to learn from it I think: Shoot extra footage that YOU know looks good, which can be used based on later preferences.

Take care,
JL
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Old May 10th, 2005, 11:51 AM   #5
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deposit

[QUOTE=Ian Thomas]I sent her a revised VHS copy running time 1hr 35mins last friday and up to now had no reply, they paid a small deposit but things don't look to bright.
QUOTE]

Ian,

I'm glad they liked the second version. Congratulations on another satisfied customer!

Your comment about the deposit concerns me. Did they not pay you in full before the wedding? I don't know what's customary in your area, but in the U.S. we typically expect clients to pay off their balance before the wedding; that way, you're fairly compensated for your time. Expecting payment AFTER you've done the work leaves you vulnerable to the perils of dishonest and disorganized clients. I learned the hard way, putting 40 hours into a job only to find the bride didn't have the funds to pay off her balance; it took me three months and three threats of litigation to get paid for that job. Never again.

Cheers,

TJB
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Old May 10th, 2005, 12:29 PM   #6
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Hi Ian,

I can't make any rules for anyone else but here's how I do things.

Payment must be completed on day of wedding. If they ask for extras such as dubs or additional highlight edit etc. I'll bill them on the request not after the job is done.

I always "overshoot." On a 9 hour wedding I'll often end up with 4-5 hours.

I always make the DVD as long as possible. What's boring to you might be key to them. Especially with DVDs they can skip ahead if they want to. I think most "consumers" feel more is better. My wedding DVDs tend to be between 90-120 minutes.

In requests of "not too much" of something, I'd shoot too much and then be selective in the edit. Better to have it and not use it than not have it.

My own style is to offer a highlight as an "extra." What they get is short "intro" to the location, entire wedding ceremony, snippets from cocktail hour, all key events at reception, lot's of "fly on the wall" interaction at the tables (if I see anything) and lots of shots of different couples dancing. IMHO every guest is somebody important to the family in some way and the dance floor is the best place to capture the character of the guests.
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Old May 10th, 2005, 12:31 PM   #7
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Ian,

Now that you've done a few wedding succesfully you should definitely make sure that all payments are received prior to the wedding date.

Good job keeping them happy!

Ben
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Old May 10th, 2005, 01:19 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Borek
Your comment about the deposit concerns me. Did they not pay you in full before the wedding? I don't know what's customary in your area, but in the U.S. we typically expect clients to pay off their balance before the wedding; that way, you're fairly compensated for your time. Expecting payment AFTER you've done the work leaves you vulnerable to the perils of dishonest and disorganized clients.
Don't lump ALL of the U.S. into one category. We charge a reservation fee. The final balance is NOT due until we are finished. I know many others that fall into this category. To me, this is more typical of how normal businesses operate. For example, you go to a hospital and, later, they send you a bill. You get your car worked on, then they give you a bill. We shoot/edit a wedding and then we send a bill.

Expecting full payment before you even START can also lead your clients to wonder if YOU are honest. I.e. now that he has my money, will he ever finish my product?

The argument can go both ways. But not EVERYONE requires payment up front. Is there a potential problem if you don't receive your money upfront? Absolutely. Is there a potential problem if you DO receive your money upfront? Again, Absolutely.
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Old May 10th, 2005, 01:41 PM   #9
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Edward,

Payment depends on the business model. For corporate work I do 1/3 on agreement, 1/3 on first day (or at some point if it's several days and large billing) of shoot and 1/3 on delivery. Key for me is ON DELIVERY not AFTER delivery.

A small business may not have the resources to pursue payment. As a business with lower rates, one may not have the cash flow to survive too many slow pay clients. Many small shops simply can't risk or survive this.

If the client is a repeat client I can bill them.

For "one off" clients such as wedding clients, I think it's reasonable to expect payment on day of wedding. Too risky to spend an entire week editing a wedding (and possibly not doing any other work as a result) and then have to wait weeks for payment because they simply don't have the money on the day you're done.
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Old May 10th, 2005, 02:09 PM   #10
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I'm glad to hear it all worked out alright....
I think Michael hit the nail on the head.

In my experience, the key to having satisfied customers (in any business) is setting realistic expectations. It sounds like that was the problem in this case...you thought she wanted one thing, she was expecting something different.

I'm sure your video was more than well done, and had she realized form the get go that the final edited piece would be an hour long, she probably wouldn't have had a problem with it. But, if you're expecting a 9 hour epic and you only get an hour, I can see where you'd be dissapointed (regardless of how ridiculous that expectation is).

Given that this is your fourth wedding, these sorts of speed bumps are to be expected. As you shoot more weddings, and your demo reel grows, you'll have more samples to show potential clients. There will be less of a question as to what they should expect from you. You just need to make sure they understand what you usually do, and if they want anything done differently you can discuss it. Make sure they understand what they are purchasing, and make sure you understand what they expect.
(sounds a lot easier than it is).

Looking back, just about every situation where I've had a client that wasn't 100% satisfied, I can honestly say it was my fault for not setting realistic expectations in their minds, or making certain that we had the same expectations.

As a friend of mine often says, "under promise and over deliver."
That will keep them happy every single time.
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Old May 10th, 2005, 03:35 PM   #11
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One of the wedding video's I did I cut out something that I thought sucked. But the bride who like the video ask about that part of the wedding. So I made them a new DVD and the bride was happy.

Get the money in advance
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