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


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Old August 24th, 2010, 08:55 PM   #1
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Grrr....what the .......?!?

Did my business partner's best friend's wedding, they were both the best man in each others wedding.. They booked the video and photo package, and since its my partner's best buddy eversince high school, we did it for half price which was fine by us ....they signed the contract, gave a deposit, paid us in full during the wedding with a cheque...deposited it , 10 days later withdrew some of the money to pay our photographers and my assistant.

The next day the cheque bounced...we've been leaving numerous messages via phone, blackberry, facebook etc...they even blocked us on facebook..short of going to their house (which my partner wants to do) we haven't heard a peep from them..ran into a mutual friend and she mentioned that after the honeymoon, they packed their bags to move to a different city 1000 kms away. My partner doesn't buy it and really wants to go to their house, i told him not a good idea, I'm pretty sure we are not the first people in this business to experience such a thing...i told my partner that we'll chalk it up as a loss but he wants to go to court..How would you guys handle this situation?
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Old August 24th, 2010, 09:11 PM   #2
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Kren, that's a bizarre story.

But, if it's supposedly your partner's best friend since high school, why shouldn't he go ring the guy's doorbell to ask what the heck?
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Old August 24th, 2010, 09:21 PM   #3
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hey Vito..well the way i see it , if it was another client , we would really never consider going to their house to ask for an explanation or to collect..being in a confrontation and being in the heat of the moment most often leads to more trouble...
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Old August 24th, 2010, 09:58 PM   #4
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I see your point, but if it were my best, friend, I'd be worried about him. Not mad cause he bounced a check on me, but worried about what he could have got into that made him act this way.
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Old August 24th, 2010, 10:21 PM   #5
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Have you delivered the final product? If not, then maybe you can park it somewhere and just consider this as a lost. The fact that they blocked you on facebook must not be good. I can't understand why a best friend could ever do that, there must be a reason.

But I suppose you need to prepare for the worst and take it as lesson learnt, never accept cheque!
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Old August 25th, 2010, 02:36 AM   #6
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Kren.... it's your PARTNER'S best buddy.

He told you all about how good a friend this guy was, his best man etc etc.

Then the guy goes and slams a check back at you and him.

YOUR PARTNER is pissed and my best guess, humiliated that someone he thought he knew so well, who he vouched for, who he went to bat for, and got a deal for, just stuffed him in his butt in front of HIS BUSINESS PARTNER !!!!

I think what I would do now, hand that check over to your partner, tell him what your opinion is of how to proceed, but also tell him "we are partners, go do what you think you have to do".

If this was some schmoe off the street who you didn't know who did this to you, you are dead on, on what to do next. For your partner, my guess this is about his HONOR and PRIDE more than about the money.

There is an old saying "sometimes a man has to do what a man has to do". Hand him the check and stand back, stuff is going to fly !!!!
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Old August 25th, 2010, 02:52 AM   #7
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Hi Kren.
I've had something like this happen to me twice. Not the very same situation but unable to make contact with them after the wedding. The first was a friend of a friend, though I hadn't done it at a reduced price. They just kept prevaricating whenever I contacted them, always with an excuse and a promise. They finally told me after 6 months that they were moving away that they would not be able to pay for the video as they were expecting another baby. I threatened them with claiming through the courts and on the final contact as I was about to submit the papers they offered to pay me by monthly instalments. I accepted that but after 2 or 3 months the payments stopped. This went on and eventually two years after the wedding a cheque for the final amount was put through my door. After it cleared I sent the VHS to them, they had moved to a different town so I didn't meet with them in person. A few days later the bride called to ask if I could let her have another copy as the baby had just destroyed the VHS.

The second one was different. I had a feeling on the day that there was something not right, they had too much going on for what I perceived to be their income. 3 long limos, musicians at church, musicians at the reception, pro saxophonist during the meal, band and personality DJ at night, etc. etc. - the works. At the end when I was leaving I told them that I'd have the DVD ready when they returned from their honeymoon and they said there's no hurry, they wouldn't mind waiting.
My practice is to notify by post when the DVD is ready for them to collect and an invoice for the final balance. If I don't get a reply I phone which I did but both their home line and the mobile they'd given rang unanswered. I contacted the hotel and the photographer both were still waiting to payments. I sent recorded notification of initiating court proceedings, it was returned as customer gone away. I went with the photographer to their house but it was locked and empty. So the end of the line.
But - two years later I had a phone call from the groom asking if I remembered him, could he call in to collect the DVD. When he arrived he had half the balance and a rambling story of problems but he wanted to straighten things. He left me the money but of course he couldn't take the DVD so he said he'd be back the following month with the remained. I've never heard from him again and that was five years ago.
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Old August 25th, 2010, 03:51 AM   #8
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Wow. This gives all the good reason why you must enforce them to pay most, if not full, amount of the payment prior to the wedding day. At least you get most of the money with you and only had to suffer minor loss if they did run away.

And although friends are friends, people could do anything when it comes to money.. scary truth..
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Old August 25th, 2010, 06:50 AM   #9
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First if it were my business partners "best" friend that stiffed me you had better believe I or my partner (if I had one) would be at the "friends" front door. This guy IMO knew exactly what he was doing and not only took advantage of the situation but comitted fraud. Knowingly bouncing a check is considered theft of services and or fraud. End of story.

Secondly, another great reason to get all the money before the event. I know there have been probably a hundred discussions about this and everyone has their own idea of whats the right thing to do for their business and that's great but here is a perfect example of getting screwed when you don't get the cash upfront.

Hey it's your choice and your business, do what you feel you need to do whether it's writing it off or sending "Joe" out to find this crook and breaking his knees, but if I were you I would look at changing my practice of collecting the last of the money on the day of. In the last 20 years I've never really had a problem collecting 30 days before, around here it's considered to be standard practice for almost all vendors.
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Old August 25th, 2010, 10:38 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johannes Soetandi View Post
Have you delivered the final product? If not, then maybe you can park it somewhere and just consider this as a lost. The fact that they blocked you on facebook must not be good. I can't understand why a best friend could ever do that, there must be a reason.

But I suppose you need to prepare for the worst and take it as lesson learnt, never accept cheque!
What up Johannes, no, this happened just a month ago we haven't even uploaded their footages to our cpu...about the cheques, we want to provide couples payment options aside from straight cash...
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Old August 25th, 2010, 10:45 AM   #11
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I hear you Don..we currently ask them to pay the balance a week before the wedding but again since he is a friend we gave him some leeway..cheers!
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Old August 25th, 2010, 10:54 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kren Barnes View Post
What up Johannes, no, this happened just a month ago we haven't even uploaded their footages to our cpu...about the cheques, we want to provide couples payment options aside from straight cash...
Yeah apparently I'm not quite a believer in cheque. I hardly deal with them and use them myself. Hope everything sorts out well mate!
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Old August 25th, 2010, 11:05 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chip Thome View Post
Kren.... it's your PARTNER'S best buddy.

He told you all about how good a friend this guy was, his best man etc etc.

Then the guy goes and slams a check back at you and him.

YOUR PARTNER is pissed and my best guess, humiliated that someone he thought he knew so well, who he vouched for, who he went to bat for, and got a deal for, just stuffed him in his butt in front of HIS BUSINESS PARTNER !!!!

I think what I would do now, hand that check over to your partner, tell him what your opinion is of how to proceed, but also tell him "we are partners, go do what you think you have to do".

If this was some schmoe off the street who you didn't know who did this to you, you are dead on, on what to do next. For your partner, my guess this is about his HONOR and PRIDE more than about the money.

There is an old saying "sometimes a man has to do what a man has to do". Hand him the check and stand back, stuff is going to fly !!!!

You're right Chip i think it was really embarassing for my partner..but i've met this guy numerous times..he is stand up guy, both of their families even went out to dinner and a picnic a few days after the wedding... so this was out of nowhere..we think its his wife :)

I've advised my partner to give them more time and if they still don't respond we'll chuck it as a loss..
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Old August 25th, 2010, 03:32 PM   #14
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Sorry about what happened to you Kren.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Johannes Soetandi View Post
And although friends are friends, people could do anything when it comes to money.. scary truth..
This happened to me before, not very similar though but this led to a lessons learned kind of thing regarding friendships.
I saved my friends date, turned down 3 clients. Then 3 weeks before wedding, she became non responsive kept on ignoring emails and messages. They didn't hire us to shoot on their wedding.

Now, we dont pencil book people anymore ragardless who they are.

At the end of the day, I ask myself;

"When we pay the house rent, are friends there monthly? " : )

If someone here has this kinid of friend, maybe we can be friends with him : jk
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Old August 26th, 2010, 11:13 AM   #15
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I have a different outlook on this. If my best friend is getting married, I will shoot the wedding for free. My definition of friend though is someone who would wake up at 3 am in the morning to drive 20 miles to bring me a jack coz I had a flat tire. If someone books me for that day, I will be honest and tell the client that I have prior commitments and I can send an associate to shoot for me.

My 2 cents.
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