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


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Old November 22nd, 2010, 10:47 AM   #16
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For reasons like this I started choosing my clients.

I have had really good luck creating videos for weddings with planners. Everyone, including me, seems happier in the end. I've considered making it a requirement...
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Old November 22nd, 2010, 12:53 PM   #17
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Noa,
The saying is true, "keep doing what you're doing and you'll keep getting what you're getting". Just because a client is Indian doesn't make them high-end. My point is simply, I choose clients... or choose to do business with brides who are only willing to put their complete trust in me. That's it. ... and it works GREAT! In the last 70 weddings or so I have not once had a bride ask me to change the music in her wedding film. They love MY product.
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Old November 22nd, 2010, 06:16 PM   #18
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These sorts of things happen and agree that a tight contract will make a difference. However you can still get a PITA client. Sometimes you can sense then prior to the event and others they will come out of the blue.

I had a client who was a challenge - knew it from the onset. She had written a looong email after her completed DVD but when I actually took all the talk out of it, it was only four points. Primarily they were minor and not difficult to fix. My biggest challenge is to step back and try to not take it personal - this has made a difference in how I respond and deal with requests.

For our cultural weddings esp (+ a result of a bad experience), I make sure I have a clear outline of what we spoke about and clarify everything. The same client as above also threw in the "I thought we would get X as extra" after the day. It didn't work and I stood firm from my first contact with her.
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Old November 23rd, 2010, 11:21 AM   #19
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There are some that 'negotiate' price both before and after a deal is made. One of the most used stunts after the fact is the "very disappointed" spiel. Then, right after they express their "disappointment", they want to pay you less than agreed - because they are "disappointed". Even in the early stages of discussions with this type of client, you can usually get a sense of what they are like. When you do, run, don't walk away from them. If your need to feed your starving children compels you to do the job anyway, make sure you are paid ALL of your money beforehand. If you don't, don't say you weren't warned. There are people in this wide world of ours that are taught, beginning as a young child, that this is the way you do 'business' - and a wedding video is 'business' too.
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Old November 23rd, 2010, 12:18 PM   #20
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If I put music on the dvd that they like, I know they will already like it just for that reason. You might have a couple that is into heavy metal and you might be a Beethoven fan, I don't see how that would work :)
Wouldn't you have a good idea of the type of music that would work for the couple from discussing this with them ahead of time? I'm asking because I don't do weddings but have been asked and am contemplating it. But coming from a background with corporate videos and movies where things are very well worked out prior to the shoot, I'm not sure how much is usually done prior to the event with the couple. I know that there are tons of things happening prior to a wedding and I'd imagine it is easy for the B&G to look at coordination of the video details as a low priority.

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Old November 23rd, 2010, 01:14 PM   #21
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I see it different, it's not my product, it's theirs.If I put music on the dvd that they like, I know they will already like it just for that reason. You might have a couple that is into heavy metal and you might be a Beethoven fan, I don't see how that would work :)[/QUOTE]


I don't think the videographer in question uses music that he personally is a fan of. He probably uses music that works with his style of shooting and editing. I try not to let the bride choose the music either. I'm the biggest Doors fan around and that doesn't mean "Light My Fire" is going to used in their video. I'm going to use songs that work with they way I shoot and edit and it has no bearing on if I'm a fan of that music or not.
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Old November 23rd, 2010, 01:27 PM   #22
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Wouldn't you have a good idea of the type of music that would work for the couple from discussing this with them ahead of time?
Not really , I can't guess what they like hearing and eventhough there are some music pieces that I think would work very well with my edits it can also be that the couple might hate it, that's why I simple ask and then I know that they will like it. For my feeling their choices do not always "fit" but when I play the wedding video and if I see that they enjoy some parts of the video when a certain song plays they choose I know I have done the right thing. It's not about what I want, it's about what the client likes.
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Old November 23rd, 2010, 03:07 PM   #23
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Not really , I can't guess what they like hearing and eventhough there are some music pieces that I think would work very well with my edits it can also be that the couple might hate it, that's why I simple ask and then I know that they will like it. For my feeling their choices do not always "fit" but when I play the wedding video and if I see that they enjoy some parts of the video when a certain song plays they choose I know I have done the right thing. It's not about what I want, it's about what the client likes.
Noa, I think there has to be a happy medium. For my videos, it is about what I want. My name goes on it. If I let every bride ruin the video with really bad song choices, I would probably never get referrals. I just turned down a bride that wanted to use Eddie Rabbit and Crystal Gayle songs. I told them no. I chose the songs for their video and they loved it.
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Old November 23rd, 2010, 04:02 PM   #24
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In my questionnaire that I send out. I ask them to give me 6 songs to put in there video. Secondly, I ask them "We have a database of songs. Do you give us premission to use our best judgement to choose songs for you if you don't give us songs to use?"

I also don't print there Blu ray until they like the DVD copy first. This gives them the impression that they can make changes, but I rebuttal back with a serious NO unless it's my fault.

Andrew makes a good point about choosing your clients carefully. I now turn down all Indian weddings because they are cheap and a pain in the butt to work with in the end. It's always the parents who call me about my services and that is a red flag, so I decline. Feels good to choose your clients but some people don't have that option.

I also bold all the things in my contract that are a must for them to read. If they don't read it that's not my fault.
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Old November 23rd, 2010, 04:16 PM   #25
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I do some corpate work as well and there I don't have to tell my clients that it is all about what I want :) that would surely not be accepted, so I don't see why I should treat my other "wedding" clients any differently?
It's my job to make it work for my client, even if their wishes seem a bit odd, If they like what you did they will spread the word anyway about how good they think you are and that's the best advertising you can get.
That approach has not resulted in any referal losses the past years, on the contrary, referals have been increasing so something must be right.
I think the risk of people not liking the music you choose exists as well because maybe they are polite and don't tell you and behind your back they will tell people that they expected a bit better but you never will know.
At the end it seems to work for you and it also works for me so that's all that matters, right? :)

Last edited by Noa Put; November 23rd, 2010 at 04:38 PM. Reason: typo
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Old November 23rd, 2010, 04:36 PM   #26
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Andrew makes a good point about choosing your clients carefully. I now turn down all Indian weddings because they are cheap and a pain in the butt to work with in the end.
On that I can agree, I never have any problems with a typical christian wedding but have had some bad experiences with weddings from other cultures/countries. After the last problems I had with that Indian wedding I think I will not accept anymore of those even though I love filming them.

The problem often lies in the difference in culture and the fact that the couple assumes a lot of things as normal because in their country it's considered very common but they don't tell you.
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Old November 23rd, 2010, 07:34 PM   #27
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My point is simply, I choose clients... or choose to do business with brides who are only willing to put their complete trust in me. That's it. ...
Andrew, how do you turn down clients? I have had several that I knew it might potentially be a problem. They pose silly questions and even asking me what type of limo should they choose (?!).. as I just started, I took every clients on board.. but in the next year or so, I think I will have to start choosing the clients.. but how do you turn down the one you think will be bad for you without being discriminating?
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Old November 23rd, 2010, 08:49 PM   #28
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I let my clients know in the consultation that I am interviewing them just as much as they are interviewing me. I let them know that I'm not going to be a fit for every bride and not every bride is going to be a fit for me. I'm not worried about discriminating, if I think there is going to be a problem I simply tell them that there is a good chance they aren't going to be totally happy with my product... leave it at that. It works! Some people are wild about Picasso.. some, not so much. Why would you want to work with someone who isn't in love with your work to begin with? You're only setting yourself up for a major pain in the you know what by taking on any job that comes your way.

Noa,
Divinci painted the Mona Lisa... It's Divinci's work (product) not Mona Lisa's. Consumers commission artists to paint them pictures all the time... the paintings are the work of the artist... not the customer, even if the customer requested the scene in the painting. Why should it be any different with a film. Sure, you're documenting the brides day, but who's the artist hear? You or the bride? If I allowed the bride to control my work I would feel like a camera man and not a filmmaker and my job would get old REAL fast... fortunately my clients trust me and hire me for the artistic decisions I make and it is great! I enjoy what I do so much more and the clients are always happy.
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Old November 24th, 2010, 05:52 AM   #29
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Hey John

Good point actually... what happens if you try to be as non-accommodating as possible and refuse every request and they STILL want you??? Would it be a blemish on your reputation if you said that you don't want to do their wedding?? What's the chance of getting bad-mouthed ???

The only few clients that I met and seemed a little over-demanding or wanting things I wasn't prepared to do (we want to instruct during the editing!!!!) luckily ended up never booking me thank goodness!!

Andrew?? my only real concern is that after they say "You are perfect for us, we love your work etc etc", how would they react if you say to them "I don't want to shoot your wedding!!" Is there a nice way to turn clients down without hurting their feelings and/or damaging your reputation???

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Old November 24th, 2010, 06:12 AM   #30
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"As we sit here thru this interview process it occurs to me that we may not be a good fit for you and here's why....(explain in simple terms the points that do not match to you or your style, IE; control over editing, control over whatever, we want this, we want that...),,, let me offer a few names of other people I know that might be able to help you out"

Now at this point if they really want to use you after you have told them that you aren't a good fit in most cases (at least in my experience) people will realize they are asking you to change so much that you are no longer you and will come down off many of those points. Some points can be comprimised, some can not. For those that can not be then you must stand your ground. For instance, they DO NOT get control or input over the edit process. PERIOD. If they have a problem with that then you MUST walk away. RAW footage on the other hand, well, I'd hate to lose a job that could put a couple of grand in my bank account because of RAW footage and putting a few tapes to DVD with a disclaimer on it and tossing it in if need be to satisfy the client and either get the job or keep them happy. Again, there are so many variables that there is no one right answer. I have no problem turning down a client if I feel they are being unreasonable in things they are asking for but also keep in mind many ask simply because they are told to in the bridal magazines they read. When we discuss the T&C of my agreement and settle on the coverage many if not most time people realize that they don't need to worry about the things they were worried about before and they are hiring a professional who will do the job as described in the agreement.
If at that time they still have doubt, I'll walk away. I don't need grief and stress anymore but thats just me.
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