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Old March 7th, 2011, 09:26 AM   #1
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What is right thing to do?

I wonder if you guys can help me with this matter since I have mixed feelings about this and I am not sure if I am over reacting or just being too naive.

For the past 3 years I have been working with the same 2nd shooter and whenever he needs a 2nd shooter, I work for him.
He has his own video production company and his own unique style which is way different then mine.
For the past few months I felt he has done some things, crossing the lines in my book.
For a start, he uploaded my footage to his website in order to promote himself in a specific hotel without asking my approvel.
Afterwords, he started copying my editing style 1 on 1 exactly just with different footage.
I do understand we all get inspired from different work we see and try to incorporate different style of editing to the one we have, but I don't understand why one would copy it exactly one to one.
Especially if they work with me.
THe last thing that really got me confused was that he booked a job with a client that was looking for my specific style which he does not provide and so he showed her my webiste and told her I work for him and that I will be able to make her wedding film the way she wants.
Though he did not tell me about it prior to his meeting with her or his promises to her.
He did tell me about it later and at that time I did not say a thing about it since I was kind of confused about it.
He also asked me to help him with the editing to make sure she will get my style of wedding video.

Now, I am not sure if I should go ahead and help him with it or not.
On one hand, I dont want to, since after all, we are two different businesses and competitors and would not like to shoot myself in the leg.
On the other hand, I feel that maybe I am over reacting here.

What would you do in my case?
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Old March 7th, 2011, 10:39 AM   #2
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Re: What is right thing to do?

Did you guys have any prior discussions or agreements on whether or not he could use your footage for promotional work?

If he broke that agreement, I would immediately stop working with him. However, if you hadn't discussed this with him previously, I don't think you have much to argue with, and I think it would be within his rights to use for promotional work online. You were paid for your videography services, you had to assume he would use it.

Personally, I try to use all footage when making clips that go online, but I will use a freelancers if it's better or I wasn't at that location.

You need to talk to him and discuss and make an agreement with him if you're feeling you're being treated unfairly. Or stop shooting for him altogether.
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Old March 7th, 2011, 11:24 AM   #3
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Re: What is right thing to do?

You need to understand that the footage come from a wedding that I did and a sign contract between me and the client, not him.
i gave him the footage just because he wanted to show his wife a show that was at that wedding.
a year later he decide he is going to use it for his promotions.
If It was me, I would ask first if it is OK and then I will use it, not the other way around.
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Old March 7th, 2011, 12:35 PM   #4
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Re: What is right thing to do?

Oh. That wasn't mentioned above. I don't know how he would think that was okay to do, at all.

I would stop working with him, for sure. Not sure legally what you can and can not do, or even if you wanted to go that route...but that's really, really wrong.
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Old March 7th, 2011, 12:42 PM   #5
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Re: What is right thing to do?

I think you are under reacting. The mere fact that he used your video as a promo item for his own business is enough for me to raise hell. That is a breach of business etiquette 101 in my opinion, I freelance for other studios and I am often approached by guest asking for my business card, I always get their information and hand it over to the studio that hired me. I could have given them my card but I believe in fairness.

Stay away from the guy, he wants to make money out of your expense. IMHO he burned the bridge a long time ago.
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Old March 7th, 2011, 12:51 PM   #6
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Re: What is right thing to do?

Its a difficuilt one. If he is giving you way more work than you him then walking away from your arrangement would severly affect your income, if on the other hand the work exchange is about the same its no brainer as you can no longer trust the guy. Either way it sounds like he no longer values the business relationship that you have and so its not leaving you with a great deal of choice.

Hope it works out for you.

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Old March 7th, 2011, 02:55 PM   #7
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Re: What is right thing to do?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noel Lising View Post
I think you are under reacting. The mere fact that he used your video as a promo item for his own business is enough for me to raise hell. That is a breach of business etiquette 101 in my opinion, I freelance for other studios and I am often approached by guest asking for my business card, I always get their information and hand it over to the studio that hired me. I could have given them my card but I believe in fairness.

Stay away from the guy, he wants to make money out of your expense. IMHO he burned the bridge a long time ago.
I agree with Noel. It is clear to me that this guy is using and abusing you.
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Old March 7th, 2011, 03:14 PM   #8
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Re: What is right thing to do?

I am not sure about abusing me but definitely using me.
The sad part tis that, this guy is very nice and we have great time together.
But I think that he is one of the people when it comes to push he push in order to get his needs.
It comes clear to me that I should not shoot for him ( he booked a job with a client that was looking for my specific style which he does not provide and so he showed her my webiste and told her I work for him and that I will be able to make her wedding film the way she wants.
Though he did not tell me about it prior to his meeting with her or his promises to her.)
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Old March 7th, 2011, 03:20 PM   #9
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Re: What is right thing to do?

I wouldn't be so blunt pushing him away because as you said you guys had a history, maybe if you stop hiring him and suddenly you are not available for him either, he'll get the message. Sad though if you had a rapport with the guy. But he crossed the line not you.
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Old March 7th, 2011, 03:41 PM   #10
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Re: What is right thing to do?

I agree with all of those who are saying this is seriously bad etiquette on his part by using footage he shot for you without asking you first. Every time I've worked for another studio I went into it assuming that the footage I shot was their property. They booked the client, they arranged the production, they're dealing with the post and the client afterwards. I'm just hired to show up and shoot.

That being said, I don't think the relationship is un-repairable. Before cutting him loose I would explain my end of the story (assuming you haven't already). This could very well be a misunderstanding, and he could be thinking he's doing nothing wrong and he is entitled to use the footage this way. Perhaps explaining how you feel about this situation in a calm, reasonable way will get the point across and you two can continue your business relationship. If he still doesn't understand your position, then it may be time to find another second shooter.
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Old March 7th, 2011, 04:04 PM   #11
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Re: What is right thing to do?

I'd suggest you sit down over coffee or lunch (somewhere with WiFi), take your laptop, say there's something you need to talk with him about, and bring up the page in question, turn it towards him, and just stare...

If he gets it, work things out, if he gets defensive or nasty, pick up the laptop and stiff him on the check!


I've said before, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, stealing is stealing... and should be addressed.

Sometimes people do things not realizing they are doing something wrong (or at least they are really good at feigning ignorance). Rather than let it pass, I personally would prefer a genteel confrontation, particularly since you seem to have had an acceptable business relationship in the past. If he's open to "repairing" the situation, I'm all for giving people a fair chance, then keep an eye on him.

I know we live in a "People's Court" mentality, but conflict and fighting is poisonous. Keep it professional, and I'll bet it "works itself out", if not, send a cease and desist letter to have the footage removed and go from there.

Just my take on "conflict resolution". The guy who takes the high road usually comes out ahead, how ever things transpire. And I suppose under the circumstances, you could use the old saw "keep you friends close, and your enemies closer" <wink>.
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Old March 7th, 2011, 04:07 PM   #12
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Re: What is right thing to do?

Thank you for all the reply

This is not the only issue and not even the issue I am much concern about.
I actually wanted to get more feedback about this

" THe last thing that really got me confused was that he booked a job with a client that was looking for my specific style which he does not provide and so he showed her my webiste and told her I work for him and that I will be able to make her wedding film the way she wants.
Though he did not tell me about it prior to his meeting with her or his promises to her.
He did tell me about it later and at that time I did not say a thing about it since I was kind of confused about it.
He also asked me to help him with the editing to make sure she will get my style of wedding video.
"
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Old March 7th, 2011, 04:13 PM   #13
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Re: What is right thing to do?

I think we all keyed in on the foisted footage because it's a sore point to have your stuff "borrowed"...

Perhaps he's expecting more from your "friendship" than you feel is "OK"? If it were me I'd say, hey, I'm pretty busy, but I can help you with the edit for $xx.xx/hr. You say he's already trying to emulate your "style", he clearly looks up to you as a influence, perhaps even a mentor... but sounds to me like he's pushing for "colleagues" or "partners", and this is making you less than comfortable?

You may need to sit down and "define boundaries", in a business like fashion, explain your discomfort with certain things, and see if it can be worked out - if it can be, great... if not, then explain you'll have to terminate or drastically reduce any association (don't forget the cease and desist letter).
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Old March 7th, 2011, 07:06 PM   #14
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Re: What is right thing to do?

Hi Dror

You could probably get an apology and his agreement that he will only use footage that he has shoot with you when you work as a team. However it does seem like he is deciding to use your joint skills and styles to further his own business!!

Chip Thome always said that " your 2nd shooter will eventually become your biggest competitor" so bear that in mind. If he has any ambition at all he will eventually want to do better than you, rather than working with you.

Maybe as already suggested, a talk with him to see if you can both reach common ground and both make a good living.

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Old March 7th, 2011, 11:47 PM   #15
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Re: What is right thing to do?

Dror, I was in almost the exact same situation as you. The woman I was working with had little experience, promoted herself using a wedding film I created 100% myself, and had a style that I wasn't too keen on. I decided to stop working with her. If she had more experience it probably would have been a different story, but I prefer working alone anyway.
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