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Wedding / Event Videography Techniques
Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...

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Old January 26th, 2006, 11:02 AM   #1
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Location: NY, NY
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I did a baby shower back in November the baby finally came, and the client received their DVD about 2 and a half weeks ago.

The problem now is, because my friend got me the gig I initially thought he was paying, dumb mistake. Without getting into why I thought he was paying, I'd like to make known that no deposit was made and the cost for this video is fairly cheap. I now know don't deliver until payment is made.

To gain the professionalism I lost due to my lack of communication/assumption, I'm putting together a form which will be handed to the client deciphering what their costs are in details pretty much an invoice.

What should I include on this form?

So far I have:

- Capture time
- Editing time
- Authoring
- Materials
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Old January 26th, 2006, 11:47 AM   #2
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Well... I'll be honest with you. I don't think it's professional to go back to someone that never really had an agreement with you and give them an invoice.

Also - I never breakdown my expenses on a invoice or get too specific. Flat rates are the way to go. Be vague.
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Old January 26th, 2006, 12:49 PM   #3
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hmmm... interesting so at this point and time there's nothing to be done, but wait?

Anyone else?
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Old January 26th, 2006, 01:12 PM   #4
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It doesn't matter who got you the gig, you worked for the client and without any kind of written agreement with them, I think at this point in time you're pretty much out of luck.

To prevent this happening again. from now on make sure everthing is spelled out in writing before you shot the job and generally some money needs to change hands when the agreement is signed by the client. This way they know what to expect from you as far as work and what its going to cost them and you know what to expect from them as far as the work and when you're getting paid.
Even after doing work for some corporate client for about 10 years everytime I do something for them there is still a written agreement and some amount of money changes hands before I do the work.
Hard lesson to learn but I know you won't do that again.
Sorry it happened to you but it's happened to all of us t one time or another.
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Old January 26th, 2006, 06:40 PM   #5
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Because you didn't have an agreement regarding payment before your started, I would suggest you "bite the bullet", as it were, and treat the event as a learning experience. Analyze the skills you used in shooting and editing and use them to your advantage in future bookings.
Make no mistake, everyone who posts here has done similar things and, quite frankly, continue to make the same less-than-profitable decisions when dealing with new customers in an new industry. I've done it lots of times, and (regretably) will probably continue to do so. It takes a bit of a learning curve to lock on to the "lingo" of a particular industry. Indeed, I just sidestepped a potentially lost piece of business by, in archaic military terms, "making a demonstration" to get attention. I got paid instead of having to really threat litigation (this tiime).

It is all part of doing busness. A completly different world than the one we need to focus upon.

Good luck in your ventures.
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Old January 27th, 2006, 12:53 AM   #6
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I agree with the above posts. Pretty much nothing good can come from going to someone who never had an agreement with you for payment and asking them to pay. You'd be better served by turning over the project (which it sounds like was not a large project anyways) to them without incident and perhaps you will get referrals in the future.

I also agree that your invoices should be somewhat vague. You have to be clear in what the client is paying for, but you don't have to break out your costs like it's a grocery receipt. All that does is encourage those pesky problematic clients to start haggling you over every little thing.

I'm sure you've learned your lesson about getting a signed contract from the payee first, but here are two further tips for you . . .

Get some sort of a payment with the contract. In a court dispute, having payment (even $1 worth) on a contract really limits a client's ability to weasel out of a contract. It can be as little as 5% or as much as 75% depending on the project. Just get something up front AND a signed contract.

Don't ever waiver on your contract and retainer policy. Down the road you will have moments where it will be very tempting to "make exceptions". Most of the time this is a really bad idea. DO NOT make exceptions. If someone isn't willing to sign a contract and make a retainer payment, then they aren't serious enough for you to worry about losing. I recently gained a corporate client (for the ad agency I own/operate) that was ready to throw money at me as we proceeded. He didn't even want estimates. He just said to bill him for my time. While it's a very generous offer for an honest client, you can't take the chance that you won't get paid. I explained my policy, and although he felt it was unnecessary, he respected my professional approach and all is well. So, don't make exceptions. You'll sleep better at night.

Black Label Films
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Old January 28th, 2006, 12:49 PM   #7
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Are you saying there was an agreed upon amount? If so, are the clients not willing to pay? Most people are decent and won't feel comfortable with you working for nothing if no animosity has been created. Please explain the situation in detail. I agree with others that you need to tighted up your contract. It's a good idea to get a deposit. A deposit also makes the final payment smaller. There is nothing worse for your business then to hit a client with a large bill they are not expecting. That way lies madness.

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Old January 29th, 2006, 10:34 AM   #8
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Let me explained what happened Michael.

This friend of mine says... I have a baby shower for you to do
he's a big fan of my work and always encourages me... So I say ok cool
I'll get back to you regarding the price.

He then tells me that the price sounds good. At which point I pencil him in
and go about my business... I get to the place a few weeks later he's there helping and enjoying himself. After about a month and a half
of the family asking for the DVD, I deliver...

Feeling that he had worked out all the matters with the family, seeing as how there wasn't any involvement or any exchanging of numbers so that we can speak directly.

I felt it would be a week tops before I receive this very small payment.
Now it's been about 3weeks and he says to me he's working on it. He wants to talk to me about making a contract (since he is a lawyer). I then say to him I shouldn't have assumed you treated this relation professionally seeing as he knows that my profession is videography. I now know that no matter what or whom well before we can get a price going I need some details and the signing of a contract as well as a deposit.

See the concept that Ash Greyson (from this forum) has said:
Do as much as you can to start, even if it's for free and if your good work will find you.

I have taken it out of context, and that even though I'm building my reel
and getting my name out there. At the end of the day all the running up an down, wear and tear on my equipment comes at a price.
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Old January 29th, 2006, 10:52 AM   #9
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Ask your friend to intervene

If the cleint knew the terms and your friend acted on behalf of both parties, let your friend collect. You could also try Small Clams cour, but mostly you should just chalk it up as a learning experience and be glad it was only a baby shower. Also, I would wish real hard that the DVD becomes defective and they need another copy.
Paul Cascio
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Old January 29th, 2006, 11:30 PM   #10
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Yeah a defective Dvd God knows what will happen...
I have made a few phone calls to this guy, but he's doing his best. Good thing I didn't charge more...
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