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


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Old June 8th, 2006, 07:05 AM   #1
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DJ has 'such a deal' for me...

Sorry if this is long, but bear with me. Just began doing wedding and event videography as a business this past December, so I'm still working on the marketing and business end of it to get it rolling. Ok, so about 3 months ago I came upon a wedding dj site in my area that posted video and photos of the weddings they had done on the site. The videos were dark and terribly done, shot with a cheap consumer camcorder, so I emailed the owner and mentioned that I had just started my business and I could greatly improve on the quality of his videos. I also mentioned I was looking to do a couple of free weddings to get some quality demo footage. He replied that he could hook me up with a couple of free weddings in exchange for helping him improve his demo dvd. I agreed. The first wedding in April went fine, I got to meet with the couple and arrange the details. The dj asked for some demo footage of him in action to show prospective clients, which I provided to him. Then he suggested that he could offer my best package to his clients and if they booked it, he would get 350 ($1850 package). I thought this would be a boost to business, and agreed, as long as I would be free to still do business otherwise. He added a small video services section to his website and things looked all right.
The second wedding I was not provided with the bride and groom's contact info, just the logistics of the wedding. It went quite well and the footage was great. So I posted demos of both weddings on my site and then emailed the dj, asking for the contact info of the b & g so I could mail them the package when finished. Here's the email I got from him yesterday:

As far as the (name of couple) wedding goes, the way I phrased it to them, I told them that I hired a videographer to take footage for my promotional DVD, and in return they could get a copy of the footage. Whenever the materials are ready for them, just send them to me, and I will forward it to them. Thanks.
I noticed on the demo videos, there was your logo in the corner (FTS Video). If I agree to subcontract your services exclusively for my videography services, I would prefer the logo to read “(his business) Video”. If I am going to be paying to advertise these video services, I need continuity with all the paperwork and advertising. Otherwise I would have to explain that I am subcontracting your services. That may actually be the case, however, clients would be afraid of hearing that word (subcontract). They need to think that it’s all the same company. The biggest thing for wedding clients when they shop for any type of vendor is that they want to feel secure with you and trust you. Maybe it would be better to create a written agreement between us that would last 1 year. Then we can modify it every year as things could change slightly.

Thanks for bearing with me on this long post. I just feel the need for opinions from others who have been in this business. I need the business, but I don't like that he lied to the couple about hiring me, or that he wants me to put his logo on my demo footage. Any thoughts, video pros?
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Old June 8th, 2006, 09:21 AM   #2
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all this was verbal right??

ok.. heres afew pointers..
1) NEVER do ANY work for ANYONE without a written agreement..
2) ALWAYS and i stress ALWAYS have contact details for those you are shooting for.What happens if your in a car accident? call the DJ?? its got nothing to do with him.. all he's done is refered a client to u and he's dipped in with a finders fee.. i do ths with photographers all the time.. but in the end, theyre MY clients..
If however youre marketing teh video DJ service as one, then thats another story.
3) Logos. Its your work end of story. If he wants the logo removed, he should pay you the full amount for the product. Like any other private client.
The fac tthat youre paying him a finders fee dont mean shit. If hes MANAGING the client then he has a point, however i wouldnt trust my name with ANYONE else.. what if HE stuffs up?? This is detrimental to YOUR name..
4) I never sign contracts of exclusivity. ive got corporate bigwig clients who want me to do that and exclusively service them when they need me on a whim. But even with that amount of money, i wont do it.. why?? Coz what if i only get one job out of them??

--Heres a suggestion..
take each job as it comes. YOU manage the video element for the client. U pay a finders fee to the DJ. The only way hes going to get a commision is when the client sayd that they were refered to you by the DJ. The DJ WILL know if ur trying to scam him, becuase he will see u at teh wedding, so dont even go there..
Now theres nothign untoward within that message that hes written, however it seems that he would prefer to maintain control over al aspects. More than likely, he wants to know how much money he can make from you as your talents evovle and the work starts coming through. Dont be surprised if he tells u that "these are big clients so i have to take 500 instead of 350 this time"

Be aware that in this industry there are money hungry people who have no regard to anyone else. Excuse my pessimisim, however even with teh positives of the possibiliteis behind what your doing, the fact that YOUR work is being marketted under a different name is something of a concern. IF however you draw up an agreement to be "the cinematographer and editor for the DVD production of XYZ wedding" then you can work under his umbrella and he can pay you an hourly rate as a staff member. Then he can manage all aspects of the job. all u have to do is shoot and edit.

IN the end, it really depends where YOU want this to go..
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Old June 8th, 2006, 09:25 AM   #3
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Hmmmm, sounds like he's trying to "buy you" instead of working WITH you.
I have a deal set up with a DJ as well, my demo plays in their office, my promo material is there but the difference is that when they book an appointment they call me, give me the info and if I'm available, I meet the client at their office along with a photog they set up with. If the client books me I give the DJs a very small amount for using their office (so does the photog) and I give the client a very small reduction of fees since they've booked at least 2 of us at the same time. It's kind of a 1 stop shop. I've know these guys for a number of years and it works out really well. I trust them and they trust me. I get additional work and they work with people they feel comfortable with so the job runs very smoothly. HOWEVER the video is MINE, my name, my logo, my money (except for the small kickback-and I do mean small) We've been doing this for about 3 years now and it's just been working very well.
It sounds to me like you need to talk to this guy and get some things straightend out, like whose name goes on the video, who collects the money, contact info, when the money gets paid, delivery etc. I would stop the association until these things get sorted out.
Don
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Old June 8th, 2006, 11:12 AM   #4
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Get yourself a solicitor so you know what you are entitled to if the DJ starts demanding things from you if you cant agree on anything.

As far as I'm concerned, all YOUR work is under YOUR copyright and NOT HIS (Under Australian law anyway.) And when working in Partnership, you SHARE the credits. And he has no legal leverage to force you to do anything to the authorship of the final cut.

If he wants to remove your water mark and replace it with his, refuse, and only accept joint authorship, you DONT HAVE TO... Its YOURS, no buts about it... he has no legal leverage over that, as well as your credits at the end. Accept nothing less, its your work, and YOU ARE being subcontracted for free... He has no legal leverage to demand anything thats not written on paper.
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Old June 8th, 2006, 11:51 AM   #5
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If you don't want to work under the conditions as he has offered, don't. He does have every right to atempt to hire you as a shooter/editor. There is nothing wrong with that. Do what is best for your business. If you are having trouble getting enough work you might want to take him up on his offer for a while. Keep in mind that he is also taking some responsibility as well as credit for the work if things go bad.

It sounds to me that you would be more comfortable if you just gave him a finders fee for jobs secured. In that case just tell him that is the way you wish to run your business.

Mike
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Old June 8th, 2006, 12:10 PM   #6
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[QUOTE=Leo Pepingco]Get yourself a solicitor so you know what you are entitled to if the DJ starts demanding things from you if you cant agree on anything.
QUOTE]


If that's attorney in Austrialian meaning, I agree.
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Old June 8th, 2006, 01:29 PM   #7
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Sounds like a bad deal to me: I'd advise against doing anything which downplays your efforts and the name of your company in favor of someone else. If he wants to refer people to you and collect a fee for that that's one thing, but having everything be in his company's name is not in your best interest. I'd say either insist on redefining the relationship or get out of it as quickly as possible, unless you're willing to work under the terms he's proposing. Go with your gut on this and don't let him take advantage of you!
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Old June 8th, 2006, 02:23 PM   #8
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Thanks for all the opinions on this situation--I had never intended to put his logo on my work and never agreed to work for him exclusively. It was all based on a phone call last month that seemed to promise me a bunch of business-- and he got me my two free weddings, which I appreciated and have passed him footage for his promo dvd in exchange for. I just emailed him back stating my conditions clearly and mentioned that if he wanted to subcontract me to do video for his company (and put his logo on it), then he should come up with a contract wherein he hires and pays me and handles the business end of any gigs I do for him, and I'd look it over.
Thanks again for all the feedback--my own gut feelings have been confirmed.
Vin
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Old June 8th, 2006, 06:43 PM   #9
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Good on ya mate...

In the future, be prepared with a written contract, stating what you are willing to do and what you expect. And never do bussiness unless the ground rules have been burned in the paper.

Other than that, lets hope you dont get too burned from this experience. Often, I hear stories of people who do the same and end up locked in because of some legality. If you can afford it, seek legal advice and know your rights and copyright laws. Having them stored in memory can save you from a sticky situation when someone will come to you saying you HAVE to do something when you know you dont.

Whats more is, never lose authorship of your work, unless your "other" (which can be your bussiness partner to your mum) is either directly involved in the process, or funding you.... And even then you share joint ownership, and NOTHING LESS....

good luck mate.
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Old June 8th, 2006, 07:41 PM   #10
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one thing i'd add, from my experience. it usually works to your advantage to approach the other party with a contract, instead of suggesting someone approach you with a contract. that puts them in the position of responding to your requests, instead of the other way around. if you define the terms, you'll never feel the victim.

put everything you can think of into your contract, and you'll look the professional, instead of the beggar.
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Old June 8th, 2006, 08:22 PM   #11
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I have to agree with Mike on this. Th DJ can do as he pleases and so can you.
Personally...I would do your own thing and find your own work on your own terms. you will not gain a reputation being "sub'd" out for work like you stated. you need your name attached to your work.....unless you are hard up for cash and dont care so much for growing your own business, you will be helping the DJ's reputation grow as a full service wedding vendor supplier....something like that anway!

My company gets referrals from planners very often and they expect zero compensation or finder fee's in return.....as a matter of fact they wouldnt accept compensation for it.
Our other vendors who we get referrals do the same....no compesation. WHen you provide excellent service and quality product, other vendors will refer you and if they "expect" money for the referrals.....they are not the kind of folks i want to work with. I do the same (referring) for all their services as well and dont want squat for doing it. if they are cool to work with and provide quality service...i am happy to refer them.








Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike F Smith
If you don't want to work under the conditions as he has offered, don't. He does have every right to atempt to hire you as a shooter/editor. There is nothing wrong with that. Do what is best for your business. If you are having trouble getting enough work you might want to take him up on his offer for a while. Keep in mind that he is also taking some responsibility as well as credit for the work if things go bad.

It sounds to me that you would be more comfortable if you just gave him a finders fee for jobs secured. In that case just tell him that is the way you wish to run your business.

Mike
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Old June 9th, 2006, 12:11 AM   #12
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totally agree with you Joe.

what I cannot understand with this bussiness is that when someone makes a refferal, they expect to compensated...

I mean, when I deal with potential clients who are shopping around, I will always point them to other videographers in the area if they dont like my services.

Personally, I'm the cheapest in the area because I'm relatively new, and I'm one of 2 people that offer High Deffinition (SD now, HDV later when HDV becomes mainstream) And I do make refferals, I wave and say goodbye... I dont call up the other bussiness' and expect comensation for helping them out.
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Old June 9th, 2006, 01:26 AM   #13
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"what I cannot understand with this bussiness is that when someone makes a refferal, they expect to compensated..."

Leo, here in aus, the market is so money hungry that its pretty much set a precedent for the mentality behind this way of refering. Alot of photogs started doin this when they couldnt accomodate a potential client, so to make SOME money from it, they started refering people and expecting a finders fee.. from there it evolved to include video and DJ work.
Youd be surprised how many Photogs believe theyre entitled to a cut in ur pay simply becuase they led someone to you... on the flipside, i refer photogs i work with but DONT expect a cut, as THEIR market is much larger than ours, id rather be friendly with them, and get them to bring the business to me. In the end, i jsut jack teh price up a bit to cover what im gonna pay the photog. But after afew years now, tehres abotu 5 phtogs tht i work really closely with and we dont exchabge any cash.. jsut cmpositions, ideas and mentalities... in the end, THEY will know your true value without the ida of $$ coming to mind and they will refer you simply becuase u make their job easier.
BUT what i found, was that alot fo the venues, coordinators, celebrants churches and the people OUTSIDE of the Phot/Video industry DONT do this... for them, so long as the client gets good service, they keep getting client referals (not pro referals)
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