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


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Old January 12th, 2007, 10:34 AM   #1
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Contract Talk... cancellations

Do you have a clause in your contract stating that if for whatever reason you aren't able to make it the day of the wedding, the client is entitled to a full refund?

I had never done this because I have back up videographers, but a client asked me if I would edit their contract and add this in. There is travel involved here, and I think that may be her concern, but I am not sure how to word this sort of thing. Any suggestions/advice is greatly appreciated!
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Old January 12th, 2007, 11:05 AM   #2
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Do you mean because they refuse to accept a substitute?

If for some reason, you didn't show up, wouldn't you refund their money anyway? So I don't see a problem with the clause.

But there is no way you would send a substitute, and ALSO refund their money. They would have to understand that as well.
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Old January 12th, 2007, 11:13 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vito DeFilippo
Do you mean because they refuse to accept a substitute?

If for some reason, you didn't show up, wouldn't you refund their money anyway? So I don't see a problem with the clause.

But there is no way you would send a substitute, and ALSO refund their money. They would have to understand that as well.
Yes, if I didn't show up, I would refund the money, but I don't have that in my contract and I'm not sure how to word it. She is okay if I sent a substitute. I guess what I'm saying is I always just assumed that was understood, and she wants it in writing.
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Old January 12th, 2007, 11:23 AM   #4
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Mine says basically:

*** Productions takes utmost care with respect to the production, editing, duplication and delivery of its video products and services. However, in the unlikely event *** Productions fails to comply with the terms of this agreement due to any event or act outside of the control of *** Productions, liability is limited to refund of any deposits.

You could put some kind of version of that in....
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Old January 12th, 2007, 11:25 AM   #5
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hmm.. the issue here is that if she invests in u, and u break ur leg, and a replacement is not sent, what good will the money do her if her day is not archived because she chose YOU...?
either replace the shooter or offer a refund AND compensation (if its ur fault that u didnt show up... )
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Old January 12th, 2007, 11:26 AM   #6
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"In the event that (your name here) is unable to perform during the entire agreed upon time period, either due to travel, equipment failure or other unforeseen difficulty, (your name here) liability is limited to a) providing The Client with compensation for time lacking at the rate of XXX(pick a fair number here based on the price of the package ) Dollars per hour based on a Ten Hour (10) shooting day or b) a refund in full of all deposit monies paid by The Client dependant on the point of failure during the event."

Meaning, if something were to happen PRIOR to the event starting and no coverage is provided then all money paid would be refunded however say you were going from the ceremony site to the reception site and were involved in an auto accident. Then you would only be liable for the time you weren't there-the reception. You've already shot the ceremony and I assume it would be edited so you're not responsilbe for refunding for that portion.

So assume the package was (for the sake of the math) $1000 and it would normally be a ten hour day. The hourly rate would be $100 per hour BUT some of that has to be billed off to editing. Again for the math say you billed editing at $50 per hour-so you would be responsible for $100 per hour of the missed time because you're not going to edit it since you don't have it. Or you could say you're hourly rate is $25 for shooting and $75 for editing. Again you have to determine whats fair. It can get a bit dicey sometimes so it's really up to you to find the right number.
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Old January 13th, 2007, 11:13 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Bloom

Meaning, if something were to happen PRIOR to the event starting and no coverage is provided then all money paid would be refunded however say you were going from the ceremony site to the reception site and were involved in an auto accident. Then you would only be liable for the time you weren't there-the reception. You've already shot the ceremony and I assume it would be edited so you're not responsilbe for refunding for that portion.
In fairness to the client, should you do something that prevents you from continuing coverage for the rest of the contract, I think I would want to edit what I could and offer a full refund- if it was obviously your fault. In Don's example of an auto accident, I agree with what he was saying. I wouldn't agree with that point however, if you forgot all of your equipment at the photo-session and you were therefore not able to fulfill your end of the contract due to operator error and yet you still wanted to bill them.

To get back to Dawn's original question, I think having something in your contract covering cancellation will provide much more protection for you rather than the client. It could be argued that having a photographer or videographer not show up is much more valuable than the number on the contract as there is no option for a reshoot.
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Old January 13th, 2007, 01:24 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Jefferson
either replace the shooter or offer a refund AND compensation (if its ur fault that u didnt show up... )
A "penalty clause"? Now, why the heck would you impose that on yourself when it isn't necessary?
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Old January 18th, 2007, 05:25 PM   #9
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Contracts are a one sided agreement to protect the person or business that's providing the contract. If your contract is not on your side, perhaps you should thing about re-writing it. My contract limits my liability to the contract price and all parties agree all disputes except for non-payment of monies due shall be arbitrated in the county that my business is based in. There is nothing wrong with editing a contract. Any concerns by both parties chould be included in the contract.

If "you" are not able to make it the day of the wedding and you put in the contract that they are entitled to a full refund if "you" don't make it, no matter who shows up, other than "you", they are entitled to a full refund. I believe that you work for your business and you're business should be responsible for videotaping, not you. Anyone who shows up is working for your business so you can't be held liable for not showing up personally.
If your contract is worded this way, it is protecting you.
Your business is liable only if no one shows up.

As far as offering additional compensation, who's working for who?
The bride is my employer. If I don't complete my work task based on the contractual agreement, I am not entitled to the money but I am not about to pay my boss because of incomplete work. My loss of salary is enough compensation.

Before you crucify me for not being more symphetic toward the bride, how many brides do you turn down resulting in no wedding video because they can't afford your rates?
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Old January 18th, 2007, 11:11 PM   #10
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I agree with Allen.. one thng i do though, is that i have 4 backup shooters.. so even if i have a clause that says i will give them a refund plus 10% compo (if nothing is filmed they get 10% on top as compo) have needed to do this as for one, ive never not attended a job, and 2, ive got 4 people to fall back on.

"Before you crucify me for not being more symphetic toward the bride, how many brides do you turn down resulting in no wedding video because they can't afford your rates?"

Sympathetic? Dude, we're in business here.. we are here to make money.. make a living, pay our bills and have a life.. theres no room for sympathy here.. when a bride spends 4grand on a dress which she will wear ONCE.. then box never to be seen again.. then to scoff at $2500 asking price to see said dress in full view and in motion forever.. it makes me wonder where their priorities really are....
When they spend a grand on a cake which wil lbe shat out the next day.. then shudder when we offer an SDE projection for $500... which do u think would be more memorable on the day?
But no..

Many peopl think my prices are too high, however i advertise where most people are on a tight budget, so ive had to reshuffle adew things to fit that advertising tasrget market. However im chaing my advertising route, and hopefully by asking higher prices, i dont have to work as hard, being that one job can counter 2 jobs..
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Old January 19th, 2007, 10:28 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Jefferson
Sympathetic? Dude, we're in business here.. we are here to make money.. make a living, pay our bills and have a life.. theres no room for sympathy here..
Then why commit your liability to a refund plus an additional 10%? I don't understand. Do you need that carrot dangling on a stick for motivation? "Something" must have made you adopt this parctice... be it sympathy or not. Do you use this policy for marketing purpsoses or is it just a blurb in your agreement?
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Old January 19th, 2007, 11:48 AM   #12
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Heaven forbid I can't make a wedding, heck, I've only missed one rehearsal, (and boy did I pay for that one.) I guess if I couldn't make it to a wedding, I'd send the great 'PJ' from Down UNDA!. And boy would that plane ticket be expensive.

Back to the issue at hand, my contract more or less says if I don't either show, catastrophee to my gear etc, that they get a refund. It's probably one of the stickyer points where I live because apparently there are vendors around here that cancel on people to a noticable degree. So when I go over that point of my contract, I just tell my clients that I have never missed a wedding.

If I made any alucid remarks, I'm recovering from the flu and boy is this a lot of fun. :}
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Old January 19th, 2007, 03:03 PM   #13
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Thanks!

Thanks guys for all your help. I did add a clause, similar to one above, simply stating that if I don't show... they get their money back, and if something happens in between the time I am supposed to be filming, like a car accident, they get a prorated amount back, depending on how much time is missed.

The clients were very satisfied with that and I intend to leave it in my contract now.
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Old January 20th, 2007, 05:30 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Allen Williams
Contracts are a one sided agreement to protect the person or business that's providing the contract. If your contract is not on your side, perhaps you should thing about re-writing it. My contract limits my liability to the contract price and all parties agree all disputes except for non-payment of monies due shall be arbitrated in the county that my business is based in. There is nothing wrong with editing a contract. Any concerns by both parties chould be included in the contract.

...
Sorry Allen but I have to disagree. Contracts are not one-sided but rather are for the mutual protection of all parties. Your clients shouldn't have to come see you with their lawyer at their side cross-checking your contract in order to be accorded fair and equitable treatment in their dealings with you. I'm tired of living in a business climate where it's every man for himself and to hell with any one else and anything you can get away with that benefits the business is okay. IMHO, the contract you offer in the normal course of business should protect both you AND your client and they should not have to negotiate in order to be treated fairly and with respect. We need to get back to the Golden Rule where you would not do to your client what you would not have them fo to you, not because the law or the courts or a contract requires it but rather just because that's the way decent human beings live together.
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Last edited by Steve House; January 20th, 2007 at 08:53 AM.
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Old January 20th, 2007, 07:08 AM   #15
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""Then why commit your liability to a refund plus an additional 10%? I don't understand.""

Because put it this way, if i say ""f PJ doesnt attend, a full refund is given"", as mentioned, if i need to use a backup, i am still legally screwed coz the backup is NOT me.. .. BUT.. if i say that ""yup, weve got 4 backups, PLUS myself (of course.. )"" and in worst case scenario NOONE can come to film the day, then as compensation, they get their refund (obviously) but for the fact that nothing was filmed due to it being our fault, theyre given 10% to cover for the ""stress" and or "anxiety" or whatever else might be used within a court to leach any compo claim.
Id rather have a 200-300 insurance backup and/or loss as opposed to the potential of being taken to court to be sued for thousands over frivolous and ""personal Losses"" and moreso, potential loss ""of memories" for the client.

Ive never had to fall back on this, but when u consider that theyre investing in you vs a dozen or so others .. and then you cant deliver, what will you do when a refund is not good enough? What will you do if they take you to court, and they use the ""i didnt even have time to look for a replacement videographer"" or the ""i dont even have any friend who could have taped it for us, so we have NOTHING"" ""I cant even remember our vows it went so fast... thats why we hired him""

U might be on your deathbed, but they WONT care (Last year in fact i WAS on my deathbed and some of my clients didnt give a toss... and this was when i thought of adding this, as some people just didnt believe i was in hospital when asking why i had someone else shoot their day and why some edits took longer than usual..
youd be surprised what lengths people go to to score a discount or refund.

Ive never needed to fall back on this, but im glad its there as once its signed, if anything does happen, at least i know i wont be losing too much... if anything... considering ive got another 4 shooters..
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