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-   -   Who's right, where do you draw the line? (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/taking-care-business/496982-whos-right-where-do-you-draw-line.html)

Chris Sgaraglino June 9th, 2011 11:31 PM

Who's right, where do you draw the line?
 
When dealing with a paying client, how far do you let them go with the direction of the project when you know with certainty, that it just is not going to work?

Do you lay down the ego and creativity and take the cash?
Or, push to take the project in your intended direction?

Thoughts...

David Heath June 10th, 2011 02:50 AM

Re: Who's right, where do you draw the line?
 
Ultimately, they are paying the money, they have the right to say what happens.

How would you like it if you got someone to decorate your house, said you wanted the walls painted blue, and they INSISTED they had to be yellow?

That's not to say you shouldn't advise, maybe even quite strongly, and if you can see that their approach may lead to disaster put your reservations in writing.

Brian Drysdale June 10th, 2011 03:21 AM

Re: Who's right, where do you draw the line?
 
The client is always right, even when they're totally wrong. Certainly you can point out why it's not going to work, but on a commercial production it's their call.

There are only some projects where you have creative control and those are usually the ones where you're putting up the money. Even on productions where you have the final cut, there may be pressure to change if the funders don't like it.

Les Wilson June 10th, 2011 04:49 AM

Re: Who's right, where do you draw the line?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Chris Sgaraglino (Post 1657150)
When dealing with a paying client, how far do you let them go with the direction of the project when you know with certainty, that it just is not going to work?...

I use these words frequently: "I CAN do it that way. However, an alternative that I think you'll like and will come out better is .........."

Brian Drysdale June 10th, 2011 05:16 AM

Re: Who's right, where do you draw the line?
 
In my dealings with art directors, composers etc they have developed the technique of presenting their ideas, so that the one they think is best comes towards the end of the list. They often don't just present one idea, but often three, so giving the client the impression that they're making the decision.

Eugene J. Kulak June 10th, 2011 05:33 AM

Re: Who's right, where do you draw the line?
 
Rule #1: The client is always right.

Rule #2: When the client is wrong, refer to rule #1.

R Geoff Baker June 10th, 2011 05:40 AM

Re: Who's right, where do you draw the line?
 
There is a line though, and you have to decide where it is.

Because left out of the 'you're paid and you do what you're told' argument is your reputation. Failed productions, or one's that reflect badly on your skills, will follow you. You earn your reputation one production at a time.

If a client 'requires' you to do something that crosses the line, respectfully and helpfully find another production company willing to take that client on -- and move on. Better to be remembered as the guy that was 'too busy' to work on a production than to be labelled the guy that produces crap ...

All that said, managing clients and managing client expectations is a required skill for this line of work -- if it is not a skill of yours, re-examine your role in the production.

JMHO
GB

Brian Drysdale June 10th, 2011 06:02 AM

Re: Who's right, where do you draw the line?
 
That depends where you are in the process. It becomes more difficult the further you go into the production, sometimes it does become a matter of doing the best with what you're presented with and making it work.

As one cameraman I know jokes with directors: "be careful what you ask for, you just might get it".

David Heath June 10th, 2011 06:12 AM

Re: Who's right, where do you draw the line?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Brian Drysdale (Post 1657185)
The client is always right, even when they're totally wrong.

Whilst fundamentally agreeing, the danger is that they may think they know best at the time - but when problems come home to roost later on, guess who they will likely want to blame? Themselves? Especially if money is involved in terms of reshoot etc.

Hence, if you really, really think something is a bad idea, make sure you voice your thoughts early on, in writing if you think the problem is going to be serious. Then do what they say......

Brian Drysdale June 10th, 2011 06:34 AM

Re: Who's right, where do you draw the line?
 
Yes, if it appears things are going to be problematic, flag it up well in advance. If it happens on the day of the shoot, try and cover it with a plan B, so you can have options or cover in post. However, there's not much you do if (for example) the MD or CEO really wants wants to be the on screen presenter and it's not their forte.

Wayne Reimer June 10th, 2011 08:38 AM

Re: Who's right, where do you draw the line?
 
I agree with everything everyone else has said...the client is ultimately the guy paying the freight. Depsite that I have been known to leave the camera and audio rolling long enough to comment that "we could have done____________in this way instead, and it would give a better result"

Since I shoot flash only, and NEVER surrender the card unless they pay for it in advance and provide it to me, I always have the master, with my comments. It's very quick and easy to edit out before the client gets it, but if something unpleasant develops down the line, I have the original footage that I can fall back on, with my commentary in place.

I've only used it once; and it was a classic situation of a director asking for something that was pporly thought out and not effecctive. We talked about it ( camera rolling), I expressed my concern and was shot down.

We did the shot the way she wanted to...the client did not like it and the Director immediately said that it was "the cameraman's fault" Since the client was refusing to pay based on that and a number of other issues, the production company wanted me to re-shoot some stuff gratis. I have no probelm with that if I messed it up; I have a huge issue when it's someone elses error.

That extra 50-odd seconds of footage I had saved me a full day of free work. I'm sure I will never cross paths with that particular director again ( no big loss on my end) which is a good thing; I'm pretty sure I'm off her Christmas card list. BUT...my integrity and my skill-set emerged unscathed. We did re-shoot some footage, we re-shot it much closer to what I had suggested in the first place, I got paid to re-shoot it, and the client got the product he wanted in the end.

It's a

John Isgren June 10th, 2011 10:53 AM

Re: Who's right, where do you draw the line?
 
One thing I used to do in the still photo world when the client insisted on a set-up that I knew was not going to work was I took a polaroid of the set-up and had the client sign the photograph stating that is "exactly met the requirements they were after" Then if the shots did not come out I could go back to polaroid if needed.

On a gentler side many times we would shoot it the way the client insisted, but then said "Let's try one this way...." and do it the way we knew would be better. 9 out 10 times the client selected our set-up over theirs when reviewing the final shots.


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