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Complaint about a good client

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Aaron Cadieux
Complaint about a good client
on Nov 2, 2012 at 3:58:22 pm

Hey All,

So I have this corporate client. They're a pretty good client. They throw a lot of work my way, and they pay on time. My only complaint is that they use me for post-production only. They have an in-house employee who has been shooting their video for them. Their shooter has no training in shooting video. So, in a nutshell, I get very poorly framed, poorly lit, over-exposed, shaky hand-held raw footage to work with on a regular basis. I am pretty happy with some of the editing I'm doing for them, but I can't use any of this work on a demo reel to show to other clients. I don't want my other clients thinking that I shot the video. Even if I inform my clients that I didn't shoot the video, the quality of the footage is bad enough to detract from any good editing.

I'd love for this company to consider using me to shoot their video. I know that money is the major roadblock here. Have any of you run into a situation like this in the past, and if so, how did you handle it?



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Mark Suszko
Re: Complaint about a good client
on Nov 2, 2012 at 7:10:53 pm

Volunteer to come workshop with the guy for x hours. After the time limit, more training is billed.

I would take the shooter out for drinks or tacos or whatever. Off-site. Just the two of you. Get him talking about his work. When he admits he wishes he could do better, offer to teach him a few things for free, just between the two of you. Consider it an investment in the quality of the elements you will get to work with. Offer to do it at your place or someplace neutral.

Bring a sample reel on your phone of his worst shooting sins. Then show him hands-on what basic things he can do to make it better the next time.

You're thinking to yourself: "this is nuts, I'd be training my own competitor."

No, you are not. He's not likely ever to be your competitor. You are reducing your repair time cleaning up bad stuff so you can be a more cost-efficient editor. You are freeing up time to be more creative or more productive.

He is not your competition: he's a tool. He is a channel you are using to reach to the client and give them a better product. You are demonstrating commitment to that client. You are building trust. That's going to eventually end up with them asking you to supervise the shooting yourself.

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Mads Nybo Jørgensen
Re: #Complaint about a good #client - stop moaning
on Nov 4, 2012 at 10:20:56 am

Hey Aaron,

Please don't take offence, but I think that you need a bit of tough love.

That shooter is your client. Without that shooter, you might very well be getting no work at all. Best case scenario is that the shooter is the CEO's grand niece or neighbours son, worst case is that your client fire that person and hire someone full-time who is also very good at editing...

It is very true that 90% of corporate post production in the low and mid budget range is to save someone else's work - you just need to learn how to offer it as a service, and make good money from it.

With regards to your show-reel; you should not be reliant on one client only to supply material for this bit of your marketing. If you can't get any shooting jobs, go and shoot your own corporate video. Stand-ups, interviews and good composited pack-shots are always in demand - and once you have your show-reel, the most obvious place to share it: With your existing clients. They might even hire you to train the in-house shooter, or ask you to do the more important communications. In any case, there are normally better budgets in consulting and producing, than there is in shooting and editing.

I hope you don't mind me making this next observation: If you click through on your name to your COW profile, you'll immediately notice a number of posts about you not being happy about your job or your employer or your time off - this is all too much negative stuff.

Take it from someone who has been many times on that side of the fence and start with cherishing what you have, and consider how you can positively improve on what must be an amazing situation; you have a wife, a beautiful kid about to arrive imminently and work coming in - what is there not to like about this?

All the Best

@madsvid, London, UK
Check out my other hangouts:
Twitter: @madsvid

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David Eaks
Re: #Complaint about a good #client - stop moaning
on Nov 4, 2012 at 5:55:25 pm

Some good advice here but I think before offering to advise the current shooter, offer to shoot one project for free. If you can impress the client enough, discuss your rate. If they don't go for it offer a discounted rate after so many shoots (not a discount now and more expensive later). If still no go, try what Mark said, work with the guy and help him to shoot better quality video... For your sake.

But, If you truly are unhappy in what your doing for a living, better to start trying to figure out something that you at least moderately enjoy doing, which can pay the bills and support your lifestyle. How could anyone be happy doing something they loathe, everyday? Either count your blessings and bask in the glory of having income, or make a change for the better... Then count and bask.


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Noah Kadner
Re: #Complaint about a good #client - stop moaning
on Nov 6, 2012 at 12:47:20 am

Yeah I hope the client doesn't read this web page or they might become an ex-client. The customer is always right. Surely you have other stuff to put in your reel and if you don't, hit the pavement and find some more clients.


Call Box Training.
Featuring the Panasonic GH2 and Panasonic AC160/130.

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Tom Sefton
Re: Complaint about a good client
on Nov 6, 2012 at 10:58:18 am

I'd echo everything said here.

If you really want more work from them, you won't win it by complaining about the standard of the footage that the in-house guy is shooting. Either they will see the added value in using you because some of your work looks so amazing next to theirs, or they won't. Either way, a delicate delivery of a recent showreel to the right person (to show off a new camera or rig or something)is as far as you can possible push this without starting to annoy them.

They give you work and they pay on time - I guarantee that there is someone within 50 miles of your business that will take this client for that description only.

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charles meadows
Re: Complaint about a good client
on Nov 11, 2012 at 7:18:52 pm

From my experience in this industry you sometimes have to except you have your "Fantastic" clients and your "Bread & Butter" clients. By the sounds of it this one of yours is the latter and best to leave it at that.

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Kylee Peña
Re: Complaint about a good client
on Nov 28, 2012 at 2:38:26 pm

You know, when you Google your name, your COW profile comes up above the fold. And this post is at the top of it.

Something to keep in mind when you're talking about specific clients. Just sayin'.

twitter: @kyl33t

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