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Advice regarding an Unbearable Client I don't want to lose

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Donell Hall
Advice regarding an Unbearable Client I don't want to lose
on Jun 16, 2011 at 6:38:51 pm

Hello, I have been a lurker on CC for years now just reading and learning. I finally created this account to ask this question. How do you deal with a unbearable non understanding client that pays well? Just to let you know, I am not complaining here, I love my job, I try to do the most I can for each client, I have no problems going the extra mile. I also fully admit that maybe I just dont know enough to help..I have always had a student mindset (been working 10 years so still early in my career) and I am never above admitting that something might be simply over my head.

Let get right to the point. This client has a master control system that contains streaming, dvd recording and of course cameras. As a freelancer my original job was to come in and op the remote Sony BCR-300 Pan/Tilt cameras and record the events to dvd. Just note that this is a place that is big enough that it should have its only in house video and audio guy.

The problem with this system is that its a mix of 10 year old equipment, 5 year old equipment and brand HD equipment. Its basically an adapter nightmare. The list of things that are wrong with this system would take me a hours to type but here are the main things.

1. About 5 different companies have worked on this thing in the years and you can tell that everyone had a "Eff it just make it work," thought process (which I dont blame them) hence the dozens of adapters about 5 Radioshack DA's and composite cable galore.

2. There is no way to monitor or control audio in or out from the room. Seriously. VU meters? Whats that? Monitor speakers? Huh? If a mic drops out I seriously have to get up, walk out of the Master control room, sprint down the hallway, enter the room where the show is going on, run downstairs to the Wireless audio rack then just try to guess at what is going wrong. (By the way, I am just a video guy who paid attention in audio class not a real audio guy...which I told them many times) Meanwhile I just have to hope that people are staying in frame 300ft away in the master control room.

3. They just slap a label on the dvd recording and hand it to their post production at all. No intro, no outro, no checking that the video is even there, I check of course but on their end it goes right from the dvd player to their customers hands.

Things go wrong constantly.

I am the 12th video guy they have had...surprise surprise. Now, I have only been there 2 months and already it seems like they think I have been there in house guy for 20 years. My contract has me show up one hour before a 2 hour show and op cameras, twice a week...thats it but they seem to think I am some type of "simply everything guy," they call me 10 or so times a week and want me to troubleshoot the system. Which is fine but I am a camera guy not an engineer, not an audio guy, and I am not really an employee of the company.

The bottom line is its the job of a Audio Guy, Video Engineer, Camera Op and Editor who should be there 20-40 hours a week all rolled into just me who is there 5 hours a week, an hour before each show.

I dont want to lose them (although I probably will) because they pay well and on time. Plus my wife is going back to school and we need the money. I just dont know how to please these people. They want me to rip apart their rack and fix all their problems but its beyond my control. I am not a video company I am a indie contractor.

Any thoughts from the community here?

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