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Knowledge & What Its Worth

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John Grote, Jr.
Knowledge & What Its Worth
on Apr 7, 2009 at 2:43:59 pm

Good day all,

I have run into a situation that I have encountered before and I know some of you have run into this as well, the old a friend of the client needs a file/logo (jpeg in this case) for something they are doing. Ok great, what do they want, file, size, with or without alpha, etc., you get the drill. "Oh, they just need a jpeg." Ok great, give me a moment and I'll make that happen...

...Next day, well that jpeg is over white. Well, no it isn't it has a alpha. What are they supposed to do with it I am asked. How am I to know? What program are they using? Is it AVID, FCP, Premiere or something else? Uh, I don't know, I'm told. Well duh, how am I supposed to tell them how to use it, or for that matter since this is knowledge that I have gained over the years, that I have added to my skill set and makes me valuable in the work place. Should I just give it away?

Don't get me wrong, I love helping people out, and anyone that knows me will tell you that, but it gets to a point, that the reason I get paid what I get paid, is what I know and how to put that knowledge to use. Another example is that I freelance for a large company and they had asked me if a new freelancer could set in with me and not a staff person and I told them no. Once again, it is not my job (especially as a for hire person) to train another freelancer. Why was I asked? Because I am damn good at what I do, to the point, that I am better than some of the staff people, not all, but some of them. So why should I train another, sorry but I have to say this clueless freelance, that doesn't know anything, but says he does and give him a leg up on what I do and at some point, take my spot?

Sorry for the rant, but I also would like to get feed back on anyone else who has encountered this and how you may have dealt with this issue.



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grinner hester
Re: Knowledge & What Its Worth
on Apr 7, 2009 at 3:55:48 pm

You'll find the client seldom knows much about anything. Just be in the oppeasing business. Give em a jpg. If they need a different file later on, send it on.
I learned a long time ago that if producers wanted to know how this stuff works, they'd not be a middle man.

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John Grote, Jr.
Re: Knowledge & What Its Worth
on Apr 7, 2009 at 4:29:54 pm


I'm not disputing the fact of supplying them with what was asked for, but the fact that I now need to tell them how to use it.

I worked for a post facility that had a client purchase a Final Cut Pro Suite, so that the client now could do a lot of work internally. Which meant that we at the post facility would get less work, which means less income. Well, I would get call from them fairly frequently about how do you do this or how do you do that? It gets to a point that I am now once again teaching someone (in this case a client, who moved one of their producers into the edit chair) about editing so that they may take money out of my pocket.

It gets old after a while. I am a professional editor for a reason and a damn good one at that, so if the client wants to hire someone with no experience, that is their problem, not mine. Now if they would like to pay me a consultants fee to teach their employee, than that's fine. But I don't work for free when it comes to taking food off my table or money out of my pocket.



J. Grote, Jr.

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grinner hester
Re: Knowledge & What Its Worth
on Apr 7, 2009 at 5:16:54 pm

Just quote em your consultation fee. It's the most diplomatic way of saying rtfm that I know of.

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Mark Suszko
Re: Knowledge & What Its Worth
on Apr 7, 2009 at 4:29:25 pm

I feel your pain. I think many of us have gotten the request: "We need you to make a CD of this VCR that we can run on the movie projector." What does that even mean??? If you think you know, the client will surprise you by meaning something else, it will often be "that was what I asked for, but not what I wanted":-)

I told this story before:
-Secretarial type: "This DVD doesn't play video on my computer".
-Me: "It's not a DVD, it's a video file on a CD".
-S: "My computer doesn't play DVD's, it plays CD's, but not this one".
-M: Well, does your computer have Windows Media Player?"
-S "How should I know? I just want to play this DVD."
-M: "CD".
-S: "Whatever. Can you fix this?"
-M: "Open the CD using Windows Media Player, it has a video file which should start playing it".
-S: "The CD is already open, I took it out of the case and put it in the machine".
-M: "*sigh*

Some folks are never going to bother learning the lingo, much less standards. Or they are just incapable. That's why they depend on your professionalism to figure it out. Frankly, if we do our job, the product is always very transparent and goof-proof to the end user. What this lady above needed was a CD set to auto-run a WMV file, but nobody told the producers that, they just assumed a competence level that the end users didn't really have.

I will sometimes send the puzzled client a form with blanks for them to fill out, if I don't have the time to walk them vocally thru a script of questions describing their graphic needs. Or I'll write down the steps to "save as" and describe the settings I want out of them. You have to take the attitude of being a consultant and a little bit of a teacher.

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grinner hester
Re: Knowledge & What Its Worth
on Apr 7, 2009 at 5:20:32 pm

well laugh as ya may, the last boss I had sold DVDs and CDs and had no idea there was a difference in the two.
It was like who's on first everytime I met a deadline.
Bret would stoll in at 5 with his coat on with a "hey grin, that DVD ready?"
I'd be all like "DVD!? dude you told me you needed a data cd this morning!"
"yeah, the cd. do you have it?"
"well yeah but do they need a DVD?"
"dude I didn't make a DVD!"
"whats this?"
"a freakin cd, man."
"cool, thanks."

this was my life for two years.

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Mark Suszko
Re: Knowledge & What Its Worth
on Apr 7, 2009 at 6:54:57 pm

The new version of "Who's on First?"

"What's your format?"
"What kind of Quicktime?"
"A Quicktime Movie, what are you, an idiot?"

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John Grote, Jr.
Re: Knowledge & What Its Worth
on Apr 7, 2009 at 6:56:09 pm


Couldn't have said it better myself.

J. Grote, Jr.

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Peter Ralph
Re: Knowledge & What Its Worth
on Apr 7, 2009 at 7:37:39 pm

easiest is to stick with email, keep your responses precise and specific and make sure the entire thread is maintained... so:

Q: please send image
A: sure what format?
Q: jpeg
A: here ya go
Q: that image has a white background, I need transparent
A: jpeg does not support transparency - do you want a png?
Q: yes please.
A: here ya go
Q: thanks - this other guy I'm working with is a complete moron

Insisting on email and keeping yr responses as short as possible are key.


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denise quesnel
Re: Knowledge & What Its Worth
on Apr 7, 2009 at 8:35:35 pm

This entire thread is hilarious to read, and also pretty painful. I think we have all been there at some point.

John, you were asking what other would do in your situation, well its best to keep your business as a priority so I would absolutely charge a consulting fee for your assistance. Just make sure this is communicated before they receive an invoice or even agree to using your service. They need to understand you are not technical support. I give people the benefit of the doubt, as others have brought up some people are just not technically experienced or inclined. The worst would be the ones that think they are, yet they are absolute Luddites when it comes to this stuff.

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Del Holford
Re: Knowledge & What Its Worth
on Apr 7, 2009 at 8:41:44 pm

LOL Sounds like one of our salespeople. They don't care what it is as long as it plays on their laptop and they can email it to the client.

fire*, smoke*, photoshopCS3
Charlotte Public Television
del underscore edits at wtvi dot org

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