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Awkward Situation

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L D SheaAwkward Situation
by on Oct 22, 2005 at 12:17:39 pm

I recently had a bad experience with a company for which I

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Jon ZanoneRe: Awkward Situation
by on Oct 25, 2005 at 11:40:52 am

By all means, reestablish communication. If you don't, they will assume you've skulked away like a... really bad thing in the night. Better yet, call, and if appropriate, drop by for a short visit. You did the correct thing by owning up to your mistake (you did save the suspect cable for testing later, right?). Regardless, keep those lines of communication open.


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Tim KolbRe: Awkward Situation
by on Oct 27, 2005 at 9:48:31 pm

I'd probably spring for the rental gear, BUT show it plainly on the invoice so there is a paper trail of your gesture...


Kolb Syverson Communications,
Creative Cow Host,
2004-2005 NAB Post Production Conference
Premiere Pro Technical Chair,
Author, "The Easy Guide to Premiere Pro"
"Premiere Pro Fast Track DVD Series"

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Todd at UCSBRe: Awkward Situation
by on Oct 28, 2005 at 5:41:35 am

It can happen to the best of us.
The fact that you tested it before hand (hopefully with the client watching) goes a long way to showing that it DID work, you HAD it working, and it SHOULD have worked again. No one can predicted when a cable will go out, but the fact it was working before makes it that much more unlikey that a cable should have gone bad. Just bad luck.

Todd at UCSB
Television Production

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debeRe: Awkward Situation
by on Oct 29, 2005 at 3:10:02 am

In any situation that goes bad, take responsibility for your part, no matter how much it may be someone else's mistake that started it all. (This case, it seems like a fluke and no one's fault, but in general...) That's the most professional and adult thing you can do, and consistency will be best for you in these circumstances.

Always take the high road and responsibility for your part. There will always be a weasel or two who will use your acceptance of your part as an excuse to not take responsibility for their part, even if their part was the catalyst and the real screw up. You can't avoid those people, and sometimes, you may end up being the sacrificial lamb to appease the angry client because weasels will cover their own a$$es and let ANYONE else take the blame for their failure...

But that aside, taking the high road every time ensures your credibility and it IS a karma thing. The weasels eventually get what's coming to them, and those whose opinions matter will know the truth once the situation has been rationally explained to them.

Do what you think is right and fair to make good, & own up to the faulty connector. Something that makes the most of the situation without making the whole thing morbid, like, "I'm really sorry this happened, here's what I'm going to do for you to make as good on this as I can, and believe me, next time, there'll be a second round of testing and backup connectors within reach!!". If the client usually has a sense of humor, after all the mea culpas, find a tasteful "Technology, sometimes it just has it's own plans!!" kind of thing to lighten the mood.

Don't make a huge deal out of it, but don't avoid it, either. Go until the person you trust most says "Oh, it's all over now, forget about it." or something. Then drop it!


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Bob ColeWe've all been there
by on Nov 9, 2005 at 8:38:01 pm

It sounds as if the client changed gears on you at the last moment, and didn't provide you with enough budget to rent a backup system.

I'd discuss it with your client as part of a debriefing. Rather than falsely claiming total responsibility, you should be honest. It WAS your fault ... in that you tried too hard to please your client and agreed to a risky plan. Insist, for the client's sake, that in future you have adequate time and money to prepare for the worst; have enough time to rehearse thoroughly, and bring as much redundancy as you can afford to the party.

As far as your sense of awkwardness with the client, respectfully, that's understandable but it's not warranted. Actually you are more valuable to the client now than ever. But having had this experience, you should show your client how you are going to benefit from it.

-- BC

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bogiesanRe: We've all been there
by on Nov 13, 2005 at 5:12:55 pm

This is a situation that can only happen in today's digital world. IN the olden days, 24 35mm projectors and a car-sized video projector or video wall set up for a big corporate event was so freakin' intimidating that few would think of changing the prezo at the last minute. The difference between "Heck, I can do this on my PC in a few minutes," and the challenge of integrating changes in different media sources at a live event is lost on boneheads.
And no one understand redundancy these days. Being prepared for anything is a lost art. Most prezo folks don't know the lamp in their data projector can (and will eventually) fail, let alone how to change it -- if they even have a spare. No one carries a backup PC or spare batts for the laptop. They don't use UPS at the venue. They don't even have spare batts for the laser pointer/remote.

I'm with Bob Cole, you cannot take responsibility for someone else's screwups by lying about it. That's still lying. You demonstrated your professional integrity: you did the rehearsals, you tried to accommodate their last minute changes and it worked. After that, anything can happen. Murphy's Postulate (it ain't a law) rules the audio visual industry in spite of digital toys. All you can do is be prepared within the limitations imposed upon you by your client.


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debeRe: Awkward Situation
by on Nov 20, 2005 at 6:53:31 pm

I don't get where anyone is suggesting that Mr. Shea lie to his client.

If it is in reference to my post, let me assure you, I wasn't suggesting that at all! If it read that way, I whole-heartedly apologize to Mr. Shea and the rest of you for my poor choice of words.

My point more general, and perhaps not completely valid for this issue. The lying is usually done by the weasels. I assumed that Mr. Shea is NOT a weasel, because he's concerned enough about what happened to ask for advice here. The crux of my post was to emphasize that he outwardly accept responsibility for his part in ANY failure, because that's the professional thing to do. Don't badmouth the gear, don't point the finger at someone else, don't do anything that makes you look LIKE the weasel. If you could have done something better, own up to that. But certainly I wasn't suggesting that he own up to things that were not his responsibility. Unless someone directly asks, "Well, who did what and why are they responsible for what happened?", don't go stomping around muttering, "If so-and-so hadn't done such-and-such....". (And I'm not suggesting that's what he did, either. It is a common response, though.) This is a good idea under almost any circumstance. He could just say that he would have like to have tested it one more time, and too bad it happened. To save face and possibly the relationship, he could offer to cover the cost of the rental gear, if he thought that was appropriate.

Being right is good, but being right at the expense of the relationship means you lose the client. You have to decide which is more important, and how big of a deal it really was, in 20/20 hindsight. After a few weeks, those huge "screw ups", if they are screw ups or just equipment failure, aren't so painful and don't seem like that big of a deal. But pointing the finger lingers, and that sometimes is harder to overcome than a failure.

Sorry again if I at all seemed like I was suggesting he lie to his client! That was certainly NOT my intention!


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