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Identification Of Pond Scum

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Andy StintonIdentification Of Pond Scum
by on Aug 3, 2005 at 2:37:41 pm

A recent thread has identified that


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Bill StephanRe: Identification Of Pond Scum
by on Aug 3, 2005 at 4:50:12 pm

Here are a few of my signs:

Customer wants hi-volume DVD replication, but will only give us the job if we can fix his iDVD project for free.

Tries to get credit account, but none of the references will respond.

Wants fixed price for editorial project, but balks at a cap on number of days or hours.

Sends messenger without a check to pick up a C.O.D. job, and then makes a stink about blowing his deadline when we won't release the job.

Orders the wrong dub and then want the job redone correctly for free or he won't pay us.

Has DVD-R copies made, then complains that the discs don't play, so he wants to keep the discs and not pay for them.

Bill Stephan
Senior Editor/DVD Author
USA Studios
New York City


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Andy StintonRe: Identification Of Pond Scum
by on Aug 3, 2005 at 4:55:13 pm

Good one. I forgot the DVD-R copy one!!! The PS never reads the disclaimer on the label.

Andy Stinton
Corporate Video
Live & Stage Events
Business Practices


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Michael MunkittrickRe: Identification Of Pond Scum
by on Aug 3, 2005 at 10:10:40 pm

My favorites are the ones who "have all the time in the world" to get the project done if we can come to a dollar amount that fits his wallet, as long as all the time in the world ends Friday at 12:00PM and the cost is about one sixteenth of what I'd normally charge. SOLD!

Or the agnecy that sends a "good client" your way but mentions that they aren't working with them in the future for "creative differences". I bet that "creative differences" are with the billing and not the projects.

Or the client who emails the jobs specs and needs "all the bells and whistles" and "money is no object" only to find that his version of bells and whistles are comparable to the feature Independence Day and the "money" that was unlimited three days prior has all dried up on other previously arranged projects. Sure, I can do that.

Or the fella who says "Bob from CVS Pharmacy sent me" thinking that seeing Bob in my ad on TV would help his chances at getting a cut-rate job. A phone call to Bob usually fixes these, but not always. By the way "Bob" in my spots was a paid actor from another state. Always a hoot!

Or, and this one is my favorite, the guy who shows up at your door with a identity pieces that he "created himself" in Microsoft Paint that clearly reads a well known company's name and tells me that I can just copy it and change the names he'll pay me whatever I need. Yep, I'm on it.

Too many good ones to list, but some of the best come from the limitless imagination/creativity of people with no imagination/creativity. I'm thinking of taking my material on the road as a stand-up act.




Michael Munkittrick
Managing Creative Director
Evolve Media Solutions

Forum COWmunity leader for:
Sony DV
Magic Bullet


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Frank OttoRe: Identification Of Pond Scum
by on Aug 3, 2005 at 9:27:55 pm

[Andy Stinton] "Dresses like Herb Tarlek."

Here in Las Vegas, it's the very white guy that dresses like Sammy...

And always to be added to that list of "ps"- WAYNE!




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Tim KolbRe: Identification Of Pond Scum
by on Aug 5, 2005 at 4:57:08 am

How about idiots at agencies who want a price before they have a fleshed out concept...discounted 20-30% so they can add their markup and have a zero net rate difference between them billing the work and the client hiring you direct.

Or...the clients who never get any of their obligations associated with the project done on time, then tell others that you can't make any deadlines...

OR...being forced to work with union stage crew in Vegas that couldn't have the foggiest notion of what they're doing because the client wouldn't pay my crews' fees and the "shadow" fees for the union guys. Then the project goes in the tank because the hotel's rental company can't read an equipment list AND the so-called "professionals" wait until rehearsal is 10 minutes late getting started before they tell me they brought the wrong gear...of course, the client refuses to pay my fees because even though there was only one of me fixing stuff while I had 13 people screwing it up...it was "my responsibility."

...uh...hypothetically of course.




TimK,

Kolb Syverson Communications,
Creative Cow Host,
2004-2005 NAB Post Production Conference
Premiere Pro Technical Chair,
Author, "The Easy Guide to Premiere Pro" http://www.focalpress.com
"Premiere Pro Fast Track DVD Series" http://www.classondemand.net


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Ron LindeboomRe: Identification Of Pond Scum
by on Aug 5, 2005 at 3:11:27 pm


Thanks, Tim... I read your comments and laughed so hard that I almost spewed my coffee all over the laptop screen and shot it up my nose....

...uh, hypothetically, of course.

;o)

Ron Lindeboom


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Frank OttoRe: Identification Of Pond Scum
by on Aug 5, 2005 at 3:32:38 pm

ummm...I'm one of those Union guys in Vegas.


But your point is valid. And you can't really blame IATSE...the blame is equally shared between the "client" and the labor contractor/rental company.

The client should know that the majority of the convention space (as in NYC and Chicago) is staffed by IATSE and has been since before Dino, Sammy and Frank. Most play stupid on arrival - oooh, I didn't know that this was a union house - when in fact, the convention sales people make it very clear before a contract is made. Then they cheap it out and don't do the shadow (which in Las Vegas is generally NOT man-for-man), or scale back the production on-site.

The other problem is the "rental houses" who try their best to skirt hiring the right person (too expensive, although it's a pass-through) and try to bring in someone like an AV tech when they needed an electrician/board op. They also cheap it out by using the union rules to bring in people on a two-hour call (720's min. for convention) so there's no rehersal and in many cases barely enough time for a set up before doors.

There's also a backlash to that - many highly qualified technical people won't take anything less than a 8 hour call, so the Union ends up sending someone who will, generally a less qualified or out-of-position person who has a card but not the skill for that particular job. The Union is in a position that they have to fill the positions with members, qualifications are determined by the client on-site. As I've said to our Local, holding a card for a particular skill doesn't mean qualified for the particular job - I've got every card there is and I can't program a Whole Hog, nor can I operate a remote head on a jib arm (although I'm a qualified/certified Chapman crane operator), yet I still get calls for those assignments.

Then you have rental houses (and I'm willing to state that this affects the majority here) who are spread way too thin on inventory, have "suits" in technical managment postions who can't read a plot and a corporate mentality that squeezes every one to lessen the labor costs.

The fact is that every major industrial show I've ever done here (Big Three auto mfgs., every brewer of spirits and beer, major fast food outlets, major software suppliers, etc) uses a highly qualified,, Union crew and they don't quibble over it. Microsoft, for example was a show I looked forward to - for a one-day six hour show we were brought in for a minimum of one set up day, two rehersal days and a strike day - their choice. I could also guarentee that the rehersal days would go 10-12 hours (for Comdex '94 we went round the clock - total of 32 hours on-site in one shift)and no complaints from staff about overtime.

And BTW, those shows I mentioned above were not produced by our local rental houses...they generally were produced by Caribeaner, 4Star, TTI, Staging Int'l and the like - not Encore (the worst) or PSAV or AVW (another really bad labor house). The real producers use a "letter of request" to get labor they know and booked in advance - the local contrators just "call the hall" and get whomever on the roster is willing to work that day.

I really do feel for people like you Tim and other producers who get stuck with a client who bottom lines everything, and still makes a very good profit while killing the quality of the production. Those are the guys who are real scum. They rely on the old addage that "the audience won't know the difference."

Cheers,

Frank Otto



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Seth BloombaumRe: finding the good locals
by on Aug 5, 2005 at 4:00:01 pm

Frank, I really appreciate the good crew available in L.V. and wish that I could get them consistently. But with only a show every year or two in LV, it's pretty much a crap shoot. Because we have to use a local signatory agency and we don't know who to ask for.

For example, last year booking a camera op who didn't know how to put a lense on a sony D30 or hook up zoom/focus on a studio config. Yeah, we shadowed in a couple of key positions (like our video engineer, for example) but how do we get some decent ops on our shows?

On the other hand, we've had some absolutely outstanding individuals as well. No, we don't cheap it out, typically we're one setup day, one setup/rehearse day, 1-3 show days, and an out day.


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Frank OttoRe: finding the good locals
by on Aug 5, 2005 at 4:37:18 pm

Aye, there the bitch....

Without local references or contacts you really are at the mercy of the local crewers - who get paid regardless of who gets the call. Many of them like to use crews as a reward for their "bigger" clients, as such they then will shuffle calls to accomodate the big guy even though they may have booked weeks after you.

The other problem is your right of refusal. If labor gets dispatched to you and they turn out to be unqualified, you CAN have them replaced...but you still have to pay their minimum call (2hrs) or the hours actualy spent on site. THEN you submit a letter of no-rehire - that keeps this person from being dispached to you again. It's not fair to you...but it is the contract.

Your best bet is to contact the people you used that you were happy with, obligate them before the show and tell the signatory (crewer) that these are the people you want and DO NOT SUBSTITUTE as they have already been booked by you and will accept the call. Some crewers try to put their favorites on - regardless of skill - and you do not have to believe the shuffle of "ok, I called that guy and he isn't availible - can you work with Joe MyGuy?" They also use the tired "I gotta use this guy first, he's got senority." (that's a biggie with the in-house staff - it doesn't pertain to your use of freelance, or bounce operators).

When you are happy with a crew member, get their contact info and ask them to refer additional ops - most of the really good-to-great ops have too much pride in their work to reccommend schlock - and they all have a list oif qualified folks they trust.

Cheers,

Frank Otto



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Tim KolbRe: finding the good locals
by on Aug 6, 2005 at 1:14:41 am

[Frank Otto] "Your best bet is to contact the people you used that you were happy with, obligate them before the show and tell the signatory (crewer) that these are the people you want and DO NOT SUBSTITUTE as they have already been booked by you and will accept the call."

This was Caesar's Palace...so it was Encore. A friend of mine works on the Cirque show at MGM...he has confirmed that Encore is just awful. It was so messed up that they must have put on extra staff to screw it up that much. They refunded the entire amount to my client with my help documenting the issues...then the client still wanted my fee refunded as well.

When the venue has that sort of policy, it has usually not bode well for me or my clients in Vegas as Encore is in waaay too many facilities.

I recently worked in Boca Raton and those guys were awesome, as well as the guys at the spankin' new Marriott property in Phoenix...even the freelancers I had to pull in from Miami for the Atlantis in the Bahamas were pretty good, but I've told my clients that I simply won't be taking a job where I'm forced to use facility crew ever again.

I can't afford that type of thing. In fact I may leave the corporate staging altogether...too many issues and too few dollars.








TimK,

Kolb Syverson Communications,
Creative Cow Host,
2004-2005 NAB Post Production Conference
Premiere Pro Technical Chair,
Author, "The Easy Guide to Premiere Pro" http://www.focalpress.com
"Premiere Pro Fast Track DVD Series" http://www.classondemand.net


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Seth BloombaumRe: finding the good locals
by on Aug 6, 2005 at 1:44:35 am

Ya' know, I'd like to continue this thread but I'm afraid I'll just get too depressed. Caesars is a rule unto themselves, too, Nevada state labor law literally stops at their doors. A buddy wanted to use his traveling IATSE card to work one of our shows there - it turns out that could be OK anywhere but C's.

Frank, if you're interested in working and referring on these occasional shows (sometimes I produce, sometimes I'm shadowed for some sort of tech op, but always a good producer and client) send me contact info offline at sbloombaum at yahoo dot com.


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Charlie KingRe: finding the good locals
by on Aug 8, 2005 at 6:09:20 pm

I have worked a few times with a guy out of Texas, that calls me everytime he comes to Las Vegas. I had to turn him down this year because I just couldn't get away to do the job, but he always gave me free hand to hire the crew I wanted. (I have always felt, surround yourself with good people, that makes you look good.) I even went so far as to find a payroller to handle that end what worked with me and allowed me to get the people I wanted.
By teh way, he does his work at Caesars also. You are not tied to the house A/V contractor, you can use anyone that is a signatory of the union here. I would never use Encore, or AVW to put a crew together.

Charlie


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Frank OttoRe: finding the good locals
by on Aug 8, 2005 at 8:54:58 pm

Seth:

Thanks for the offer...I'm pretty tied up with Flamingo/Harrahs' advertising and marketing at the moment...plus the ol' conflict of interest deal.

But thanks!

Cheers,

Frank Otto



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