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Got the corporate job, signed contract, deposit - now they're changing everything????

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Bill_K
Got the corporate job, signed contract, deposit - now they're changing everything????
on Aug 12, 2006 at 4:59:13 am

I posted previously about this in Question re: corporate video/photomontage posted 7/29/06. I pitched for creating a high end corporate video/photomontage & got the job after sending out two proposals with "samples" of images - restored/edited photos, 3D images of possible Lightwave comps for the company's logo, etc.

The company sent over a courier to my home studio today to deliver photos (prints + digital on CD) and a deposit for 50% of the job total - balance due on delivery of "preview" DVD. I wrote out a detailed contract that specifically stated the number of images used would be 130-135 total, that I would have artistic license to make decisions re: the final edit, and specified the length as 10 minutes total delivered on authored DVD. I plan on creating 3D scenes in Lightwave with the company's "regular" logo, + their anniversary logo, animating images (Ken Burns effect) in After Effects & doing something slightly different with other images in Motion 2. The job will also include royalty free music, titles, sound fx, and graphics work.

I was out all day after their courier left & came back to find two e-mails with more images + the company's revised version of what was to be included - 190 photos total and the company wants me to "stay within their budget". What bugs me is my original proposal (that they rejected) was for 150 images and 10 more hours work than the proposal they accepted (130-135 images - & I knocked 10 hours off - I am billing based on estimated number of hours, giving them a "flat rate" for the job. I got the rate I originally set for myself by doing things that way (two proposals, & going higher on the first one).

I don't get it - everything in the contract is spelled out - what they get, when - dates of delivery, how many photos, etc. - how do they expect me to "stay within their budget" and increase the number of images by 40%??

Insights as to what's going on (after all, there IS a contract) and how to respond would be appreciated. My thoughts are they can have more images, but more work means I need to write an addendum to the contract and charge more. My other thought is, beyond 10 minutes of photomontage content, things are going to get real boring.



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tony salgado
Re: Got the corporate job, signed contract, deposit - now they're changing everything????
on Aug 12, 2006 at 8:30:32 am


It's real simple you only get what you pay for not more for less.

The contract spells out the exact requirements, conditions and deliverables so if there is no issue there reinstruct them that there will be additional fees for more work.


They want more you bill more simple as that period.


Do not proceed on working on this project for even a minute without resolving this major contractual problem.


If the do not agree Fire them NOW!!!

Tony Salgado


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promoboy
Re: Got the corporate job, signed contract, deposit - now they're changing everything????
on Aug 12, 2006 at 11:48:22 am

Agreed. You met with them, decided on the parameters of the project, bid for the job according to that and an agreement was made, in writing, and I assume signed by both parties. If they wanted to change it, that was the time to do it, especially since adequate time was given for both parties to consider the scope of the project. Anything that deviates from your signed contract is a break in the contract, requiring a new contract with new rates and expectations to be drawn up. If you continue with the original contract without addressing this issue you will have a huge fight on your hands and likely never be paid the second half of your payment. Time to renegotiate EVERYTHING.

Good luck. I remember your original post about this and it sounds like you're working with potential grinders. So heed Tony's advice and if this isn't solved run away from it.

Mike.


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Nick Griffin
Re: Got the corporate job, signed contract, deposit - now they're changing everything????
on Aug 12, 2006 at 12:18:04 pm

Just a simple thought, which I feel is necessary even though I basically support what Tony and Promoboy have said.

All to often corporations speak to the outside, vendor world with multiple voices while failing to have any form of communication internally. It can be hard for us to relate to this because as relatively small companies / individuals we speak to them with a single voice based on a unified consensus. We therefore assume that XYZ Company does also. This can be a huge mistake.

If this is the same individual who agreed to one set of parameters and is now changing them, then you have at worst a grinder or at best someone who simply hasn


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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Got the corporate job, signed contract, deposit - now they're changing everything????
on Aug 12, 2006 at 2:30:23 pm

The company is clearly wanting a Lexus for the price of a Yugo. They ordered a Yugo and now they want to take the Lexus off the lot? No way. Hold your ground. Don't cave in. As Nick asserts, do not be arrogant, be as meek as you can but if you can treat it as if you are willing to walk away and mean it, you will likely win the day.

In any negotiation, the only way the other guy has power is if they have something you want. If you can communicate respectfully that "Unfortunately, this is well above what we agreed to in our agreement and I have cut my offer as lean as I possibly can," then you can successfully communicate that they no longer have anything you want. This takes away their power. Some people call it "The Take Away Close." It works. Use it respectfully and softly. It can also work when necessary to apply 20,000 volts -- it's shocking! I have had to use it that way a time or two in my career. But that is far more rare. If you ever find yourself in a situation wherein you have to use the 20,000 volt version, remember to get the floor nice and wet first. It's so much more shocking when the guy's standing in water. ;o)

But again, the 20K side is the rare exception, meekness and graciousness often work far faster and easier and make for a better "general rule."

Best regards,

Ron Lindeboom



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Bill_K
Re: Got the corporate job, signed contract, deposit - now they're changing everything????
on Aug 12, 2006 at 4:00:38 pm

Thanks to all for your replies. I have been communicating with one individual in negotiating; the local branch manager/senior vice president. I will take my time and re-read all these replies thoroughly before responding.

Bill K





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David Roth Weiss
Re: Got the corporate job, signed contract, deposit - now they're changing everything????
on Aug 12, 2006 at 6:22:32 pm

Bill,

Avoid the emotions - this is business. Its clear that you want the job and that you, like everyone else in this business, are afraid that you may lose it if you offend the client by discussing money. Don't let yourself fall into that trap. Just call your contact and explain that the budget will need to be expanded because the job has been expanded. Its that simple. If they are concerned about going over the original budget, then explain that they should consider scaling the project back to its original scope. We all need work and no one wants to lose it, but you can't let fear motivate you.

DRW


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Tim Kolb
Re: Got the corporate job, signed contract, deposit - now they're changing everything????
on Aug 12, 2006 at 9:18:18 pm

As has been stated, the contract is fact...

I would echo the recommendation to keep emotion out of this completely. It can feel like it's some sort of underhanded plot when you're working by yourself and the client is a much bigger company, but I agree with Nick's take on this...you would hate to blow your top and jinx the entire project if the situation turns out to be some sort of simple misunderstanding...

"I want to clarify which images you want me to use"...or "Which images do these latest ones replace?" are great, innocent ways to open the conversation. You're not yelling at them, you're taking the opportunity to clarify what they are actually asking for...

Remember that most clients (even supposedly savvy ones) have no clue what implications their actions have on these types of projects.

It's not an emotional thing...the contract is for 135 images and you now have 190..."Which 135 did you want me to use?"....




TimK,

Kolb Productions,
Creative Cow Host,
Author/Trainer
http://www.focalpress.com
http://www.classondemand.net


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debe
Re: Got the corporate job, signed contract, deposit - now they're changing everything????
by
on Aug 13, 2006 at 1:46:25 am

This is why I love being only an editor and not an editor/producer.

I get to "whine" all I want to the producer, and then she or he is the one that usually has to take it all back to the client and sort it out. We hash it all out like you all are doing here, and then someone else makes the contact with the client. Most of my producers are really skilled at it. It is a great skill that occasionally I wish I had.

All of the advice so far is all great insight for those who don't have the luxury of having someone else on the same team deal with the budget!

debe


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Bill_K
Re: Got the corporate job, signed contract, deposit - now they're changing everything????
on Aug 13, 2006 at 3:27:39 am

The first e-mail I got from the company's vice president after receiving the deposit check (got the signed contract the day before and reminded them I needed a deposit to start work - per the contract) read: "...I estimate we will be providing you about 190 pictures to include. This is more than what we originally thought


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Tim Kolb
Re: Got the corporate job, signed contract, deposit - now they're changing everything????
on Aug 13, 2006 at 5:35:38 pm

I think you're headed in the right direction.

All of us have been there when a job we did as a favor sets up a rather bad pricing precedent.

Hold your ground...or they'll keep on bringing more work for less pay.



TimK,

Kolb Productions,
Creative Cow Host,
Author/Trainer
http://www.focalpress.com
http://www.classondemand.net


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Steve Wargo
Re: Got the corporate job, signed contract, deposit - now they're changing everything????
on Aug 14, 2006 at 4:47:10 am

To begin, I have been screwed in every way possible more times than I even want to admit, so here goes...

It sounds like they are counting on you being hungry and simply caving to their new guidelines. Don't do it.
Pick 135 out of the 190 and advise them that you are prepared to get going.
Cash the check. Do not deposit the check. They know how to stop payment and pull the money right back out of your account.
We usually go to their bank and get a cashier's check. Cash the check and put the money in your accont in chunks.
Stick to your contract. Stick to your contract. Stick to your contract.

The VP or whatever you are dealing with is probably very good at getting employees to work overtime, give up days off, do twice what they were hired for, etc, etc, etc. He is probably a corporate con artist. And a very good one at that. That's how he got to be VP, after all.

Read the book "Winning by Intimidation". It will enlighten you on marriage, parenting, business and all aspects of life.

Don't be afraid to fire them if they don't stick to their end.

Read Ron Lindeboom's paper on "Clients and Grinders" (help me here, Ron)

Find contracts to have clients sign as soon as they ask for credit. The contract must allow you to sue them, their spouses, their clients and everyone else under the sun as well as making them responsible for all reasonable attorney's fees. Copyright law says you own the footage you shoot. When someone tries to stiff us, you should see how fast the check comes when we inform their client that they can no longer use the footage we shot for them. Sure, you'll never work for them again but why would you want to. If they want 30 days credit, have then fill out a credit app and watch what happens when they need to put their personal financials on a piece of paper for your files. Get their Social Security number the first time they ask for credit.

Con artists get their way by smiling and making you feel like an ass for not wanting to do it their way.

Important: Do a daily Google on your self. You may be shocked to find your COW posts pop up when you look for info on yourself. Hey, if I'm reading this, they might be doing the same. We have no secrets anymore.

My biggest beef is when a client calls, describes a job and asks if you can get it done by X date. It's two months away so you say "Of course". It takes a week or so for them to make up their mind, another week to chat back and forth about the details and another week to get the paperwork signed. They send everything over except for the stuff you need to get started. A few more delays and you're down to 3 weeks. You get it done in two weeks but Bob, who needs to approve the finished product has come down with a urinary infection and will out for a few days. He gets back to work but has a few changes. It takes a week to get the changes to you and you now have 10 hours of work to do and it's the day before Chrismas Eve. Of course, they need it for the company party and you can get it done if you go without sleep and ditch the wife and kids to go all out for the client. The best part is when the big guy says "John, you told me it wouldn't be a problem to have it done by the 23rd and we're not happy". I'm afraid we'll have to dock you on your invoice because our shipping department has to work overtime to get the job out.

The out is to put a time element on their delivery responsibility. In other words, Job X will be completed 10 days after the last element has been received.

Do everything by e-mail. Have everything in print. NO VERBAL CHANGES. We NEVER take instructions over the phone. We did a custom DVD last year and the client found some misspelled names (theirs) on the 5000 units and demanded that we replace the DVDs at our expense. Their people spell checked the names. Because we only accepted tracable e-mail with attachments instead of written documents delivered by hand, we were able to prove that the mistake was theirs, not ours. DO NOT do it any other way. When it comes time for the hammer to drop, the client's rep that was your very best friend in the whole wide world yesterday will let you take the blame for everything today.

I need to turn this into a small pamphlet on "How to keep from taking it in the shorts".

After all I've said here, I still let some of my clients slide because I am actually a softie (Don't tell Tichelli) and I have to have an office manager lay down the rules and enforce them. I got into this business to produce great product, not chase money, but we still spend way too much time trying to collect.

Steve Wargo


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Tim Kolb
Re: Got the corporate job, signed contract, deposit - now they're changing everything????
on Aug 14, 2006 at 12:41:07 pm

Steve has a lot of really great points...most hit way too close to home for me.

I think the key here is to have a system set up that prevents you from getting in a jam and enforce it unconditionally but unemotionally.

I've had a couple of incidents over the last 20 years when I let a project "mutate" for a bit because I personally knew and/or liked the client...then when the last straw was reached...I went off. It wasn't pretty, it wasn't professional, and all it did was make everything completely collapse.

If you approach these discrepancies as misunderstandings "...let's reexamine the contract and you'll see..." it always gives the client a fallback position (even if they were messing with you intentionally) and gives you both a way to continue to work together without losing face.

Again...be absolutely steadfast...just don't assume motivation on their part.

I hope it all turns out for you.



TimK,

Kolb Productions,
Creative Cow Host,
Author/Trainer
http://www.focalpress.com
http://www.classondemand.net


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Bill_K
Re: Got the corporate job, signed contract, deposit - now they're changing everything????
on Aug 14, 2006 at 1:00:58 pm

Thanks to all for your input & suggestions. It will be interesting to see how things turn out - the client needs the edit on DVD to show at a company anniversary dinner in exactly two weeks. They do highway construction & build bridges - perhaps today will be a test of building "bridges" in relationships. If things work out & I do the work, maybe the vice president will give me a hard hat to wear while I edit!

Bill K



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Bill_K
Re: Got the corporate job, signed contract, deposit - now they're changing everything????
on Aug 17, 2006 at 3:45:42 am

Things worked out. I had to leave a LOT of messages on Monday - my inquiry of when will the vice president be in was answered: "he is out for the next 3 days". I explained the situation and was informed, "we will try to get in touch with him for you". I got a call back & wound up revising the contract for the more involved edit with more images which was my first proposal. A company courier delivered a check for the difference in deposit amount & signed (revised) agreement.

Thanks to all who responded to this thread.

Bill K





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