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Shooter only pricing dispute

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EvolutionShooter only pricing dispute
by on Aug 6, 2007 at 2:05:01 pm

I'm looking for some comments and opinions about pricing for a shoot I recently did for a friend.

I normally don't go out the door without my gear anymore but made an exception for a friend I use to work with. I agreed to shoot with his gear for $400 day , plus $125 to travel over the night before the shoot ( 2 hour drive ) for an early call, and mileage/meals. I thought I was doing a favor since the shoot days would be split to early morning and late afternoon for lighting concerns ( shooting boat running footage) and was even staying at his home in the area to save on hotel. And the marina we were out of was still an hour from his home.

Here is where things got interesting. When I arrived on Sun. evening he informed me that the client just called and our shooting for the next morning had been scratched. That freed us up to go out and fish in the morning which we did. Then we headed out for the evening portion of the shoot ( an hour drive over and back plus staging time ), which due to weather was only about an hour of actual shoot time. Then Tuesday morning we were able to shoot, but the evening shoot was scrapped due to weather ( still drove over an hour each way for the posibility of shooting ) . Then we shot Wed. morning and I headed back, 2 hour drive ( started at 5:45am and back at shop at 1:15pm ).
Based on my experience as a freelancer and what I would bill my clients and expect to pay my freelancers, and our agreeded to pricing,I figured the total as follows. Travel day at $125 and three shoot days at $400 ( since the last day was more than 5 hours with shoot and travel time )total of $1325 plus mileage ( about $125 worth ) but to help him out since I know he's working on a flat rate
and we got some fishing in, I agreed to $1100 flat.
Upon giving him the total he was shocked that I would charge that much since the shoot days weren't full days. Stating that even a bill for $1000 dollars would seem high to him.
I just want to be sure I'm not missing something here, some change in the world I was unaware of so I'm not at odds with someone I consider a friend over something I'm wrong about. What are everyone's thoughts?
Thanks,


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redmontageRe: Shooter only pricing dispute
by on Aug 6, 2007 at 3:51:10 pm

From the looks of it he might be expecting 1/2 day rates plus travel. But it also sounds like you had to show up regardless of the weather and this must be decided if it's something you want to charge for.


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David Roth WeissRe: Shooter only pricing dispute
by on Aug 6, 2007 at 6:21:06 pm

The real issue here is the mix of business and friendship and the inherent conflict that has created for you. Answering your question from a strictly business standpoint is fairly easy, but you have a relationship with your friend that needs to be considered first. How important is this friendship to you? Do you value the friendship, or are you willing to lose it?

Keep in mind that more relationships are destroyed over issues regarding money than anything else. A person's value as a human being is often on the line in situations like this, making the issue not so much about the money itself, but about self-worth. This tends to place a high emotional value on the matter, making discussions difficult and creating a good likelihood for fractured feelings and thus fractured relationships.

Your friend is obviously concerned about offending and possibly losing the client. Meanwhile, you're a professional, you acted professionally and you think you're entitled to customary professional treatment and consideration. There's a conflict of interest between these two points of view that probably requires compromise.

Acknowledge your friend's POV -- see if he will acknowledge your POV, and then explore all the possibilities of compromise. The best result will be that you end up with most, but not all of what you want, and that positive feelings about maintaining the friendship will override all else.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY


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EvolutionRe: Shooter only pricing dispute
by on Aug 6, 2007 at 7:50:15 pm

I guess what I really should have done is post this without the mention that he's a friend. That's obviously what makes things trickier, but on a pure business side, does weather or a change in planning affect the pricing that anyone else does? I've always been under the impression that so long as you're on the gig, you should be getting paid regardless of the clients inefficiencies.

So here's the question...
When traveling on a shoot, based on a day rate, would anyone else adjust their agreed to rates for the client do to schedule changes by the client or weather setbacks. Keeping in mind you're on the road. And if you would adjust, then how much?

I'm looking for a strictly business baseline to then create a friend arrangement off of. In fact I thought I was doing that in taking a $1500 bill and making it $1100. Just want to be sure I'm starting from what I see as a solid industry baseline.

Thanks,


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Nick GriffinRe: Shooter only pricing dispute
by on Aug 6, 2007 at 7:52:38 pm

And THAT, boys and girls is why we're so proud to have David as the newest host here on the business COW.

Great answer, David! Well thought out and especially well expressed.

It's always much easier to make friends with people you do business with than it is to do business with friends. The best protection is to communicate a LOT about what each of you expects and how the deal should work. Clarify assumptions so both parties know what to expect.



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David Roth WeissRe: Shooter only pricing dispute
by on Aug 6, 2007 at 8:20:10 pm

Thanks Nick! That's very nice of you to say...


David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY


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EvolutionRe: Shooter only pricing dispute
by on Aug 6, 2007 at 8:51:05 pm

[David Roth Weiss] "Your friend is obviously concerned about offending and possibly losing the client."

Actually I think he's more concerned about his own bottom line. He is getting a flat rate for the job from his client, and based on information he gave me, a nice margin on it. But I don't think that should affect my charges when we had a clear rate. Did we spell out that if there was weather what the rate would be, or if his client cancelled a portion what that would make the bill, no. I would base that on industry standard business practices, which is what I'm trying here to be sure I'm doing.





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David Roth WeissRe: Shooter only pricing dispute
by on Aug 6, 2007 at 9:50:08 pm

The "industry standard" as it is almost always applied here in L.A. is, you're paid 100% of your normal rate unless there is 24-hour advanced notice of cancellation, in which case a 50% kill fee usually applies. Of course, thats based on rather age-old standards, and as Bob Dylan said, "the times they are a changin."

In your case, if its strictly business for you, then you probably should have submitted your full invoice for $1500. Their lawyer wouldn't give 'em an inch, why should you? That time is now lost to you and you were there for them when and where requested. Pretty simple...

The problem is, you've already crossed the line from strictly business to something requiring judgement and interpretation. Once you open that gate and show a willingness to compromise its pretty much open season on your time and money. Now you're in a defensive position, and thats never fun. From this point forward the best you can do is to rely on your ability and willingness to stand up for yourself.

Let us know how this works out for you.


David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY


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beenyweeniesRe: Shooter only pricing dispute
by on Aug 7, 2007 at 12:51:43 am

Your "friend" is either a cheap bastard or doesn't know what he's doing in the slightest. You shouldn't sweat his reaction, since he clearly stated that any reasonable fee would have blown his mind.

The only thing I would add is that it's a very good idea to have all financials worked out PRIOR to showing up for any shoot, even if it is for a friend...

Brendan Coots

Splitvision Digital

http://www.splitvisiondigital.com


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Ron LindeboomRe: Shooter only pricing dispute
by on Aug 7, 2007 at 2:02:00 am

[beenyweenies] "...have all financials worked out PRIOR to showing up for any shoot, even if it is for a friend..."


Especially if it is for a friend.

It will help you keep them that way. :o)

Ron Lindeboom


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zrb123Re: Shooter only pricing dispute
by on Aug 7, 2007 at 1:00:52 am

[Evolution] "Upon giving him the total he was shocked that I would charge that much since the shoot days weren't full days. Stating that even a bill for $1000 dollars would seem high to him."

Sure they were not full shooting days, but they were still full days away from other work you could have been doing.

You should get compensation for a FULL day if it kept you from a FULL day of payed work elsewhere.



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EvolutionRe: Shooter only pricing dispute
by on Aug 7, 2007 at 12:37:13 pm

Thanks for all the thoughts. I agree %100 on making things clear up front and try to do that with all of my clients friends or not. I thought I did that. Isn't there some point were you don't have to spell out every scenario, and standard practices should take over. I guess not for everyone.
I didn't want to say it before because I wanted honest answers but this guy is known as always trying to get a deal. He'll order a sandwich and then at the end of the meal when asked how it was, he'll say "Well, it had cheddar cheese and I asked for american. " and then happily have it taken off the check. I've seen that one more than once.
I guess I was trying to make it work out. Never Again.


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Mark SuszkoRe: Shooter only pricing dispute
by on Aug 7, 2007 at 3:35:31 pm

Your friend is a grinder. That may or may not matter to your friendship, but it's my observation from outside looking in.

Key facts:

You set the rate ahead of time. It was agreed.

You arrived as agreed, he did not call you ahead to cancel, and he only "cancelled" the morning. You still shot the same day, meaning you still had to be available that day. If I book a full day for shooting but we only get one good take, I'm not discounting the rest of the day and billing only for the fice-minute good take for something that's not my fault. He is paying you to be there. I feel his offer to go fishing was a deliberate attempt to create a disconnect from the billable hours, and it was a dirty trick.


Had the shoot been weathered-out completely, well, everybody should have a personal policy in advance for rain-outs or failures of gear you did not bring to the party. You'd still have to bill for the fact of losing a productive day you could have spent elsewhere. 50% or a discount off the re-scheduled gig sounds round to me, for a cancellation with less than 24 hours notice.

But really it wasn't a cancellation so much as a delay, and you can't be expected to discount a charge for that, it was nothing to do with you. In the wedding biz, I always got a deposit up front for a third, and this was retained for cancellations with less than 24 hours notice, refunded if notice was longer. I admit asking your friend to lay down an advance deposit sounds like a good way to lose a friend. OTOH, your friend grinding you is out of order as well.

If you wanted to apply a discount because of the rain-out or a gear failure that was not your responsibility, when and how much is up to you, but you should have that figure in your head and announced ahead of the gig, and everybody agreed to it, on paper. If not, then you've created a gray area and diplomacy has to take a hand in the negotiations at that point.

That's where I see you at now: in the absence of a specific rule in advance, you make your best counter-offer, and decide, as per the other folk's good advice, what hill you want to die on - lose the deal, lose the friend. And all his future deals.

I will say, not knowing anything else about your friend, that his behavior sets my spider-sense all a-tingle. I would be leery of any future projects without paper and a down payment.


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RedmontageRe: Shooter only pricing dispute
by on Aug 8, 2007 at 9:50:25 am

My question is IF everything went well, you had perfect weather, and you shot only FULL shooting days, then presented him with a FULL CHARGE invoice - would he still argue about the price? That says a lot about the situation (ie. rationalizing, the budget, and your friendship).


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