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Pet Peeves 101

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David Roth WeissPet Peeves 101
by on Aug 7, 2007 at 4:48:04 pm

Okay, so as not to start a completely depressing thread that gives us all nightmares, please let's everyone post our pet peeves as best we can in a humorous light, if possible. If that's impossible, just spill and we'll cry in your beer with you.

The client who needs everything immediately, or so he says...

This guy is a real classic... He calls me at the very last minute on Friday afternoon, absolutely, positively having to get twenty or thirty DVDs encoded, burned and printed before the FEDEX cutoff on Saturday. BTW, he confides that he's known about this deadline for weeks or months in advance.

So, never being one to fail a client in need, I spend my Friday evening doing the major part of the job, and I wrap it up Saturday morning in plenty of time to get the stuff to FEDEX. Meanwhile, he disappears, doesn't answer his phone all weekend, and doesn't return my messages. Monday afternoon I finally reach him, tell him the DVDs have been ready since Saturday morning, and he says, "What DVDs???"

Those DVDs wind up sitting on my shelf for days just making me stew. He finally comes to pick them up ten days later. And then, he asks if I can make some changes that he forgot to mention earlier.

In case you're wondering, the answer is NO, I did not kill him... In fact, I thank my lucky stars for that guy, because he's the inspiration for "post-production without the usual insanity," which has become both my new business model and my company's new motto.


David Roth Weiss
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles


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Steve WargoRe: Pet Peeves 101
by on Aug 8, 2007 at 12:53:14 am

We've had those. We've recenty instituted a "Rush Charge" and it amazing how much stuff can now wait till Monday. Also, I charge double time for Saturday and triple time for Sunday. All of a sudden, what absolutely, positively had to be done on the weekends can now wait till Monday.

My most recent beef is with a producer that came to us with a project in Mexico. He negotiated a sweet deal with me based on getting cash for the job while still in Mexico. The clients are Americans who are land developers. The producer had claimed that the client was afraid of breaking the law by transporting more than $10K across the border. He says that they gave him a check that took a month to clear the bank. Also, he said that he was only charging them what he was paying us.

It took 3 months to get my money and he never gave any footage to the end client (I still have it). I also found out that he charged them 2 1/2 times what my rate was for my my services.

We have sworn this guy off and have spread the word. Others have been calling us to tell us equal horror stories about this person.

Steve Wargo
Tempe, Arizona
It's a dry heat!

Sony HDCAM F-900 & HDW-2000/1 deck
5 Final Cut Pro systems
Sony HVR-M25 HDV deck

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Mark SuszkoRe: Pet Peeves 101
by on Aug 8, 2007 at 2:19:02 pm


"Hey, just calling to tell you they have screened the final vesion and LOVED it!"

"So, they approved it?"

"YES! They approved it, no changes, you're all done!"

"So, the project is completed, then, and we're done, is what I'm hearing you say."

"Absolutely. And a great job you did, too, they ADORED that montage."

"So.... since we're all done, and no other changes, I'd like to get those files off my hard drives to make room for the next client coming in today. I just wanted to go over this with you one more time, to be absolutely sure. I want you to understand that if we're done, and I remove the files from my drives, it's going to be a huge hassle to go back and make any changes. Huge. So forgive me, but I have to ask you one more time: it is okay for me to erase these files because your project is done and approved, you have the master and dubs and there is nothing else to be done for this project, I can file it away as complete and get on with the next client, is that right?"

"Yes. Go ahead."

"Are you lying?"

"No, I mean it, we're really done."


"As God's my witness."

"Okay, then well, I'm going to let you go then, thanks for the work, it has been fun, I hope we can do another one for you in the future. I'm off to go erase the hard drives with your footage on them so I can get the next project started. See you around."

"Yes, great job, thanks, see ya." (click).

(The next morning, 4 hours into logging and digitizing a new client's reels)


"Hey! Our favorite editor!"

"Hey yourself, I must say I didn't expect your call so soon, got a new project in the works already?"

"Actually, not quite. We have changes."

(carrier lost)

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Steve WargoRe: Pet Peeves 101
by on Aug 9, 2007 at 4:14:07 am


I keep a bunch of hard drives available for client's projects because that has happened to me 20 times at least.

We could keep it our drives for 5 years and they will still call the day after we dump it and want just one more tiny change.

I am so anxious waiting for the blu-ray storage burner. TDK says they will have 200 gig discs by Christmas.

Steve Wargo
Tempe, Arizona
It's a dry heat!

Sony HDCAM F-900 & HDW-2000/1 deck
5 Final Cut Pro systems
Sony HVR-M25 HDV deck

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Mark SuszkoRe: Pet Peeves 101
by on Aug 9, 2007 at 2:33:41 pm

Yes, this storage/erase phenomenon is like the old saw about the phone: it never rings if you sit next to it, but will ring off the hook as soon as you get into the tub or leave the house.

It drives me nuts that I have more than half my storage tied up at any one time with footage for projects that are waiting for approvals and final sign-offs. It takes some juggling to keep space enough open for the new incoming project, and I explain to clients that the changes are exceptionally easy and fast as long as the files remain on the hard drives, but once removed, everything becomes much harder. Harder for ME, of course; the essence is, the clients never really give a darn how hard they make your job, long as you get it done on time and to spec.

One answer, if you can afford it, is to never erase anything, just bill for more drives, remove the drive with all the elements and put it in secure storage, however long you want. I wish I could do that but neither I nor my clients can afford that.

What I have done as a practical solution is to lay off the archival master several times thru an SDI connection onto a DVCPro tape, each pass of this safety archival master concentrates on isolating the most important and most-likely-to-need-changes-later elements. So I record a clean pass with no keys or thirds in it, passes with music tracks muted, with dialog tracks muted, one with the dissolves turned to cuts, etc. This may sound quite heretical, but I have not saved, imported, or referred to a stored EDL of any type for about a decade now. I just reimport the protection/archive masters, and a minimum of any new footage that is needing to be put in, and work from that, rather than the original source footage, in almost every case.

This saves an incredible amount of storage space and re-digitizing time for me, rather than if I did things the more traditional way, re-importing all the original elements. For the kinds of programs and edits and re-edits I do, this "cheat" has always been more than sufficient, because the work is mostly straight cuts, and the nature of the programs means there's usually enough "handles" around a shot that I never need to reimport and re-time an original source shot just to gain enough margin to cover a transition. So I'm not gonna re-import 4 hours worth of tape to make a simple change on a 20-minute or less master, ever. Since all my import/export is SDI, with no a/d conversion losses, the quality remains to all intents and purposes, good as the original.

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John DavidsonRe: Pet Peeves 101
by on Aug 16, 2007 at 8:23:49 pm

1. "that's not my job!" (when all I asked was they enter in a number on an excel grid that they had open in front of them).
2. It's ok if I booked another 12 hr session right before this one, leaving me exausted, right?
3. "What do you mean, lay back to tape? What kind of Avid editor do you think I am?"

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EvolutionRe: Pet Peeves 101
by on Aug 9, 2007 at 6:32:10 pm

I'm particularly fond of the client who thinks they know the business. I recently had a client who hired a new guy to do all their buys and traffic. He always tried to say how much he knows about the business and how he once ran a production company. That didn't stop him from refering to the tape format "DVDPro"??!! He also called to see if I could modify a spot, new GRFX VO etc. , from a beta dub as if it where a project.
The other is a client who worked in production 20 years ago and wants something with "video in boxes". I think we can come up with just a bit better.
You don't tell the mechanic how to fix the car because you once changed a tire, or the builder how to put up the wall because you hung a picture. Just give us a direction and a goal and step aside. You'll be happier in the end.

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