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Talk me down, I'm about to blow a gasket

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David Roth Weiss
Talk me down, I'm about to blow a gasket
on Feb 26, 2009 at 7:06:44 pm

Six weeks ago I did an emergency turn-around on a project for a client with whom I've had a ten year relationship. All details were spelled-out in and agreed to in advance, including "immediate payment" of my invoice.

The bottom line is, I delivered everything on my end in just two days, just as the doctor ordered. Meanwhile, today after speaking with the client's bookkeeper, I found that my invoice was never passed-on to bookkeeping.

Needless to say, I'm not happy about this, and for now, rather than venting my anger in the direction of the producer or the producer's boss, I'm venting here, where I'm hoping you all will help me to formulate a suitable response that will leave me feeling completely satisfied and without remorse.

Okay, let it all out folks... Give me your ideas please so all of my gaskets remain intact.

TIA,
David

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

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, and Indie Film & Documentary forums.


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Mark Raudonis
Re: Talk me down, I'm about to blow a gasket
on Feb 26, 2009 at 7:15:48 pm

DRW,

This is a simple one. No check, no master tape.
If, as you've indicated, everything was spelled out in advance, then you're
entirely within your rights to withhold delivery until payment is made.

Obviously, that didn't happen. Your bad. My suggestion is to email your client
in "unemotional, factual language" that you expect them to uphold their end of the bargain.

That's step one. Let us know what happens.

I hate to say it, but you let them off the hook on this. If "immediate payment" was important to you,
you should have demaned "COD".

Mark





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Todd Terry
Re: Talk me down, I'm about to blow a gasket
on Feb 26, 2009 at 7:36:26 pm

"What would be a convenient time today for me to come down and pick up a check? How about 2pm?"


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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David Roth Weiss
Re: Talk me down, I'm about to blow a gasket
on Feb 26, 2009 at 7:56:44 pm

[Todd Terry] ""What would be a convenient time today for me to come down and pick up a check? How about 2pm?" "

Already did that... The doctors are not in today, so I was told next Wednesday is the first available pay day. That raised my blood pressure a bit...

THNX,
David

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

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, and Indie Film & Documentary forums.


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Todd Terry
Re: Talk me down, I'm about to blow a gasket
on Feb 26, 2009 at 8:09:02 pm

Well sounds like you are going to have to yell at the big boss again... if it irks your contacts (the producers), so be it. I think the best you can do is explain to them that you know it's not their fault... but that you do enjoy eating and living indoors, and that you're not a bank. If they can't understand that, sounds like a bigger problem brewing.

I would of course say that in the future in a situation like this the master doesn't leave your hand until the check is in it. I know it doesn't help now (and we break this rule all the time ourselves), but not much else seems to be a solution.

Closest similar situation I was in, an agency client of ours asked for new dubs for a commercial we had done a couple of years earlier (some store's Christmas sale). We made the dubs, and called and told them they were ready, and that they were welcome to come pick them up as soon as their open invoices were settled (they had several overdue, going back quite a few months... this is, by the way, a company notorious for late paying... not with just us but every vendor in town). Well, one of the partners came down, stomped her foot in the lobby, accused us of holding their tapes hostage, and vowed to find someone else to work with. She wrote a check and took her dubs away in a huff. I think there may have even been tires squealing in our parking lot.

Next month, they were back. And have been ever since.

Sometimes you do have to ruffle some feathers to get attention.


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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David Roth Weiss
Re: Talk me down, I'm about to blow a gasket
on Feb 26, 2009 at 7:54:17 pm

[Mark Raudonis] "I hate to say it, but you let them off the hook on this. If "immediate payment" was important to you, you should have demaned "COD". "

All true! However, like most big outfits, the worker bees are unable to generate checks without bureaucratic intervention. In this case, there simply was no time between the initiation of the job and the final delivery.

They are good for the dough, but so very inconsiderate of my own needs. It's the uneven playing field that has me ticked-off. And, this is not the first time for this client either. I wrote to the big boss several years ago about this very type of thing, and he was appalled and assured me it would never happen again. Of course it nothing to bolster my relationship with the producers (my contacts) who were at fault. That's the conundrum I face.

THNX for your help...



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

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, and Indie Film & Documentary forums.


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John Davidson
Re: Talk me down, I'm about to blow a gasket
on Feb 26, 2009 at 9:10:53 pm

Go outside for a nice walk in Brentwood and enjoy the sun. It's a gorgeous day here in LA, so if you have to wait a week on a check, that's not too bad. There's no sense in blowing gaskets or anything else for that matter. If you need to vent, write an email calling them every name in the book, and then delete it. You can laugh about all the creative insults you came up with while walking in a neighborhood most people dream of living in, and listen to some Kansas/Carry On My Wayward Son on your ipod (or iphone, if you wanna take it up a level).

Relax buddy - it's a great day to be alive! Don't fly too high! (Why am I so in to Kansas today???).

John
Magic Feather Inc.


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Talk me down, I'm about to blow a gasket
on Feb 26, 2009 at 9:34:55 pm

[John Davidson] "Go outside for a nice walk in Brentwood and enjoy the sun. It's a gorgeous day here in LA"

That's good advice JD, and it will certainly make my doggie very happy too. Augie has been staring at me for hours from his perch on the client's chair, where he patiently watches every keyboard command I enter throughout the day, every day.

THNX

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

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, and Indie Film & Documentary forums.


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Steve Wargo
Re: Talk me down, I'm about to blow a gasket
on Feb 26, 2009 at 9:12:02 pm

I have a couple clients on credit card status. They signed a contract that we could charge their company credit card when ever they generated an invoice. So far, so good.

We did a golf product infomercial a few years ago for a 10 year client and he sweet talked my wife into waiting for all of the money at once because of 9-11 and the international transfer of large dollars, etc. We've never received a dime and this is after a lawsuit and judgment in our favor.

I have recently suspended almost everyone' account. Just can't take the chance any more.

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

Sony HDCAM F-900 & HDW-2000/1 deck
5 Final Cut (not quite PRO) systems
Sony HVR-M25 HDV deck
2-Sony EX-1 HD .


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Mike Cohen
Re: Talk me down, I'm about to blow a gasket
on Feb 26, 2009 at 9:28:41 pm

This thread is diverging into two topics -

Helping to cool down David - David, take the rest of the day off.

Unusual contracts - I guess this does not mean such clauses as "only yellow M+Ms" and "50 lbs of shrimp cocktail at every shoot". I have had a few proposals copied, pasted and modified and made part of a longer contract provided by the client. The larger the client, the more stipulations, rules and CYA provisions. The advantage is I can make my proposals in the future fit into their practices better.

Mike Cohen


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Talk me down, I'm about to blow a gasket
on Feb 26, 2009 at 9:45:35 pm

[Mike Cohen] "David, take the rest of the day off. "

Yep!!! That's it. Just what I'm going to do. I'm gonna refer all calls to you Mike.

THNX

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

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, and Indie Film & Documentary forums.


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Mike Cohen
Re: Talk me down, I'm about to blow a gasket
on Feb 26, 2009 at 9:48:54 pm

Thanks Dave - I can be very diplomatic.
Aggressive negotiations works too.

Mike


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Talk me down, I'm about to blow a gasket
on Feb 26, 2009 at 9:42:36 pm

[Steve Wargo] "I have recently suspended almost everyone' account. Just can't take the chance any more."

I typically demand that all accounts pay 33 1/3% in advance, or in the case of COD accounts, they must be paid down to a zero balance by 5pm on Friday, as work progresses. I let this "legacy client" slide, but never again.

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

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, and Indie Film & Documentary forums.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Talk me down, I'm about to blow a gasket
on Feb 26, 2009 at 10:06:52 pm

We tell every newbie first-timer that asks this question, the same thing: 'no tickie, no laundry'. Do not give away the master until the check is in your hand.

Still, I understand how hard it is to hold to those convictions when a grande fromage client tries to grind you, in a down economy, with the bills piling up at home... Like we say all the time: to be able to negotiate, you have to be able to walk away from the deal, and they have to know that you're able. Or they own you.

I say you hire Zelin to make your collections for you. He might even be able to scare them into paying just thru an email, never mind a face-to-face negotiation:-)

Your only "nuclear option" (assuming first you've re-read the contract and are sure you are 100 percent airtight right) is to hand their waiting messenger a copy of the invoice to deliver, instead of the tape, and if the deadline is blown, its blown. At the same time you call the biggest cheese in their shop and explain that you need a check cut and in hand to release the tape. A dirty secret many companies have is that they have special accounts where they can make an emergency draw, for things like emergency plumber service when the bathrooms are emptying out over their server room. They *have* the money, generally, they need a strong enough trigger to let it go, instead of dragging it out like they do for all the other shmucks. In the final analysis, *somebody* is going to blink at that point. They are counting on it being you.

I know it feels like anathema to deliberately blow a deadline; we in this business are not like that, we are not built that way: we generally would run over grandmas and children, forgo food and sleep and a companion's comforts, just to make that deadline, even an impossible one. So we can be "the miracle worker". Just remember, Grinders *count* on that work ethic of yours, to force your hand and make you accept their bad terms. When you get to that stage, you have to be able to say "no", and mean it.

Risk analysis: Worst case: they sue you. If you're in the right, this will cost you time and money in court, eventually you win, hopefully you can collect. Outcome: you spend resources to fight them, you get your money, or you don't, but either way they never use you again. Since you're working for them now but not getting paid, how is that a huge loss? Their bad-mouthing of you in court or in public may be good PR, in that the buzz will be you drew a line and stood by it. Other grinders and competitors will at least know you can only be pushed so far. Nobody else that knows that is likely to push you that far again. If this client relationship has gotten so poisoned that this is worth considering, maybe you should just "roll the hard six", and just say no.

But its easy for armchair critics with nothing to lose to make these calls; it is entirely different when it is you personally making them. The decison has to be right *for you*, no matter what I or anybody else thinks. Whatever you decide, I wish you all the good fortune in the world.



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David Roth Weiss
Re: Talk me down, I'm about to blow a gasket
on Feb 26, 2009 at 10:52:44 pm

[Mark Suszko] "Whatever you decide, I wish you all the good fortune in the world. "

It worked Mark... Your blessing I mean. Amazing!!!

Another client's check just arrived with the mail, right on time, or even a little early. So, now I can just take the high road with the client that had me so pissed-off. Plus, I gave myself the rest day off, Augie got his walk in the sun, and of course, next time the doctor orders-up new work I ain't liftin' a finger until I see their chips on the table.

THNX everyone, I'm very glad I asked for help here before proceeding to blow that gasket.

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

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, and Indie Film & Documentary forums.


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Brendan Coots
Re: Talk me down, I'm about to blow a gasket
on Feb 27, 2009 at 3:44:05 am

It seems that ripping off production companies is a favorite pastime for accounting departments across the country...

We have taken to calling our client contact the week before the job wraps and reminding them to submit the invoice right away so that the check is ready on delivery. Then we call them two days before delivery and remind them again, mentioning that we can't deliver the product without the check. At that point, we don't deliver if there is no check and the client has no one to blame but themselves. It's worked 98% of the time.

Brendan Coots

Splitvision Digital

http://www.splitvisiondigital.com


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