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Dream clients

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Mark Suszko
Dream clients
on Dec 13, 2009 at 2:46:24 am

You know, we get a lot of threads here about bad clients, problem clients, idiot clients, grinder clients. It is starting to depress me, just a little. How'z 'bout a few mentions of AWESOME clients, DREAM clients that some of you have had. There must be a few...

....Right?

Give me something to dream about on a cold night:-)


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walter biscardi
Re: Dream clients
on Dec 13, 2009 at 3:23:28 am

I spoke at length about my dream client in the latest article I wrote for the Cow. In fact I have multiple "dream" clients now.

They started showing up when I started saying "no" to the grinders. It's simple really. Have fun while you're in the shop and respect us and what we do for you. Break one of those rules and you're done working with us.

Can't say I have a problem with any of our clients. Life's too short to work with anyone but "dream" clients.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

"Foul Water, Fiery Serpent" now in Post.

Creative Cow Forum Host:
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Blog!

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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Dream clients
on Dec 13, 2009 at 3:29:04 am

[walter biscardi] "I spoke at length about my dream client in the latest article I wrote for the Cow. In fact I have multiple "dream" clients now. They started showing up when I started saying "no" to the grinders. It's simple really. Have fun while you're in the shop and respect us and what we do for you. Break one of those rules and you're done working with us. Can't say I have a problem with any of our clients. Life's too short to work with anyone but "dream" clients."


Like you, Walter, we *used* to be kept on edge by people who were not fun to work with, but we no longer tolerate it. When you won't put up with it, you attract the kind of client that doesn't want to put up with it either.

As long as people make excuses for grinders who want you to work for nothing and people who make your life a living hell, that is exactly what you will have. When you quit accepting it, the answer is simple: you won't have any of it, anymore.

Best regards,

Ron Lindeboom

Creativity is a type of learning process where the teacher and pupil are located in the same individual.

Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.
- Antoine de Saint Exupéry






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Christopher Wright
Re: Dream clients
on Dec 13, 2009 at 7:13:44 am

My most recent client is a "dream client" as well. For over a year now, they consistently are getting grants to continue a very worthwhile (2) year project, know what they want, never haggle about rates, are very easy to talk with and relate to, pay promptly for every shoot and edit session, and the project keeps growing in scope and deliverables every month. That being said, I think it is both naive and foolish to think that just because you decide that you won't suffer "bad or difficult clients" that other clients will magically appear at your doorstep (studio). In this economy, with all the competition out there, few post houses can afford to turn away clients that aren't "dream clients." You can always have a "warm dream on a cold night", but that is reality.

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Todd Terry
Re: Dream clients
on Dec 13, 2009 at 7:54:57 am

Our clients aren't all "dream clients".... but fortunately none of them are real "nightmare clients." At least not any more. We learned our lessons and tried to weed those out a long time ago.

We do have one "dream client" that stands out. They are a financial institution (not a "bank," they'll be quick to tell you), and have a large marketing department... basically an in-house agency with probably a dozen or so employees in the department. However, they trust us to help them determine what they need in way of broadcast advertising, and we always concept their television commercial campaigns as well as write and produce them.

I'd say the things that make them a "dream clients" include... the fact that they are not "stuffy," which is odd for both a financial client and one that is a multi-billion dollar company to boot. They love creative ideas (even crazy way-out-there ideas), have a really fun staff, have us produce lots and lots of projects for them, love our work, trust us implicitly, barely even ask what a commercial project's budget might be ("Just whatever it takes, we want it to be good"), come to shoots but only to observe (never hear a peep out of them), never come to edit sessions until there is a darn-near -polished cut to see, and literally start hounding us for invoices as soon as I yell my customary "Thank you for the day, people!" so they can get the check in the works.

I wish I had a bunch more just like them.

Sadly, we just have the one that gets marks that high... but fortunately a bunch of others aren't too far behind.

T2

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






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Nick Griffin
Re: Dream clients
on Dec 13, 2009 at 3:30:04 pm

I'm happy to say that we have several dream clients -- most of the time.

The main contact point in our largest client is one of the most reasonable and even-handed people I've ever dealt with because he knows that a deal has to work for both sides to have real value. He lets us be creative with very little interference. He gets our invoices pushed through quickly and he does his best to protect us from the not so nice people in his organization.

In fact, virtually all of the people we work closely with are friends and would be even if we didn't have a business relationship. It's one of the things I look for in going after new clients. Not to say that this is the primary reason for picking prospects but it has, at times, come down to the deciding factor, even as recently as this summer. If you can see up front that you don't like someone's basic MO and don't get a sense of trust from them, WHY get involved?

Just this past week the leadership team of one of our dream clients drove a few hundred miles to our offices in order to discuss several new ideas. After a couple of hours of debate on whether the word "all" should be replaced with "any," or even deleted, I was going a little nuts. Then I realized that the fact that these people, at this level, cared this much about their ad message was a reason they deserved our sincere appreciation.


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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Dream clients
on Dec 13, 2009 at 3:47:09 pm

[Christopher Wright] "That being said, I think it is both naive and foolish to think that just because you decide that you won't suffer "bad or difficult clients" that other clients will magically appear at your doorstep (studio)."

No one said that great clients magically show up at your doorstep, Christopher.

What we DID say is that we STOPPED WASTING TIME working with grinders. In doing so, not only did the desperation level dissipate, but the confidence level rose greatly when we stepped out of the self-flagellation machine that grinders usually bring along with them, for your use -- free!

You are free to feel the necessity of maintaining your need for them, if you wish.

Like Tim Wilson, Walter, me and some others have said here a number of times over the years: (to use your metaphor, Christoper) when we gave up the circle jerk with the idiots, the warm dreams on cold nights stopped, too. But you are free to see the need for it all.

If that is your reality, who am I to argue?

I don't buy it and because I don't, I don't act from that mind-set and therefore, I do not create that reality for myself.

You are free to yours.

And no, it wasn't always like this. I have fought through many a time where I was flat broke, not a dime to my name, desperate as hell, and I learned my lessons the hard way, thank you -- and nobody's belief that it can't be done is going to stop me.

And you can believe whatsoever you wish.

Ron Lindeboom


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walter biscardi
Re: Dream clients
on Dec 13, 2009 at 4:18:50 pm

[Christopher Wright] "That being said, I think it is both naive and foolish to think that just because you decide that you won't suffer "bad or difficult clients" that other clients will magically appear at your doorstep (studio). In this economy, with all the competition out there, few post houses can afford to turn away clients that aren't "dream clients." You can always have a "warm dream on a cold night", but that is reality."

They don't just show up at your door. You have to go get them or you have a situation like mine where the good clients beget other good clients. You know as well as I do that word of mouth and reputation is much more important than any ad campaign you'll ever run.

So I have very good clients who get an excellent rate and excellent service from us. They also have a great time while at our facility. They talk to other Producers in the area who then come out to give us a try.

"In this economy" means nothing in terms of dealing with clients. That is reality. "In this economy" is a tremendous opportunity for those who are willing to embrace it. In my case, we're expanding the company by purchasing land or a building because the market allows me to afford much more than I could have even two years ago.

"In this economy" we are succeeding because a few years ago corporate clients started cutting back so we cut back on our marketing to corporations. We're now almost exclusively broadcast and independent film driven.

"In this economy" I started planning to take control of my own destiny four years ago by developing my own projects so I would not have to rely 100% on clients to pay the bills. We have three original television series in development with strong interest already in two of them.

"In this economy" there is great opportunity for those who seek it.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

"Foul Water, Fiery Serpent" now in Post.

Creative Cow Forum Host:
Apple Final Cut Pro, Apple Motion, Apple Color, AJA Kona, Business & Marketing, Maxx Digital.

Blog!

Twitter!


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grinner hester
Re: Dream clients
on Dec 13, 2009 at 6:12:17 pm

Most of my best friends started out as clients. In spending so much time together, talking about our families, life, evolution, aliens... lol
well, we become best buds after a while. This is what I mean when I say I'm in the friend-making business. Once it comes to this level, there really is no competition that can steal a client. After a while, they are simply goin' to grinner's.

That said, man I once had a client call me back when they saw my invoice. It was a consuting job, designing a program at a college and they allowed for a certain amount of budget to be spent and my invoice was not that number. Ever have this happen?? They called and insisted I double the amount.
uuuuhhhhhh. ok.




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Nick Griffin
Re: Dream clients
on Dec 13, 2009 at 9:44:32 pm

[grinner hester] "I'm in the friend-making business."
Very well said, Grin! If you're going to spend a lot of time with them it's important that you like them and they like you. Otherwise it's painful and fake and nowhere near as productive.


[grinner hester] "Once it comes to this level, there really is no competition that can steal a client."
And that's the money part of your post. Relationship selling is the highest level of business. Especially when they're no longer shopping price, but are interested mostly in positive outcomes.



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Christopher Wright
Re: Dream clients
on Dec 13, 2009 at 9:47:19 pm

Like Nick has stated, almost all of my clients are also my friends, and they have in turn referred other clients, both good and "difficult" at times. I have also taken potential grinders and difficult clients others in my market wouldn't touch, and have actually been able to gain their appreciation and "educate" them about the post process, thereby changing the dynamic from "self-flagellation" to profit, and again making lasting friends in the process. My current "dream client" is a case in point. Three local production houses refused to deal with him. I feel that they just didn't take the time and patience to LISTEN to him. There are the clients that allow you "creative freedom" and "respect you and your work" but who take several months to pay and take several emails and phone calls to finally acknowledge the invoice EVERY TIME (usually ad agencies). They always end up paying, but I would call them "difficult" clients. There are those that pay before they leave the studio, but want to micro-manage every cut and text placement etc., who end up doing exactly what I had already edited together for them eight hours earlier. I would call that a "difficult client." There are also those that are inveterate grinders that I won't touch with a ten foot pole. (The "do this one for free and we'll catch you next time, this one will be good practice for you or good for your reel" etc.) You can usually spot those from a single phone call or face to face meeting. Having been in sales for so many years, it is fairly easy to whittle out the hopeless cases. I am very happy that Walter is doing so well that he needs a new building and more employees, but Atlanta is a major broadcast center for the whole country and he is in a larger market with more broadcast business potential than many here on the Cow. His business model seems to be growing a small corporation. I have had the building and employees before, been there done that, and you can have that business model, thank you. I don't want the hassle, paperwork and overhead of a new building and employees, nor do I call that "success" in the area of (as one poster put it), creating art and achieving self-actualization; the real reason I chose this profession in the first place. All I can say is I have seen several businesses that are at the level Walter is at now who went the major expansion route and now are hurting or out of business. As they say, pride comes before the fall, and Walter has that in spades. You can almost see his chest and head expanding with every post. Being a small shop like Grinner's is my preferred and comfortable modus, and by keeping it small, I have kept busy and happy. "But each to his own, different strokes" as Ron says. There are always opportunities and new clients to pursue, and I doubt that many of us don't at least have a few projects we are working on ourselves without "waiting for a client to bring the business in." The fact is that we are in challenging economic times and I think it is just over simplistic and a disservice to say that grazers should only accept "dream clients" in their business plan. The power of positive thinking is great, until you have to pay the bills.

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Nick Griffin
Re: Dream clients
on Dec 13, 2009 at 9:57:47 pm

[Christopher Wright] "As they say, pride comes before the fall, and Walter has that in spades."

Christopher, perhaps I will be the first to come for Walter's defense, but I don't think he is being boastful at all. I'm seen firsthand his operation and the kind of work he's doing. He's successful for many good reasons, not the least of which is a great deal of talent fueled by a healthy measure of drive. He's not creating a "build it and they will come" business which almost always IS subject to crashing and burning. Walt is building in a slow and measured way. He's great at what he does and earns his successes every day.


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Christopher Wright
Re: Dream clients
on Dec 13, 2009 at 10:20:38 pm

I hope it didn't come across that I think Walter isn't a very talented person, has great drive, and deserves his success in spades. He is a role model for all of us. I will say that I have seen many people right at where he is now "go for the gold" too soon, and be sorry later. I don't think he needs a "defense." He has done very well for himself and helped many here on the Cow. I respect him and his growth. I do think that in all fairness, humility isn't one of his strong suites though! ;>)

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Nick Griffin
Re: Dream clients
on Dec 13, 2009 at 11:07:23 pm

[Christopher Wright] "I do think that in all fairness, humility isn't one of his strong suites though! ;>)"

Two answers:

1) It rarely is with highly successful people.

2) If you knew Walter you would see how there are so many people with a fraction of his ability who are undeservedly prideful and he's not even close to that mentality. He has and continues to work for it.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Dream clients
on Dec 14, 2009 at 12:38:51 am

"It isn't bragging, if you really CAN do it."


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walter biscardi
Re: Dream clients
on Dec 14, 2009 at 12:22:01 am

[Christopher Wright] "I do think that in all fairness, humility isn't one of his strong suites though! ;>)"

In all fairness, that's one of my strongest suits quite honestly. Always give credit where credit is due and you go far. Take all the credit for yourself with no inclusion of others and you'll be a lonely and unsuccessful person.

Take the Cow as a perfect example. It only succeeds because of the wealth of talent in these forums, not because of any one person.

I enjoy life and love taking folks along for the ride!



Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

"Foul Water, Fiery Serpent" now in Post.

Creative Cow Forum Host:
Apple Final Cut Pro, Apple Motion, Apple Color, AJA Kona, Business & Marketing, Maxx Digital.

Blog!

Twitter!


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Mike Cohen
Re: Dream clients
on Dec 14, 2009 at 1:11:23 am

What is a Dream Client?

1. A dream client understands value vs price alone.

2. A dream client hears about your services from a colleague and calls you up to get some of your magic for themselves.

3. A dream client first explains their problem, then lets you, the expert, come up with a solution. In other words, a dream client does not try to do your job for you.

4. A dream client likes what you have done for them so much that they come back for more.

We have numerous dream clients. Some start-ups, some ginormous, most somewhere in between. They understand that we offer valuable services and experience within our industry, and they believe our prices are fair. Note to those just starting out - a fair price is one that is a good value, not just cheap. Cheap does not pay the bills.

Mike Cohen


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Michael Hancock
Re: Dream clients
on Dec 14, 2009 at 2:40:50 am

Most of our clients are dream clients now, but I've worked for some really bad ones in the past.

Off the top of my head, my favorite clients share this in common:

1. They trust our expertise. If they make widgets, we trust they know what it takes to make a great widget. In return, they trust we know how to spend their money wisely to produce a product (video, print piece, etc...) that sells their widgets.

2. They respect us, and we respect them. While we may disagree sometimes, the conversations are always civil and typically result in a better product at the end of the day.

3. They pay. Some are giant corporations that take longer to pay, others pay immediately or within a week or two of receiving an invoice. But overall, they pay and we don't have to harass them for it.

4. They ask our opinion and take it seriously.

5. They're genuinely nice people. Working with a jerk makes the day too long. We're very, very fortunate that so many of our clients are genuinely nice.

We have a few clients I consider my favorites. One has asked for 1 revision only, and we've done about 15 projects with them. The reason we've only had 1 revisions is because the client is so clear on what he's looking for (without micromanaging) that it's very easy to do the job right the first time. There's simply no room for a mistake in communication, so you know you're on the right track before you even start.

Another, during the first project we did, asked if it was ok if they requested a change. My jaw dropped. They didn't want to make a change if it was going to inconvenience us. We had to remind them that we were working for them and they could request anything they wanted. This client also never questions our rates, pays on time, and invites everyone out for drinks just to hang out and have a laugh.

Granted, we've had some grinders but we're trying to avoid them. It's not always possible to spot them right away, but when when we do my bosses are ready to let them go. That's a huge relief and really makes it a fun place to work.

Michael

-------------------------------
I'll be working late.


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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Dream clients
on Dec 14, 2009 at 2:17:39 am

[Christopher Wright] "The fact is that we are in challenging economic times and I think it is just over simplistic and a disservice to say that grazers should only accept "dream clients" in their business plan. The power of positive thinking is great, until you have to pay the bills."

I couldn't agree more. What befuddles me is the number of people who will just complain about it, read nothing new and explorational in business circles (such as great books like Philip Kotler's "Chaotics", e.g.), and wait for the "recession" to go away.

It ISN'T a recession and it ISN'T going to go away.

How's THAT for eschewing "positive thinking" Christopher??? ;o)

I get out and MAKE things happen. Always have. I do not wait for much.

This is a business and I treat it as such. I subject my creative side to my business side.

I do NOT believe that talent counts for much of squat and that I see far too many talented people who wait for people to wake up to how brilliant they are and beat down their door to work with them. Hogwash. It's a strategy for fools and losers. Talented losers, but losers none the less.

The only visualizing and positive thinking I do is the bumper sticker that I love which says: VISUALIZE WHIRLED PEAS.

Other than that, I am not much of a new ager.

Ron Lindeboom


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Christopher Wright
Re: Dream clients
on Dec 14, 2009 at 3:41:40 am

"It ISN'T a recession and it ISN'T going to go away."

Boy did you hit the nail on the head with that one.
Kind of wraps it up in a nice package, doesn't it?

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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Dream clients
on Dec 14, 2009 at 9:27:57 pm

The other day I was talking to our tech director, Abraham, about the changing marketplace and world economy and I mentioned Alan Greenspan's book, The Age of Turbulence, to him.

Today, I got a call from Abraham that he had his wife order him a copy because he had watched Meet the Press this weekend and Alan Greenspan was on it. He told me that "...he was clearly head and shoulders above the others that were on the show. He knew what was happening in the world and when he talked, it was clear that he was telling you things that you needed to be aware of if you were serious about your future."

Smart guy, Abraham. It is one of the reasons we hired him.

In contrast, I wonder why people who are in business and think they are serious about their businesses, will not read Greenspan, Kotler, Friedman, Smick, or any of the other economists/futurists who have insights into the changing marketplace in which we all interact.

Best regards,

Ron Lindeboom

Creativity is a type of learning process where the teacher and pupil are located in the same individual.

Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.
- Antoine de Saint Exupéry


First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
- Gandhi






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Tim Wilson
Re: Dream clients
on Dec 15, 2009 at 1:45:34 am

One of my favorite things about Greenspan: he recently admitted he was wrong. After decades as the face of deregulation, since "markets always operate in their own self-interests," he testified before Congress that he had noooo idea that, left to their own devices, markets will throw themselves on the rocks of their own greed.

It was quite remarkable to see the man so visibly shaken. All he had to do was not show up, not open his mouth, and he would have been lionized, and at least in the debate on who was the most influential economist of his time....and whether his influence was good or bad. Well, now he's told us that he thinks he was asleep at the switch. I don't know that I've ever seen a public figure so honest about his mistakes.

Our grandkids will still be paying for them...and he knows it...which was all the more reason to hide. You have to respect a man for throwing a 50-year legacy under the bus, hoping to start steering it in the right direction.

So yes, people who are in business, yet refuse to learn the lessons of both success and failure of those who have gone before, or learn from the insight of people smart enough to figure out that, to survive, they need to change what they've been doing for most of their lives -- my guess is that people who won't take a few hours to trouble themselves for that won't be in business much longer.

Too cheap to buy a $15 book from Amazon? Pick it up the next time you take your kids to the public library. You ARE taking your kids to the public library, right? Library doesn't have it? Buy it and DONATE it to the library, then write it off. You can be cheap and generous at the same time.


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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Dream clients
on Dec 15, 2009 at 2:00:28 am

[Tim Wilson] "You have to respect a man for throwing a 50-year legacy under the bus, hoping to start steering it in the right direction."

Yes, it was pretty remarkable to see a man who for the last few decades has been what many would argue as being the most powerful man in the world, come clean about the changing face of capitalism, the whole concept of laissez faire -- especially in an age of Sovereign Wealth Funds, etc -- and how that the changing marketplace is likely to be one in which today's "entitlement generation" is likely to not only inherit a debt they'll never be able to repay -- but also do it without the internal will or knowledge of how to compete in today's world.

Now, was that a run-on sentence, or what? ;o)

Best regards,

Ron Lindeboom

Creativity is a type of learning process where the teacher and pupil are located in the same individual.

Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.
- Antoine de Saint Exupéry


First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
- Gandhi






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Christopher Wright
Re: Dream clients
on Dec 15, 2009 at 8:30:38 pm

And while you are throwing out titles about economic theory and trends,
don't forget to include the books that will really tell you
what is happening and why in our current economic "downturn;"
"No Logo," and "The Shock Doctrine" by Naomi Klein,
as well as just about any book on economics written by Naom Chomsky.

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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Dream clients
on Dec 15, 2009 at 9:26:58 pm

Let's see: you complain about the economy and read whom you profess "really" can help you, and I don't complain about the economy and benefit from what I learn from the writers I cite. That said, I think I'll stick to the ones that can REALLY help you get your brain wrapped around the Brave New World.

Not to say that your choices are bad, they aren't. Just a little bit dated is all. And in today's world, dated is another way of saying "not currently pertinent" -- at least not to mere mortals like us.

Lastly, why over the years do you always try to step on the toes of whatever I say, Christopher? It has been this way for years.

Do you enjoy it?

Ron Lindeboom


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Phillip Wnuk
Re: Dream clients
on Dec 14, 2009 at 8:57:28 pm

a couple years back a very large construction company commissioned me to produce a documentary to help explain/persuade the city they had down work for on the nations busiest airport to pay their million dollars in overages. it was some of the most complicated construction technicals along with complicated legal jargon and dozens of reports.

my contact at the company:

1. made all the decisions on his end
2. did not bid against anyone as he said he was following his gut
3. said the budgets i suggested were to small
4. put together all the right people and information for me to talk with
5. got out of the way once it started

we delivered a beautiful, convincing 50 min doc in 7 weeks. they got their 80 million in overages from the city.

phil wnuk
executive producer
roark, pirsig & dobie


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Todd Terry
Re: Dream clients
on Dec 14, 2009 at 9:19:50 pm

[Phillip Wnuk] "they got their 80 million in overages from the city."

Shoulda asked for a percentage on that one!



T2

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






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