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Raw Footage, No Contract, No Deal

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Dominique Lee
Raw Footage, No Contract, No Deal
on May 28, 2011 at 3:51:28 am

I recently was paid to produce a music video for someone. I wrote up a contract but before filming started the artist refused to sign the contract since we were way off schedule. I'm young and this was my first big production, so I let it go and continued filming (bad move, I know now) since we had traveled to another state. A few things went VERY wrong but we finished filming back home a few days later. I edited everything, gave the artist the final product and he was very pleased. The same day this person finds out that I favor someone's music, but this someone is an atheist. The artist calls me telling bible stories and telling me where he stands on religion. I didn't have to listen to that so I hung up. A friend of mine picks up the phone when he calls back and he also tries to push his religious views on her. She hangs up. When he calls back he leaves a voicemail saying that I was rude and a bad businessperson, and he wants all of HIS raw footage BACK. I purchased the mini-DVs used for filming and I given him the final product on 5 cd-rws in 2 different formats. His lawyer (who didn't give me a name or law firm) called me and I explained to him how this man was proclaiming me a "devil supporter" and said he couldn't work with me so he wanted (once again) HIS raw footage BACK. The artist continued to call my phone and leave voicemails saying he was going to take me to court and he's gone through this before and that I was "messing with the big boys now." After I woke up the next day to a text message from his girlfriend saying i need to give up the footage "before I lose money" and voicemail from 1am from him saying this is his final warning I get my attorney involved. I believe I shouldn't give him anything because there was no contracts and I never agreed to give him the raw footage. He's never hesitated to call me for anything pertaining the project but as soon as he saw something he didn't agree with he ran with it and brought up taking me to court for something that wasn't his. I also found it fishy when he said he's sued a director before over a video, but that director tried to withhold the final product, which I did not. Any advice on what I should do? I do not want anything I've filmed to be re-edited and sold without my permission and I'm just trying to protect my growing brand. I just want to be a filmmaker.


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Craig Seeman
Re: Raw Footage, No Contract, No Deal
on May 28, 2011 at 6:24:31 am

I am not a lawyer and no one here can even evaluate whether the details you posted are accurate but if there's no contract and you received no payment then I can't imagine anything resembling even a legal verbal business agreement took place. You may not be able to use the footage but it doesn't sound like he owns it.

Of course people can sue for pointless reasons. You may want to speak to a lawyer but if no papers have been served there's no law suit either at this point.

As a side note I wonder at what point do his calls become harassment as well as some other legal thresholds he may be crossing.

So he claims to be a religious man?

You indicate you know the rule now. No contract no work. Nothing gets handed over without payment.



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Dominique Lee
Re: aw Footage, No Contract, No Deal
on May 28, 2011 at 12:46:33 pm

I was paid. And I never agreed to giving him master raw footage. But I'm thinking along the terms of "Okay you gave me money to make a video for you, what? Do you want the camera too because I used them to film you?" I wouldn't use the footage for anything else but he definitely could if he is given ALL B-roll, every take, everything. And not even put my name on it. I want to protect my art. My attorney is involved now..and I have three witnesses that can verify that I never agreed nor did he ask for the raw footage.


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Craig Seeman
Re: aw Footage, No Contract, No Deal
on May 28, 2011 at 1:48:02 pm

OK then the fight will likely be over whether it's a "work for hire." I believe generally the footage would be yours unless expressed explicitly otherwise but without a written contract it may come down to who is believed because they will likely argue that you verbally agreed to it.



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Mike Smith
Re: aw Footage, No Contract, No Deal
on May 28, 2011 at 2:30:45 pm

It's good that you have legal cover.

As described, your contract / agreement does not include original footage, and you are under no obligation to deliver more than contracted unless you so wish. An extra fee might persuade you.

I think, too, that the point about harassment was a good one : phone calls at 1.00 a.m. about a business dispute fall out of the normal realm.


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Gary Hazen
Re: aw Footage, No Contract, No Deal
on May 28, 2011 at 3:52:57 pm

[Dominique Lee] "My attorney is involved now"
Why?

Once the lawyers get involved everybody loses except for the lawyers. I cannot imagine something on the source footage being so valuable as to warrant throwing huge piles of money at men in suits.

How much are you willing to spend in an effort to protect your art?
How much are they willing to spend in an effort to get a hold of some footage that may hold little value?


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Craig Seeman
Re: aw Footage, No Contract, No Deal
on May 28, 2011 at 4:00:50 pm

[Gary Hazen] "Once the lawyers get involved everybody loses except for the lawyers."

They threatened to sue. Once THEY involve lawyers it is NOT wise to defend oneself without one.
Based on the above they did NOT offer to negotiated. They did NOT simply request the footage. They started with a thread early on. I suspect as part of his defense he's including lawyer fees to be paid by the aggressor as well.



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Dominique Lee
Re: aw Footage, No Contract, No Deal
on May 28, 2011 at 4:19:58 pm

Between the 2nd & 3rd voicemail his "representation" contacted me. This person didn't give me a name, a law firm...nothing. And he asked if I was an atheist. I felt that things were becoming personal and I didn't have to talk to him anymore. I didn't get my lawyer involved until I heard the next when I heard the 1am voicemail stating that this was his final warning to me ablnd I can't withhold anything with his face on it. To me it's like a photographer getting sued for their negatives. And this person has sued a director before. It sounds like a scam for free videos to me.


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Chris Tompkins
Re: aw Footage, No Contract, No Deal
on May 28, 2011 at 4:21:42 pm

I've always believed if a company (or someone) pays me to shoot something for them, they own the footage. They ahve paid for it.

I have handed over the raw footage on more then one occasion, most of the time no. However, I always charged a fee for the master tapes.
He paid you to shoot. You did. He wants the camera tapes.

Charge $15. a tape and give em to him.

Chris Tompkins
Video Atlanta LLC


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Craig Seeman
Re: aw Footage, No Contract, No Deal
on May 28, 2011 at 4:56:58 pm

[Chris Tompkins] "I've always believed if a company (or someone) pays me to shoot something for them, they own the footage. They ahve paid for it. "

But that's no reason for others to use your business model. In the above case it seems the client severed a verbal agreement due to "religious" differences that may not have been a pre-requisit in the original agreement. There may have been no agreement to transfer the raw footage. He may have wanted to retain it for expected repeat business and therefore may have had no interest to offer the original footage. The severing of the relationship may well have changed the client's expectations and demands from the original agreement. Dominique may have a reasonable expectation that the original verbal agreement would be maintained.

In short, there's no reason to assume every job is simply a "one off" in which the client wants the original footage. Some people expect clients to be repeat and therefore don't offer or give the original footage to the client.



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andy lewis
Re: aw Footage, No Contract, No Deal
on May 28, 2011 at 5:43:11 pm

If you do hand over the raw footage, is it possible to make sure they don't use it with your name attached? You say you want to protect your brand. Would a written agreement along the lines of "I will give you the footage as long as my name is not associated with any use you make of it" be useful in court? I'm not a lawyer so this is a question rather than advice.

The tapes issue aside, I would suggest you start recording phone messages in case harrasment continues. from your account, it seems like you are dealing with people who are either cynically manipulative or mentally ill.


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Dominique Lee
Re: aw Footage, No Contract, No Deal
on May 28, 2011 at 6:04:30 pm

Andy Lewis I'm sorry if I'm reading your question incorrectly. But I do not want him to use the footage unless my name IS attached to whatever project. That was my time and effort put it, I should be credited for it.

And as far as recording. I did not answer any of his phone calls and everything he had to say is recorded on my voicemail.


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Craig Seeman
Re: aw Footage, No Contract, No Deal
on May 28, 2011 at 6:22:04 pm

[andy lewis] "If you do hand over the raw footage, is it possible to make sure they don't use it with your name attached?"

I'm not sure if this client would have any motive to attach the production company's name to the project but the bigger issue is that once trust is broken, there's little reason for continued trust. Then you're stuck with the added specter of enforceability once breached again.

The legal system, given the expense and time involved, is a last resort. This client seems to have made the threat of such a first step.

[andy lewis] "The tapes issue aside, I would suggest you start recording phone messages in case harrasment continues. from your account, it seems like you are dealing with people who are either cynically manipulative or mentally ill."

Personally I believe in documenting all conversations possible. It's not simply being overly defensive but such documentation can clear up very honest misunderstandings.



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Dominique Lee
Re: aw Footage, No Contract, No Deal
on May 28, 2011 at 5:58:51 pm

Craig Seeman you are hitting the nail right on the head. We did discuss working together in the near future on the next music video. Religion was never a pre-requisit in the agreement nor was it questioned when we met before production began. I believe with every bone in my body that if religion had never came up in casual conversation that he would have never asked to obtain the raw footage. The situation was not that he asked for the footage and I refused. It was "I don't appreciate that you refused to listen to my religious views.. Now give me this or I'll take you to court." It seems very suspicious.


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Gary Hazen
Re: aw Footage, No Contract, No Deal
on May 28, 2011 at 7:02:37 pm

[Craig Seeman] "Once THEY involve lawyers it is NOT wise to defend oneself without one."
Clearly you're not a poker player Craig. "THEY" have yet to prove they have actual legal representation. "THEY" are bluffing. Obviously it's unwise to not defend your self properly when dealing with a lawyer. That said, it's foolish to go out and waste money paying a lawyer when it's unnecessary.

You should try playing Texas Hold em' once in awhile.



[Craig Seeman] "I suspect as part of his defense he's including lawyer fees to be paid by the aggressor as well."
There's no guarantee that a judge will award legal fees if if Dominique wins in court. It's a calculated risk.

Sometimes it's best to cut your losses and walk away.


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Dominique Lee
Re: aw Footage, No Contract, No Deal
on May 28, 2011 at 7:11:29 pm

Gary, this man has brought up multiple times that I'm "young" and him and his representation wants to "teach me a lesson" he's clearly trying to take advantage of me and my work. As he's done before he gets a video made, has some differences with the producer, sues them for money,and then he has a video and his money back. I feel that I can't let that happen.


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Bob Zelin
Re: aw Footage, No Contract, No Deal
on May 28, 2011 at 7:52:33 pm

Now, I love to cause trouble - so just keep that in mind, when I respond to this (and it's Saturday - so what the heck .......)

Dominique - you are young. Let me tell you about business. Your job is to MAKE MONEY - that is all. If you don't like this concept, then get a job. I am a non religious jew, and I have worked for Iranian TV. I have been in contact recently with Al Jazeera Television (a fine professional organization, by the way). I have helped film makers making anti Israel films. Heck, if the neo Nazi's want to make a film - I am here to help - JUST GIVE ME THE DAMN MONEY. I have no morals, I have no pride, I have no self respect, I just WANT THE MONEY, and if you want me to worship space aliens who created the earth, then bless you all mighty - just GIVE ME MY CHECK.

When you get older, you will learn this lesson. You want a home, you want a nice car, you want to take care of your family, you want health insurance. All of this nonsense that the client wants is just that - nonsense. The client is "always right", and you say "yes sir, you are correct, now WHERE THE HELL IS MY MONEY". And when they hand that check over to you, and thy say "you were terrific, and very professional", then you can say all the 4 letter words under your breath, but you have the check - AND you will get more work from them.

There are only two kinds of clients - one that pays, and one that does not pay. There is only one kind of S.O.B. the one you work hard for, and they ultimately don't pay you.


Bob Zelin



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Nick Griffin
Re: aw Footage, No Contract, No Deal
on May 28, 2011 at 8:35:18 pm

This whole thing pisses me off. Because Dominique "likes" another artist who happens to be an atheist Dominique is to be the subject of overt, religious-based harassment?? This is clearly a bully, and from the sound of it, one who is bluffing.

I agree that you should not hire an attorney until and unless you are served any papers -- proof that this jerk might actually be prepared to spend his own money rather than make empty threats. Personally I stand up to bullies, and they've almost always backed down.

That said, Zelin is right to a degree. One of the primary things to remember in this or almost any other business is going to the bank. Get the money and move on. And Bob, while Al Jazeera is a legitimate news organization, if you ever feel the need to help Neo-Nazis set up a studio, please reach out to those of us who would be willing to help you find other gigs or even float a loan.


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Bob Zelin
Re: aw Footage, No Contract, No Deal
on May 28, 2011 at 9:19:25 pm

geez Nick - just kidding !

Bob



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Dominique Lee
Re: aw Footage, No Contract, No Deal
on May 28, 2011 at 9:26:02 pm

Bob and Nick..as far as getting paid I completely agree. The whole Nazi thing..I mean to each their own. But I was already paid and I had given him the final product which he was very happy with. Nick I feel that he is a bully..and I don't think I should back down. He's ridiculous. I bent over backwards for that video project. I answered his texts at 1am about changes that needed to be made. So this raw footage situation just seems like a reason to try to get over on me.


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David Roth Weiss
Re: aw Footage, No Contract, No Deal
on May 31, 2011 at 2:57:20 am

Like Gary, this sounds to me like a bad bluff. I know loads and loads of lawyers, and there isnt't one of them who ever makes frivolous calls to the opposition in a legitimate legal matter. They'd look at this situation as a waste of their time, and none would take two seconds to pursue something like this unless they thought it had potential to generate billing of at least 50 to $100k. So, you're dealing with idiots who are just hoping you're so green you'll fold like a bad tent.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles
http://www.drwfilms.com

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


Creative COW contributing editor and a forum host of the Business & Marketing and Apple Final Cut Pro forums.


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Steve Modica
Re: Raw Footage, No Contract, No Deal
on Jun 4, 2011 at 12:42:49 am

Having gone through contractual disputes before, here's my take:
It costs about $5k to have a lawyer file something for you properly. It would cost about $25k to take it to court and another 25k to get through the case. It's very unlikely the guys going to have that kind of coin laying around.
He could take you to small claims court, but as the previous post says, there's no contract! So what exactly is he suing for? Sit tight. You are in the driver seat in my view. No money, no tapes. He can make you an offer.

Steve Modica
CTO, Small Tree Communications


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grinner hester
Re: Raw Footage, No Contract, No Deal
on May 28, 2011 at 10:04:36 pm

wow. First, I dont know how religeon comes up in a pitch but don't let it happen. Second, against what many will say, skip the contract and just get half down and half upon delivery. In my 25 years of doing this, never have I chased anyone away by dangling a contract in front of em. I also don't make it a practice to preach my personal beliefs until we're firing one up after the production. That's when ther god, aliens, love life heavy topics come up... after the friendship is made. Rush that and you'll run off everyone from girlfriends to mother in laws. lol



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Mark Suszko
Re: Raw Footage, No Contract, No Deal
on May 30, 2011 at 12:00:14 am

"Messin' with the big boys now" .... so, the "Big Boys" have their music vids shot on DV now?

I.A.N.A.L., but my opinion personally is:

The original footage remains yours, unless specifically mentioned otherwise in a VALID contract. Your deal was to deliver a finished product. Did you? Then you should get paid. Verbal contracts without any proof are not worth the paper they are not written on. Contracts also are unenforceable unless proven valid, for example thru proof there was "consideration". Meaning, in this case, there is a canceled check or receipt to prove money, any amount of money, changed hands. With only a verbal agreement and no exchange of money, I doubt a judge is going to rule that there was a valid contract. You can ask the judge to force the artist to give you back the master, if you have not been paid. The burden will be on them to prove they paid you. If they want your raw footage and have no contractual basis to claim it, it's your right to keep it or sell it to them for however much you care to charge. It is less clear legally that you would be able to use that raw footage for any other purpose, but let's leave that aside for now. Bottom line right now is: you own it. If they want it, and you're willing to sell it as a separate deal, that's between the two of you. If keeping your name on your work is that important to you, I've got news: this client doesn't strike me as one that will keep that bargain, once they have what they wanted. You may have to just resign yourself to the fact this project is never going to be publicly seen, under the conditions you want.

As far as the client's personal baggage about their religion, it has no bearing on the deal, unless there was a written and co-signed memo about it. Clearly, this person and you are not a good fit, Domenique, and you should cut your losses and part ways. No good will come or continuing to communicate with this person or anybody but his/her actual lawyer. A real lawyer will tell you his name, heck, his real lawyer is going to send you written materials. Insist on all communication being by written and certified mail. I think this client;s behavior is all bluffing and bullying from a borderline crazy person. BTW, that has nothing to do with them being religious, necessarily. Plenty of crazy agnostics out there as well.

Next time they call you quoting scripture, tell them to look up Matthew: "The worker is worth his wage", and hang up. Use caller ID to block further crank calls, record incoming calls and keep a log. Build evidence for a harassment case. Or just walk away. These types feed on drama, and more attention only nurtures their illness. You can find other religious artists that don't have the same baggage.

Mostly, don't be intimidated. Jesus ministered to sinners and unbelievers, tax collectors and prostitutes, without shame. He came to save ALL. If it's good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for you, I should think. Talk to your atheist friend as and when you like, this "artist" has no right to judge you for it. Frankly, if only half of what you've described about this interaction is true, the artist isn't much of a true Christian in the first place.


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Scott Carnegie
Re: Raw Footage, No Contract, No Deal
on May 30, 2011 at 2:51:27 pm

This is simple, all of the religion BS aside, if they want the raw footage charge them a fee per tape and hand it over. You were paid for the shoot and the edit, that part is done, holding onto raw footage you can't use is worthless.

This dick waving contest is not worth your time or the money you would spend on a lawyer.

http://www.MediaCircus.TV
Media Production Services
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada


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Dominique Lee
Re: aw Footage, No Contract, No Deal
on May 30, 2011 at 3:36:39 pm

Lol @ "dick waving contest." Scott if I had one to wave I sure wouldn't do it around another man. But I already think I know where that'll go if I charge him for the tapes..he said they belong to him since his face is on them..smh. I'll go ahead and tell him I'll charge him for them IF he calls again. He might be done with this bluff hopefully.


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Scott Carnegie
Re: aw Footage, No Contract, No Deal
on May 30, 2011 at 4:12:52 pm

[Dominique Lee] "dick waving contest.""

Metaphorically :)

Obviously this "artist" is incorrect about the ownership of the tapes, just becasue his image is on them doesn't mean anything. IMO it's better to appease and quickly be done with people like this, it's not worth the headache. BUT, make a copy of the tapes, have them sign something about you being able to use portion of the raw footage for demo reel purposes and drop these folks :)

http://www.MediaCircus.TV
Media Production Services
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada


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Craig Seeman
Re: Raw Footage, No Contract, No Deal
on May 30, 2011 at 3:38:11 pm

[Scott Carnegie] "f they want the raw footage charge them a fee per tape and hand it over."

They didn't call him asking to buy the footage nor did the calls seem to indicate any willingness to negotiate a fair price. They called and threatened him with legal action instead in addition to personal attacks based on religion. Just a guess but I doubt they'd pay any fee at all.

Also vindictive clients may not "go away" even if you give them the tapes. They may then claim all sorts of problems with the tapes and demand you make good. They accidentally crease the tapes and blame you. They see sections with poor video and audio that weren't used in the final production and blame you. The raw footage is uncorrected and blame you for a bad shoot. The client puts the tape in wrong type of deck and can't playback the tape and blames you. Handing over raw footage can leave you vulnerable to a vindictive client.



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Steve Wargo
Re: Raw Footage, No Contract, No Deal
on Jun 1, 2011 at 3:32:01 pm

Don't give that jerk nuthin'. YOU own the tapes and the copyright. HE owns the rights to his image. Neither of you have nuthin'.

I have dealt with his kind before and they have never prevailed. Consider this a lesson in bad human nature. Newbies get so excited that they get to do something, they forget that it's a business, not a creative outlet.

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 .

Ask me how to Market Yourself using Send Out Cards


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Dominique Lee
Re: Raw Footage, No Contract, No Deal
on Jun 1, 2011 at 10:34:14 pm

I definitely understand this now. I gave him the final product. He was happy. I feel that after he said thank you and closed that door I was done. Whatever issues he has now are those he's going to have to argue with himself about. I haven't heard anything from the situation since last week. Maybe he's over it. But if I do hear from him again I think he'll just have to pay for a lawyer. I'm done playing phone tag.


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Craig Seeman
Re: Raw Footage, No Contract, No Deal
on Jun 1, 2011 at 11:01:10 pm

Just for the record what I usually offer sane and civil clients when they ask for master after the fact (not in the contract) is the following options depending on circumstance.

They can send me a selects list from the time code burn in dub I've send them and they can send me back the time codes they want. I charge for doing the edit selects for them

I offer to do a dub/clone (no generation loss in these digital days) and I charge my dub rate. Yes I charge for copying files. This is a service I offer because I can tell them I also have a copy in case anything happens to the tapes/files I send them. This also protects me if they claim that the copy they get is unplayable.

I can sell them the files outright and I have them sign an agreement that they accept them as is and I'm not held responsible for providing any backup support (I retain no copies). This often scares them away from going this route.



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Dominique Lee
Re: Raw Footage, No Contract, No Deal
on Jun 1, 2011 at 11:24:55 pm

If I get another call then I'll suggest this. But I believe he'll bring up the whole thing about the tapes being "HIS" again. *eye roll* He can have a copy all he wants. I don't care. I would have done that a long time ago if he had simply asked. But he'll probably be a butt about it and ask for the master. He's getting a copy..and he'll need to leave me be.


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Craig Seeman
Re: Raw Footage, No Contract, No Deal
on Jun 2, 2011 at 12:41:42 am

Note I said "sane and civil" so as you also asses, I don't think your client qualifies. They're not his and the cost for the dub will likely be less than his cost for a lawyer. If you want to be tongue in cheek, or maybe more accurately, tongue out of cheek, you can say that's your "out of court" settlement offer. He pays and he gets a COPY. He can threaten and get nothing but a huge lawyer bill instead.



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Dominique Lee
Re: Raw Footage, No Contract, No Deal
on Jun 1, 2011 at 10:29:18 pm

I'm choosing to let him do as he pleases. This whole thing is ridiculous. I don't wish to speak to or hear from him.He's threatened me, insulted me, and has tried to take advantage of me. If he choses to take everything to court so be it. He's going to look like a fool regardless. I know what I own, I know what I can't use, and I know what I was paid for. He's just having a huge ego trip. And I'm not responsible for feeding that.


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Steve Wargo
Solution
on Jun 1, 2011 at 3:10:26 pm

Send him a bill and sue in small claims if he doesn't pay. Keep any and all letters, emails, answering machine recordings as evidence. Have everyone write down dates of phone calls and content. Do this NOW.

In the future, get 50% up front. And deliver only when they have MONEY. He planned this from the beginning and has you scared to death.

Learn this when you're young.

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 .

Ask me how to Market Yourself using Send Out Cards


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Gary Hazen
Re: Solution
on Jun 1, 2011 at 5:11:09 pm

Apparently you missed this:

[Dominique Lee] "I was paid."


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Dominique Lee
Re: Solution
on Jun 2, 2011 at 1:35:00 am

So my lawyer told him five days ago to contact me to set up when to drop off everything and I typed up a document saying he received the footage and this was terminating our business relationship. No call. I did receive a text today from the artist telling me to call him when I was ready. -_- really? He's just playing tit for tat now. I told him I'll mail it to him and he's pretty upset that I'm not dropping it off in person. The more ridiculous it gets the more ridiculous it will sound if he decides to take it to court. I'm not sweating it anymore.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Solution
on Jun 2, 2011 at 2:15:10 am

If using US Postal service, pay extra for delivery confirmation with signature required, or do FedEx with signature required. Either way, get a tracking number. You need written proof from a third party to confirm delivery. Document everything.


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Dominique Lee
Re: Solution
on Jun 2, 2011 at 2:18:05 am

That's the plan! But he replied that "Mail is an unnecessary risk that would create exposure on my end." O_o He tried. I offered. He didn't take it. He can't MAKE me hand deliver something. Oh well.


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Steve Wargo
Re: Solution
on Jun 5, 2011 at 9:03:09 pm

I did miss that. So why not send him all of the materials and kiss the project and the client goodby. Why keep the tapes? But, have the client sign a "as is" acceptance form?

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 .

Ask me how to Market Yourself using Send Out Cards


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Dominique Lee
Re: Raw Footage, No Contract, No Deal
on Jun 2, 2011 at 4:53:46 am

So now he says the raw footage belongs to him and the tapes belong to me but he'll pay for the tapes. BUT he won't negotiate. ??? He's weird. I told him $15 a tape and we'll see what he has to say. Hopefully yes so he can leave me be.


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Craig Seeman
Re: Raw Footage, No Contract, No Deal
on Jun 2, 2011 at 6:13:23 am

[Dominique Lee] "So now he says the raw footage belongs to him and the tapes belong to me but he'll pay for the tapes. BUT he won't negotiate. "

Actually you're in control. He either pays what you want or he pays what a lawyer wants. He has to decide what's less expensive.

[Dominique Lee] "I told him $15 a tape and we'll see what he has to say."
I'd charge based on the running time of each tape. That's the thing of value (at least theoretically).

[Dominique Lee] "Hopefully yes so he can leave me be."
There's some chance he'll follow by claiming there's an issue with the tapes. You should have him sign a document that he accepts the tapes and materials recorded on them as is. If he pays, wait until the check clears.



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Dominique Lee
Re: Raw Footage, No Contract, No Deal
on Jun 2, 2011 at 7:25:17 pm

He didn't reply to me asking for $15 each tape. He did say he's expecting them in five days. No money no tapes. Once again. He tried. I'm not withholding anything. If you don't pay for something you don't get it. "No ticket, no laundry." lol.


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Raw Footage, No Contract, No Deal
on Jun 2, 2011 at 8:19:49 pm

[Dominique Lee] "He didn't reply to me asking for $15 each tape. He did say he's expecting them in five days. No money no tapes."

You were out of your mind to charge him just $15 per tape - you should have charged for the tape plus an hourly duplication fee based upon the run time of each of the tapes. In any case, that's water under the bridge now.

At this point, you should simply ignore him; don't write him, don't do anything, simply wait for him to contact you when the tapes don't arrive. Then, let him know that you never received his check, and that you will gladly send the tapes upon receiving his cashiers check for the total amount due in full.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles
http://www.drwfilms.com

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Dominique Lee
Re: Raw Footage, No Contract, No Deal
on Jun 4, 2011 at 12:02:17 am

He refuse to sign to take the tapes as is and told me to go get something to view them on. O_o And he doesn't know whether or not the tapes are damaged so he won't sign the contract. But he'll accept them without a contract because he "legally doesn't have to sign anything."


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Raw Footage, No Contract, No Deal
on Jun 4, 2011 at 12:07:06 am

Ignore him. Go on with your life. What's he going to do, sue you for $15 per tape? Let him do it.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles
http://www.drwfilms.com

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


Creative COW contributing editor and a forum host of the Business & Marketing and Apple Final Cut Pro forums.


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Steve Wargo
Re: Raw Footage, No Contract, No Deal
on Jun 5, 2011 at 9:19:30 pm

Offer him this: Send your rep over and I'll give you 30 minutes to review the tapes and give him the originals AFTER he signs that the tapes are in good shape. Shoot the transaction with a discrete camera in the corner, advising him that you're doing so.

Why drag this out and why keep anything to do with the project?

Interesting story - I did a job for a client in 2007 and they called yesterday asking for footage to make a new TV spot, in-house. I looked their records up and they requested the original footage to store because they didn't trust any "outsiders" with their precious footage. I can understand that and have recommended against it as we have never lost anything and I have library tapes going back to 1983.

It seems at though the former manager left the company and the tapes are nowhere to be found. I did get $40 for a Quicktime of their finished 8 minute production that was still sitting in a folder on one of the edit machines.

I have one client that moved their entire operation to Texas. I asked if they wanted their library and they said "Hell no. We'll just lose that for sure".

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

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