I wish I understood clients thoughts better.
2 months ago a manager for a local band contacted me about working on a music video for one of the bands he manages. We spoke briefly about prices and what they were thinking. And then set up a meeting with the band to talk some more.
The first meeting did not go well…actually it didn’t happen at all. A friend of mine who was going to help in shooting the video and I arrived at the house where the band were to be practicing 15 minutes early. We didn’t see a single car in front of the house or a light on. No big deal. We drove to a gas station and got a soda and came back at the time we had agreed on. Still nothing. So we walk up to the house and knock on the door a couple of times. No answer. We write it off as its a band, they will be here any minute. We go back to the car. And sit for 5 minutes. I text the manager and ask him what is going on. 15 minutes after our meeting was supposed to begin he replies saying he doesn’t know they should be there and he will give them a call. 10 minutes later I am told two of them are still working and I can wait another 20 minutes or go wait where they work and speak there. Kind of frustrated I tell the manager I will not be waiting, this is the wrong way to start something like this out, and they will have to reschedule.
A couple days later we go back and have a really good meeting with them discussing what they want to do and their expectations. We get tons of ideas from them. They tell us where they want to shoot and that they can get the place. I just ask they get me some dates and the couple of weekends I am free. Awesome, feeling good about this now.
Over the next couple of weeks in my free time after getting home from work I break down the song and write out a basic production plan as well as create story boards. I send them over the story boards. I get a reply saying the manager loves them and the bands really excited. We are going to set up another meeting soon and walk through the production.
A week goes by and I get a message basically saying the weekend they want to shoot. And they are worried about the price of the venue if I can shoot everything I need to do in 2-3 hours. I explain I won’t be able to do some of the things in the story boards, and we may have to have a second day to shoot just to get the other shorts, and that I will revise the story boards after we have our next meeting. No problem.
First meeting time they came to me with was the only day I could not meet during the week. I get asked about the weekend. I mention I could meet after 5 on a Sunday as I’d be out of town. Saturday I get a hold of the manager because I have not heard any confirmation about a time. They are meeting at noon, could I meet at noon. No, I’m not in down and won’t be back until around 5 possibly.
Some times passes and I get a call on a Wednesday evening. The band decided not to book the venue because they are playing lots of live shows and want to change the idea to something like that. Could I meet the next night at 5. And possibly shoot at a huge concert where they are going to play that Friday or possibly at another huge event that I know they don’t just let people walk into with a camera and start shooting. I call back the manager and explain in order to do this well the band will need to start and stop ALOT. I could shoot it live but I can’t come up with more than 2 shooters in 24 hours and I’ll have one chance to get it all perfect. And this is not the idea we discussed or planned for. I mentioned I could meet Thursday at 5 but I didn’t really see the point and there isn’t a rush because we are essentially starting over.
The manager called me a couple days ago apologizing for it not working out. And that he felt like we had a good plan and it just went away. I am not mad at him. I am not really mad at the bad either. Just frustrated that I let them waste my time. There were signs that I should have just walked away several times. It should have been obvious we were going to have problems when they didn’t want to rent the venue as long as we needed for the video even though they would make it up in tickets and still turn a profit for the concert they would hold immediately after we finished shooting. And they were going to pay me for something they probably won’t make a profit off of? Kind of odd.
This is not the first time this has happened to me either. But last time we at least started shooting. And then they decided not finished. Never apologized. Which is why I now have a contract so I at least get some of my money. But as I have it now they basically pay some when I show up to shoot and then the remaining amount upon delivery of the video before I release it to them.
I guess I’ll be rewriting it to be a deposit before I really work on anything with a project. At least so I have something to show for my time. Its just frustrating.