View Full Version : Business Advice - Client Delays

09-03-2015, 06:54 PM
I'm working on a project with multiple rounds of shoots/deliverables and the last location shoot has been delayed for over a month now. I asked for additional compensation to cover the delays and the extended period of work. Workload hasn't necessarily changed but the project went from a 1 to 4+ month gig and it's gotten in the way of other client work (especially when I had to block out days for the last shoot which didn't materialize as delays increased). This was a marketing experiment for the client (major nat'l brand) so I took a reduced rate knowing that if successful, future gigs would have better budgets.

As a freelance director, I usually bake in kill fees and stipulate that delays over 'x' days require rates negotiation to cover my butt when projects stall out or slow down. Unfortunately, I made a big mistake and started work on this project without a contract. It's been a long time since I've done that, and I would usually never consider it these days, but the client is a huge one and the production company seemed very trustworthy and totally on my side. I thought that I wouldn't have a bad experience and even if I did, the benefits of working for such a high-caliber client would outweigh the bad. I'm on the fence about that at this point

Anyways, I was curious if anyone had advice for dealing with this situation (besides 'work with a contract,' I know, I've definitely learnt my lesson)? I know I have little leverage here, but any insight is useful.

Also, when you do have a contract, what kind of protections do you have built in to make sure bad projects don't kill you financially? I just moved back to freelancing after leading production at an agency so most of my freelancing experience was working on pretty small projects. The switch has been quite the learning experience so I'm interested in how other people do it at the higher levels. Better to use this as a learning experience rather than just getting upset.

09-03-2015, 10:07 PM
Ugh, I'm curious as well how to resolve a situation like this. I have a client who had me shoot an event last summer, paid me half, went AWOL for over a year, contacted me a month ago to do the edit and has gone incommunicado again (after I put in almost three edit days). I feel your pain :/
BTW I didn't have a contract with this particular client (friend of a friend) but I do usually work with a contract and it doesn't always guarantee this stuff won't happen.

09-03-2015, 10:19 PM
I feel your pain. Just like all the online filmmaking resources, there should be good education for clients too. Better clients make for better videos and I think many would care enough to take time to learn about the process if they had solid resources available to them.

Edit: your case might be a good candidate for 'the magic email.' - http://themagicemail.com/

09-03-2015, 11:18 PM
Thanks for the link, that is an awesome email response!... I agree with you 100% about clients needing to be better educated...