Wednesday, November 23, 2011

"Deferred" does not mean "potential none, maybe?"

I've been speaking with this guy for a while. He's sent emails back and forth and been a little vague about the project. He's just asked a few times if we could meet, which, for the sake of my sanity and my wallet, I tend not to do with clients who aren't definite.

 This guy looks legit.

Basically, if I drove to meet everyone who was considering a videographer, I'd be very, very broke.

We found a time where I'd be in his area and we could discuss the project. He kept mentioning "deferred payment" and asked if I was comfortable with it. I said I've been in situations where deferred payment was defined up front, and they're just fine as long as everyone is clear on the terms. He than begin to bring up he'd be out his time and money, as well, if the project never got picked up, so he hoped it would be for everyone's sake.

He then asked if maybe we were discussed two different forms of "deferred payment." Judging from that previous statement, I told him we certainly were. Deferred has never meant "maybe" to me, it's, at the least, meant "eventually." I told him I couldn't work on a project where compensation wasn't definite.

He was then wanting to discuss my rates. I told him my normal rate, and he seemed almost perplexed. He began telling me about other people who were very interested in working on his project, who were willing to work for free.

...Why the hell do you need ME if someone's willing to work for free?

We just need someone to make sure they've got the settings right. Also, clean up their shit.

He then gave me this bargaining chip of the Gods.

By comparison, I have a guy that is a little more local, that also does great work, that would happily do it for $300/half day and $50/hr on the editing.

Then what the fiery fuck are doing still talking to me?! Find that guy! Go get that guy! You scoop him up and you never let him go! If you've got someone who's willing to work for considerably less than I am, why are you still trying to convince me?!

Probably because he doesn't exist.

 Not that kind of "doesn't exist." Less sexy. More imaginary.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Aggressive Negotiations

I wrote out the title before I remembered that it's from a movie I pretend doesn't exist on a daily basis. Please forgive me.

I haven't posted in a while, which occasionally means that there's a shortage of crazy emails. Fantastic! In this instance, though, it's just a shortage of free time to commit to chronicling them all. For today's story, I'll have to start sometime a time long, long ago, namely the month of June.

I've had several correspondences with a guy who needed a videographer... and by several, I mean we've sent at least 30 emails back and forth. He asks a lot of very odd, novice questions, but there's no reason for me to be less than polite. At some point, he tells me he'll "get back to me."

Arby's said the same thing when I applied in 2003. Still waitin' on that call, guys.

Almost immediately after, on the same day the first conversation stopped, I responded to another listing for another crew position. The same guy responded, saying "you do this, too?!" Another conversation ensued, followed by another "I'll get back to you." These two conversations spanned, literally, several months.

A few weeks ago he posted another listing, and I responded, having no clue it was his posting. He told me about this new, third, project, and asked me how much I'd ask for the job, and I gave him a quote.

I was met with outrage. "That's not what you told me in June!" Well... yes, it's a different job, with different requirements and time commitment, and a third of a year has passed. I told him we could discuss and negotiate if he'd like, but I couldn't flex too much because, simply put, I could get that amount from a different job that I'd be doing if I weren't helping him. I haven't heard back sense. Fine by me.

Today is about a week later, and I get a response last night at 1:30am to a listing I responded to yesterday.

"I'm just curious as to why you would take this pay all of a sudden when my castmate (afformentioned person) offered you the same pay."

Allow me to point out that this is the FIRST thing they say... no hello, no introduction. This is what I get, as if I'm supposed to know who they are from their listing alone (which has no name or other information, and is incredibly incoherent).

What surprises me is that, if they feel I've offended or wronged them in some way, they'd continue to tell me about the project and try their best to convince me to take the position. It's like offering a used car dealer more than their asking price, and having them inhaling through their teeth and tell you, "I dunno, my manager's not gonna like that, but I'll ask..."

"But did I mention the seats are heated, if you sit on them long enough?"

Now, allow me to explain what "the same pay" means. The rest of their email goes on to explain the duration of the work. The original ad specified an amount that would be reasonable, if not a little low, for a full day's work, and made the amount sound as if it were potentially per day, or maybe "per episode." They specify in the email that this is the amount for FOUR MONTHS of work, October through February.

They even go on to explain why almost four months of work isn't so bad.

"We're only doing 15 episodes so we don't need you 24/7 for 3 odd months and some of these episodes are to be continueds so it's like one long one."

Oh, shit, it's only one movie? Sure, I'm free tonight at 10.

Then, they end the email with this little nugget of gold.

"Take it or leave it."

That's a tough choice and all, but I think I'd be better off waiting for Arby's. They'd pay more.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

For The Glory of God

I've had fewer posts lately... which, frankly, is good, because it means fewer weirdos have emailed me. I have a few I'll post, but for today, I wanted to share something related.

After a fairly decent amount of work in July, I got a little excited that maybe summer would produce a lot of freelance work. August didn't fare so well... at all. I'm reminded slightly what American poverty tastes like.

It tastes a lot like eating the melted cheese off the box, because it's technically a "microwave-safe dish"

I am selling my previous camera because I'm working with a new one. The current price is very reasonable, well below what I've seen them go for recently, and it's on Ebay, so they'll rape me for about 10-15% of that. I got this message today on Ebay.

Honestly. I can't even make jokes about it. It's that straight forward. The irony is, the other interested party shoots porn, and had no problem offering a reasonable amount.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Trends of the Perpetually Useless

I'd like to put together a little list of do's and don'ts for people looking for video work. I've had this sitting on my desktop for a while, figured screw it, I'd share it. It's funny on it's own.

If you're hiring videographers, designers, or basically anyone for that matter, it's best to be a little less last minute than this.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Last-Ass Minute

I did a shoot this morning, fun work, out in the sun, good pay, very friendly client. Also shot along side another shooter friend that I brought along, so all in all, it was a good day. The client was a previous Redskins and Dolphins player, and surprisingly, my complete lack of knowledge of any kind of sports, including what the ball for each individual sport is shaped and sized like, didn't hurt the video.

Did you happen to play with Ray Finkle? He's... the only NFL player I've heard of.

I got a call while I was on the shoot and took it because I thought it might be the gig coordinator checking in. It was a "potential client" (I even end up doing air quotations when I say it out loud, because most of these people will NEVER be actual clients), and they needed someone for a feature film shoot. I told her I was a bit busy on a shoot, that didn't stop her!

"Yeah yeah, right, I get it, you're dedicated, moving on..."

She asked me a dozen questions about my background (all of which are answered in my resume) before telling me ANYTHING about the gig. She then said it started Monday, and paid $150 a day. For reference, today's shoot was somewhere around $300 for a half-day shoot, and a half-day shoot in the commercial world is a quarter-day shoot in the film world (average day on a film set being 12+ hours). I told her I wasn't so sure if I could do that for her, and asked how long the schedule was.

"It's a one month shoot, and a one month commitment."

I told her no, politely, but flat out. Who in the hell thinks they're going to get someone's entire July, a month full of hotdogs and things that you buy off the side of the road from a trailer and then set on fire, and also a freelance videographer's most productive time of the year, on three days notice for $150/day? No, thanks.

She told me they needed an editor, too, and I suggested I might still be available for that. She told me, "oh, we need someone who's going to be available all July to edit while we shoot, so it's done when we're done shooting... We have deadlines."

"I'm like the Rip Van Winkle of speedballs! Anyway, we're pretty pressed for time."

It's 9:45, and I just got another call. The "potential client" was very nice, but he wanted a HD shooter for... tomorrow morning. I told him I had rented my HD camera out for the weekend, and had an SD version available. That simply wouldn't do for him. I guess last-minute beggers CAN be choosers!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

All I Ever Wanted

I went on vacation last week. Pleasant time was had by all. I still sent out resumes when there wasn't much else to do, and it paid off. I got a good, solid shoot out of it, and I'm glad I continued to apply for stuff when I was technically supposed to be laying back and doing all of jack and shit.

A pack of wild vacationers, hunting in packs. Clever girls.

There was one potential client who I responded to a listing for, and he called me almost immediately. This was Friday, my sweet, beautiful vacation ended Sunday. It seemed like a good sign. He needed someone to shoot for a girl's volleyball game, three days of shooting total and editing. He followed this by, "how much would you charge, because I'm just not going to pay, like, $300 or something crazy for it." At this point, I knew pretty well I wasn't interested. $300 for three days of shooting, and then editing all that material and producing the number of DVDs he wanted, would be considerably less than minimum wage when dividing the hours of work into the compensation offered, and three days of travel alone would almost reduce that very low offer to half... And that's what he thought was TOO MUCH.

So I told him, plainly, I'd have to ask considerably more than that, more than twice that. Even that, for three days or work and editing, is low for a freelance videographer, but I figured that would send him hanging up quicker than Takeru Kobayashi could eat five hotdogs.

Allow me to assure you, that's fast.

That's when he said something incredibly explanatory of his intentions: "well, alright, we need someone, so whatever." His low offer was just in hopes of getting someone for insanely, mind-numbingly, nipple-chafingly cheap. Well, whatever. So I said sure. He told me, "alright, well, you'll need to be there at 10am tomorrow..."
 "Wait, wait, hold up..." - Dolf

He needed someone for THE NEXT DAY? The next three days? For that cheap? No wonder he called me so promptly.

I told him I wouldn't be available. He quickly hung up. An hour or so later, he asked me via email if I knew anyone else who was available last minute.

This prompted me to write something new. I'll take some time on it, but look for the Guide For Clients, a do and don't list of ways to approach getting freelance artists involved in your projects. This is one of the main points: Do expect things to take time, and allot it. Don't hire the day before, or the day of. You'd be astounded by how many listings I see looking for people the SAME DAY, and sometimes for several day, or week, commitments. This is a prime example.

Others include "Do have cake; Don't eat the cake you've offered me."

Speaking of cake, it's Bruce Campbell's birthday. Hail to the king.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Evil Scientists and Bloated Bellies

I shot a video a few weeks to a month ago for a plastic surgery office. Everyone in the office, from the doctors to the staff, short a few employees, had plastic surgery. It reminded me an awful lot of that scene from Escape From LA.

 LA's "surgeon general," GET IT?!

Anyway, I recently got a call from the office saying one of the doctors wanted his interview reshot because he disliked, in hindsight, that he was in a white coat in front of a white wall. This meant driving to DC for a 2-minute reshoot of an interview and driving home with those terrifying images renewed in my brain. I disliked this idea. They also were offering a compensation that basically meant I'd have made my gas money back and little else. I'd almost be doing it for free. Mind you, this isn't MY client, but a client of the company which I shoot for occasionally.

I offered to colorize the background, but they disliked that idea.

Really? Are you sure?

On the flip side, I had an excellent client yesterday who treated me entirely opposite of most of the people I've shot for through this company, by which I mean he treated me like a competent, intelligent individual rather than a meandering, drooling gruntworker. He even offered to take me to lunch for my efforts, which I can honestly say was one of the nicest things any client has ever done. In casual conversation, he mentioned the price he paid the company for the video. 

I won't name specifics, but I will say that the office does the initial contact and final revisions on the video, while I do the travel, shooting, in-person communication, editing, and submission. This takes, on average, about 10 hours per video. By my math, I make about 7% of what the company sees from each video. If I weren't so full of delicious lunch, still, I'd be agast and relentlessly angry.

The plus side to stomach distension is being full for days. Anger uses too many precious calories, so now I can't afford food OR fury.

Monday, May 30, 2011


I just got a check for $315 for the "deferred payment" job. It took a few extra phone calls, which generally ended with "yeah, I'm signin' em as we speak!"

 And I'm totally not fully of shit. I've signed this check six times over two weeks, I promise.

Things are lookin' up!

Also, any other videographers ever have a client who gets fresh and friendly with the camera, presuming to ask where various manual controls are and adjusting the tripod to set up a shot rather than asking you, the educated professional, to set it up for them? I met this kind of client for the first time recently, and I must say, I was pretty surprised. He said he was an "amateur photographer," so I guess that's where the behavior came from, assuming the equipment was the same. Presuming that it's acceptable to do so, however, is pretty ridiculous. If someone were to do this with a different profession, I think they'd quickly run into trouble, and by "trouble," I mean a man of considerable size who would like to hand their ass to them for being a doofus.

So, I'm going to pay for my pizza, and after that, I'm gonna go back and make it myself, cool? Also, I'm going to deliver it to me, so I need to remember to tip myself.

Also, I got this email today. I felt like it was a pretty good standard for what Craigslist emails are like.

The potential client (I use that phrase vaguely, because it can range from "someone who's likely to be a client" to "a drooling marsupial who wants pretty picatures for a Ruby Tuesdays gift card") posted a listing looking for a "Music Video Editor." I sent them my cover letter and resume.

They responded. No hello, no greeting or closing, just a list of the three music videos they wanted done, song titles and general ideas for the video. Not particular articulate.

I asked if they had a budget for the project (not for ME, or other crew members, for the project costs), any other crew, etc, or if he still needed a shooter and director.

He responded.

All I need is someone to record it,edit it and get it up on youtube.What do you think I need?

Remember, he was looking for an EDITOR originally, someone to edit the final project from the ALREADY SHOT material. Then, he made it obvious that he was still in pre-production, at which point I asked some pretty straightforward questions. That was his response.

This is the equivalent of going into a auto paint shop, telling them you need your car painted, and then letting them know that you have extra needs beyond the description of their services on their fucking sign out front.

I need a new engine, my brakes checked, and the gunshot hole in the windshield drilled so it'll stop cracking... Then you can repaint it. Deal?

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Labor not included

I was contracted for a job that I completed last night. It was pretty unusual, but it wasn't too bad at all. I brought along another videographer and we shot on either side of an MMA fighting ring, recording the fights and simultaneously broadcasting our feed to the big screens for the audience. 23 fights. Pretty ridiculous.

I've had enough testosterone for a month, I need to watch The Notebook promptly.

Aside from the fairly usual "oh, I conveniently forgot to read the invoice or contract before you got here and I have issues with it (don't want to pay for various things)," everything went pretty smoothly. The client was pretty nice, no real problems, except for my balance and ability to stand on a platform the size of a four square section that's attached to the ring, and therefore moved about when the fighters do, and do handheld camera operation while holding on for dear life. The trouble came when we were about to leave, and waiting for payment.

The client said, "alright, a few things," which never means good stuff is about to come out of their mouth. At that point in the job, there shouldn't be "a few things" to discuss, unless they'd like to talk about each monetary bill individually and their aesthetic merits.

"Seriously, dude, if you fold it just right, you can see the twin towers... but beavers railing eachother is still funnier."

There weren't really "a couple things." What he told us was that one of his employees was headed to them ATM to get our payment, and that we "still needed to help them tear down their equipment, as was part of the agreement." This was never "part of the agreement," nor is it a videographer's job to help another production company tear down their station, dozens of lights and speakers, truss, and other equipment and load several tons of it into a panel van. He did say, at one point, that if we had extra time before shooting and they still needed help setting up, he'd pay us to assist. However, this wasn't in writing (phone conversation), and "part of the agreement" doesn't smack of "pay us" for the added labor. I didn't argue it, because he had already made a fuss about having to compensate us for gas and tapes as per the invoice and contract, so I figured we'd help them throw some stuff in the van. Add to that, we had foolishly handed in our tapes to the PA as we shot, so we had no leverage. He had our work in full, completed, and we had nothing in return. That was before I realized all the lights and truss was theirs.

 "Octamania," no longer limited to tentacle porn festivals or witty nicknames for one's penis.

Four hours later, we had loaded the panel van and a secondary truck with equipment. We collect our cash, a few dollars short of the invoice and without any extra payment for the labor, and we head home.

From now on, we're holding tapes and other media until we're paid in full, and I've added "for legal and insurance purposes, we cannot do labor for other production companies unless contracted and paid" to our contract. Lesson learned.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Here's a quick one. I've been trying to keep my stories spaced a bit so, under the hopeful assumption that the human race will somehow get smarter, less skeezy, and more reliable in the course of mere months, I will still have stories to tell and keep the blog running in the future. However, this was my day, and I thought I'd put it in writing.

The freelance video work I do most frequently is pretty cut and dry. Travel a few hours, shoot a video, bring it home, cut it, turn it in for a pretty low-rent return, at least in the eyes of the average professional freelance videographer or editor. The company collects the clients, they arrange a shooting date, the shoots late two hours (hypothetically), I do the leg work, I turn it in, they do the final touches and get it back to the client. Clients are generally small businesses.

There've been a few snags. That happens when you bring living, breathing people into the mix. Some videos have taken hours extra because clients are unprepared, some clients are huge, ravenous hosebeasts bent on the domination of the cosmetic marketing world and my testicles

I never use them, if you want them that much, just have em and stop emailing me

And others are just clueless. Sometimes this is ok. There've been plenty of times where I've walked into a shoot and a client had no idea what the intended to say or do. No problem. A few times, I've walked into the office and the client would say, "oh, that's today?" That's fine, because generally, they are polite enough to realize they forgot, and the fault is on them. A few times, however, clients simply back out. They forget, something comes up last minute (by last minute I mean the landlord is doing renovations and they JUST realized that jackhammers are loud), or they just ate a whole Winchester House worth of lead paint a kid and it's starting to kick in.

I thought I'd be like Spiderman, instead I got a non-operable benign tumor the size of a caribou, but the plus side is I can do this

Actually, this happens so frequently that they actually have a clause for it: a $25 payout for a same-day cancellation. Sometimes that means they cancel while I'm still in bed, other times it means I'm in my car, driving, or even there already, when clients shit the proverbial bed.

I guess they could have cancelled while I was still in bed by shitting in it, but that seems premeditated
When I'm driving from WV to DC, the trouble with that is that this complimentary $25, the equivalent of a pair of Sketchers when the Green Iguanas get second place on Legends of the Hidden Temple, is that the consolation prize doesn't even cover gas if I'm already there.

Today was a new first. I traveled, I called the client on the road, and guess what? No answer. Whatever, I still have to make the appointment. I park and approach the business, located in the middle of a strip mall, and notice the sign on the door and darkened store front.

It was a dance studio, I don't know why I chose a photo with barred windows like an inner city pawn shop
I called the office to check in, and while it was a bummer, they didn't seem surprised. Clients like this crop up all the time. I think a few extra "remember the appointment, champ!" calls could fix this issue. But until then, I'll be driving really far for coffee from the high-priced bistro that always seems to be right next door. Thank God for them.
Note to self: fewer human clients.

Pardon me, but would you like the killing of all humans video-graphed?

Remembering classes is the toughest part

So, it's 6am, and since about, I dunno, 9pm last night, I recorded a voiceover for this client's video (read: class work), edited it down, found dozens of stock photo images, placed them all in properly, animated them, added a few video clips, and placed some generic music behind it. It's... ludicrous.

I used a clip of surprised kitten and the phrase "I put studying before doing other things, like watching TV or playing with animals." I'm not kidding.

It may sound like I've finally snapped and started wearing a tinfoil hat (also in the video, there was a photo of a man in a tinfoil hat), but I should specify that I sent the client the script, along with the invoice and contract, and he approved them all and returned the contract signed. He was into it, and willing to spend his cash on it.

The client gave me virtually no information himself or the class, and the presentation was supposed to be very personal, and relate to his success in college and, specifically, that course. When I asked him the name of the class, this was his response.


That's it. One word.

It seemed that, if I asked more than one question, he only answered one, so I slowed it down a bit. I later asked again, the name of the course with which he was hiring me to do a video for. I asked what DS106 was an acryonym for.

"I have no idea honestly class description only says "group success" I'm forced to take this class before graduating because my freshman year I failed 2 classes"

HE DOESN'T KNOW THE NAME OF THE COURSE HE'S TAKING. And, being that it's the end of the semester, this suggests he's been taking the course, this is his final, and he DOESN'T KNOW THE NAME OF THE COURSE HE'S FINISHING.

So, I worked with what little information I had, and literally outsourced the would-be term paper part of the project out to CJM Venter, because I literally couldn't write a paper about a dude's life who I didn't know constructed entirely out of fiction, bullshit, and cardboard.

Sort of like the props in Star Wars. Seriously, do you see a lightsaber there, because I fucking do.

  He used a lot of jive words and synonyms for success, and sprinkled some English instructor juju on it. He created a backstory for him where he was doing poorly in all aspects of his college career, his personal relationships, and his professional life. Even his parents thought he was a putz. Then, his older brother, who was always more successful, likeable, and apparently, nail-able than him, went to jail for driving under the influence (pictured in video: alcohol, pills, pop rocks/soda).

No, no, officer, really, I put the pop rocks in my mouth, choked a little, and when I drank the soda, I thought I was going to die, it was like a coronary in my face.

Then, he got his life together, did better in class, and is hoping to become a pilot or join the police academy after college graduation (pictured in video: blow-up pilot from Airplane, cast of Police Academy).

He approved that script, I did the video to suit. Good luck, man, let's hope your professor has the same sense of humor we do. I'm going to bed.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

College is hard

Hope everyone had a good May the 4th.

Yes, that's me, and yes, I'm a huge fucking nerd.

Anyway, I have a new story. This one, however, ends like a choose your own adventure. I have yet to get to the ending. We'll see how it goes.

A young man posted an ad looking for someone to shoot a video for him for a college presentation. It seemed honest enough, and I got in touch with him.

He told me he needed a video shot for a class, he wanted to have a video rather than, say, a Powerpoint, I guess. He didn't give me many details, and he told me it was due fairly soon, so I asked him for as much information as possible.
I didn't hear back from him for a few days, so I sent him another email, knowing he had a due date for the presentation, and thus the project. I didn't hear back, and assumed he had changed his mind.

Today, four days before the project is due, he sends me this outline.

Sorry my phone got disconnected so I had no Internet access and finals are killing me.... here's the assignment...... 

Show a presentation of how self management, personal responsibility, interdependence, and self awareness have helped you become successful this college semester..

2. Show and discuss 4 ideas that help you in your pursuit of educational goals... Make it personal

3.) presentation must be 4-7 minutes

4.)although I will grading the content more than anything keep in mind you have to have a formal presentation including and intro a body and a conclusion

So... What this means is, from my best guess, he doesn't just want me to do a video for him... He wants me to do his homework for him.

 Reason: Medical marijuana, Lasagna. 

So, I ask him to clarify, and if he has any idea... What so ever... About what he'd like this presentation to be on, seeing as the questions are fairly personal, and I know about as much about this guy as someone might know about a first date.

 Actually... Yeah, this one's a keeper. 

His response:

Well just swing it use common sense you know? Bullshit the thing basically lol

I'd say I'm in for a fun ride. I have 4 days to complete a 4-7 minute video project about a complete stranger. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Deferred 15... No, 30... Make it 60... Ish.

Here's a story of a job that I actually completed. The wackiness is still about, however.

This was another random resume send, and I didn't hear back. One Tuesday night, I get a call at 10:30 at night. This seems like a popular time for DC clients to make business calls.

Ugh, this shit's wearin' off... Oh man, I gotta call that guy...

The caller tells me he got my resume a few weeks ago and he wants me for a job in the morning, it was urgent. I was a bit baffled. Weeks to fill a position and he calls me the night before, after most people are asleep or winding down. Or, in his case, doing PCP. Anyway, I ask when the job takes place and where. He tells me it's in DC, at 10am. I sigh. For anyone who drives into DC in the morning, you know why. I ask how much it pays, and it's actually a decent amount, which was the first pleasant surprise of the conversation. Screw it. I'm in.

He emails me a contract, which is basic enough, the sort of thing you Google and find for free, and that would probably hold up in court about as well as a napkin with a drunk girl's phone number would hold up as "intend to commit sexual conduct."

I swear, your honor, she handed me that napkin and I feared for my safety... Have her cut me a check for mental duress.

I drive to the location, a hotel smack dab in the middle of DC. The contact number I am told to call is not for the man I spoke to the night before, but the other freelance video guys working the gig, who have just about as much stake in whether this things works or not as I do. I, of course, don't know that until after I started calling them. Walking to the hotel, I meet a very confused sound recorder on his way to the same shoot. Apparently he had just about as much info on the job as I did.

The job itself was actually very easy. Set up some equipment, shoot some very small interviews, eat really awesome hotel desserts. Score.

I mail back the flimsy contract along with an invoice and my receipt for parking. I don't hear back from the guy for 2 weeks. He was apparently "on a shoot."

Another 2 weeks, a month to the day after the work was done, I inquire about payment. I had yet to see a paycheck.

"I guess the invitation just got... lost in the mail..."

His response.

"Hey Charles -

I am still awaiting payment from the client.  I apologize for the delay, but expect payment this week or the next.  As soon as I receive payment, I will turn around a check for you the same day.

Thanks for your patience.


I waited another two weeks and sent another email asking how things were going.
"Hey Charles -

I just spoke to them today and they said checks are going out on 5/3, so I should have a check no later than 5/10 and will turn around the same day.  Sorry for the delay.  They did not tell me it was net 60 from the outset, and just sprung that on me today.  I apologize for any inconvenience.

This was just about three weeks ago. This marks two months.

Just out of curiosity, where do these people come from?

Where dinosaurs roam, humans rule and ride, and you can send a paycheck for work completed when ever the hell you feel like it.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The email

This is the email to go along with the previous post. For anyone who likes to read the legal info at the bottom of websites, do their friend's taxes for fun, or attempting to understand DC gun laws,  this might be for you. Be wary, it makes about as much sense as the rules to time travel in Time Cop.

What? I kick time, you travel through it, what's not to understand? Who wants toast?

Video shoot, Videographer needed

This is one of the emails in my "silly" folder. The email itself is pretty useless, I'll include it for anyone with a morbid curiousity. Basically, it gives no real information for the videographer, and it was their immediate response to my resume. No mention of... anything, really. I spoke with the representative, it was apparently a mass email mainly intended for the models, who apparently they feel have a brain the size of a peanut.

This is what came up when I Google'd "sexy triceratops." Well, this and furry porn.

Apparently they expect models to show up late, talk a lot, be out of makeup and undressed for the occasion. Why this makes me think of a scene from Dirty Harry is beyond me.

Go ahead, don't be dressed on time, it'll be what you wear to your funeral.

This is a video shoot, the models, the location, the makeup artists, the lights, everything has been secured and paid for under the express purpose of shooting a video. So, a videographer is kind of key. 

 Oh... Right... We need bullets for this kinda deal...
Anyway, the email implied that I was expected ("CONFIRMATIONS or CANCELLATIONS IS A MUST"), and I wanted to be sure we were on the same page. The representative said that the gig was unpaid, and tried to convince me why it was a good idea for me to shoot, anyway (if I hear "for your portfolio" one more goddamn time...). I told her it would cost me money just to travel there, so I couldn't do that. She asked how much it cost me to drive to DC, and I said $30 or so in gas.
The representative calls back the next day. At 11:30PM.

She is very polite, and tells me they've secured $30 for me. I told her thank you, but I couldn't work for free. She asked my normal day rate, and I said $120 for 2 hours. That's what I get for the stuff I do most often. I thank her, and she's on her merry way.

Keep in mind, these people were expecting to HIRE someone, not bring in someone for free. The space rental, the models, the assistants, everyone else is being paid for that SOMEONE can shoot this masterpeace. This shouldn't be a surprise.

"Happy 16th, sweetheart! We got you gas, and this sweet keychain, and... wait, you need a what now?"

She calls again the next day. She says they've secured $30 for travel and $50 for the shoot. I remind her of my usual rate and thank her for her time. She tells me she's going to try to arrange for that price or similar. The shoot is now something like five days away.

Four days pass, and I haven't heard word. So, as not to put this company in a rather lousy position, I call to be sure everyone is on the same page. A new representative answers.

"Good news!" he tells me! I'm excited. "We've secured $30 and $20 for the work!" I'm no longer excited. Somehow, the rate has gone down. I politely tell him that the price seems to have gone down, and I cannot work for that amount. He seems rather confused, reminding me that they no longer have someone to shoot their video shoot, for which they've dropped a significant amount of money in every aspect EXCEPT THE VIDEOGRAPHER. . "So, you're declining?" he asks politely, however baffled. "Well... yeah..." He thanks me, and despite my friendly follow-up email and offer to shoot last-minute if needed, I never hear back.

I see this company's ads very often. They're always looking for "hot models" and shooters, so, if you're a pretty girl and like money, or a videographer and dislike it, email me and I'll be sure to forward their info.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Mr. President, we have Catfish Elvis Von Nessie on line 1. He says it's about the sour kraut again.

I have a folder of emails that I've moved from my normal inbox to remind myself of the more outlandish, babblingly incoherent  insanity that some potential "clients" expect. Generally, they include the phrase "we can't pay you, is that ok?" Often times, they follow that with an expectation, a phrase that attempts to lock you into doing the work whether you're interested in working for free (an oxymoron, like "jumbo shrimp" or "cleanest rest stop on the Jersey turn pike"). They may include, "so, we'll see you there!" or "let us know if you need anything else before the shoot," something friendly and polite that tells you, yeah, they still expect me to show up. Sometimes, they're a bit more aggressive. Sometimes, they're just plain weird.

This is the email that made me decide to start this collection of stories. I'll start with a bit of explanation.

I respond to a lot of Craigslist ads looking for videographers, editors, camera operators, of all-in-one video productions, knowing full well when I walk in that this is the waterlogged wood pulp under your fingernails from the bottom of the barrel. These people have seen what a videographer's normal rate is in their area (generally DC), said "screw that, that's preposterous!" and assume they can find someone for 1/10 of that by posting a simple Craigslist ad. Judging from how many people respond to these ads, it probably works, but to what end? More on that later, I'm sure. Still, I can always hope that the average poster has common sense, a scrap of dignity, and a bit of courtesy and respect for their fellow man. It's probably very similar to the hope a Miss America contestant has their her lifelong hope for "world peace!" will actually be met with... well, world peace. Slim chance, sugar.

This particular poster was looking for a "broadcast camera" and an operator for it. There was little information, except that this person would need government security clearance, or as they put it, "secret service clearance," which I have from my work as a security guard for a government contractor (not shown: photo of me, the last person you'd ever expect to secure, guard, or otherwise protect anything except their own virginity).

My resume and cover letter include my location, an explanation of my frequency with which I shoot in and around DC, the specifications of my current camera, which shoots to tape and digital card, and for this particular ad, my security clearance level. It appears the poster didn't read the resume.

This was their response. I have no altered any grammar, spelling, or content.

"not seeing the things I asked about in the ad

So I guess instead of passign you over I will have to waste tiem goign through them one by one
but it's hard to hire soemoen who has trouble following directions so let's try to get on the same page
Have you ever been cleared for a secret service check
if so can you prove that?
lot of non broadcast cameras shot what they call 720 and 1080
tell me what camera you have?
are you shooting tape?
you mention in the ad due to your loctaion you go into DC often
where are you located. I am really looking for a guy who lives in DC.
and most important I don't see a price or bid.
normally the first thing I do is type a name and number into a google search but I am not getting any of the info I asked about, so not ready to waste time with google search before I have your name run through Secret Service, which I can really only do once. I asked about prove because I need someone who has done it before"
I followed up with the requested information, despite it being in my resume. A scathing, patronizing, and belittling email followed, to which I told them I would not be interested in the job. I was going to leave this post at their original email, but I just received a follow-up that smacks of crazed anti-government basement dweller with delusions of grandeur, and I wanted to include it. Expect this man to be climbing a clock tower near you. Enjoy this snippet.

"don't you get who the meeting is with if I ask about secret service. the group you woudl have been video tpaign goes a few miles a way to a place where this guy lives and works in a house rigth by captial hill

maybe oen day you will be ina  psotion to video tape the leader of the free world but I doubt it"

I hope this makes you day seem more sane by comparison. America, hell yeah.

The Journey Begins

This is my blog description, as well. I typed it out, as I wanted to explain the purpose of this whole damn thing. It was too long, so I thought I'd make it my first post.

I am a freelance artist. I have a fair amount of work under my belt, including a feature film of my own, several short films, and a pile of commercial work, advertisements, and other video credits to keep me clothed and fed (sort of). I am college educated in my field. I also am a fairly young man, and will consider most any job that pays decently, or even a bit less than that. I send out a lot of resumes and cover letters. I mean a LOT. Most are for gigs rather than steady positions, single-day shoots or short video jobs to keep my rent paid, Taco Bell in my stomach, and myself active on the camera. I started this blog to share some of the sillier responses I get to my resume, the crazier clients I meet, and the more absurd offers and expectations placed on a freelance videographer. Trust me, I tried ClientsFromHell, and some of this stuff just can't be reasoned out or rationalized. I'm doing it as much for myself as I am for others, to remember the insane stories and put into record the in-between; the place between professional business and amateur cameraman. I'll also be featuring stories on my friends, other freelance videographers, editors, graphic designers, web developers, etc. I hope you enjoy.