Double Booking Dilemma
Published : 1st March 2005
A strange thing has happened to me this month. I have been offered (and provisionally accepted) five jobs all of which overlap in some way or another. Three were commercials, one a documentary for BBC and the other a corporate. I took the documentary and turned down one of the commercials (an animated one for the US Chevron oil company) and the corporate. No problem there as I found replacements etc. The other commercial is also to be shot next week over two days in Sweden. This is one for the reel and unpaid and so, sadly, is a no no too.
The issue now is that the documentary is for 12 days dotted throughout this month, however because the subject matter is quite sensitive, the producers cannot pin down any dates until, often, the day before. This means in reality, through no fault of anyone really, I am on call for the whole month but only getting paid for the 12 days I shoot!
Now one of the commercials is for a pack shot for a product for which I filmed the main part just before Christmas. The pack shot was meant to be done in December too, then at the beginning of January, and now next week, when the bulk of the documentary now looks like it 'might' be shot.
What do I do. I cannot pull out of the documentary and I cannot really pull out of a commercial I have already been working on but because of reasons beyond my control, they are coinciding.
Any advice or words of wisdom?
Chris 'booze makes things look easier' Maris
Chris Maris wrote :
class="style9">>What do I do. I cannot pull out of the documentary and I cannot really >pull out of a commercial I have already been working on but because >of reasons beyond my control, they are coinciding.
Find a Stand in shooter for the Documentary. Inform the Documentary about this, and why. Get them up to speed, put them on hold, and if the Doco happens when the commercial does, CALL them.
Financially you might have to do some dancing, but I won't go there.
My Tuppence (From Brooklyn, N.Y.)
Cinematographer - Gladstone Films
Cinematography Mailing List - East Coast List Administrator
Better off Broadcast (B.O.B.)
New York, U.S.A.
You need to have them sign some sort of minimum use contract for X number of days, and possibly a clause where they "buy out" some of your lost days, if they expect you to turn down the other days.
Otherwise, line up a substitute that YOU send them, if they won't agree to the "buyout" of your dark days.
I wound up working an end of the industry (live events, sports) where these issues are absent, due to the "lack of cancellation of" for example, The Olympics. That is your other option: Choose an end of the business where last minute work is uncommon.
class="style9">>A strange thing has happened to me this month. I have been offered >(and provisionally accepted) five jobs all of which overlap in some way >or
Your dilemma has a moral dimension.
If you accept one job and a better one comes along, what do you do?
If you blow off the first client, you are breaking a commitment and you are burning a bridge. You could tell them that you will honour your commitment, but if you have a conflict, would they mind if you get a replacement. Most clients will respect you and say yes.
Earlier in my career I had occasions when I would commit to a job and then would get offered a better one which I would have to turn down only to have a prettier girl walk into the room (or find out they never had the money in the first place) and lose the first job. I now ask for a deposit on all my non-union jobs (music videos). I ask for a very very small deposit sometimes only $50. I seldom get it, but that's not the point, what it does is remove the unilateral commitment with the producer where your committed to him but he's not committed to you.
If I get another job I feel free to accept it. I never put any time into a job (prep-checkout-etc) with out having at least a 1/3 deposit from a non union client excepting clients I have worked for many times before.
Mik Cribben-Steadicam operator
class="style9">>I ask for a very very small deposit sometimes only $50. I seldom get it, >but that's not the point, what it does is remove the unilateral >commitment with the producer where your committed to him but he's >not committed to you.
That's a very smart thing to do. You're right, it's not about the money, it's about their level of commitment. The huge influx of first-timers and the ease with which people who have no real experience are getting the financing has led to real shifts in how business is conducted, even on some fairly substantial jobs.
It used to be that you were almost always working with someone who knew how it was done: hold, light hold, definite booking, cancellation fee for breaking the booking less than 24 hours, that sort of thing.
class="style9">>It used to be that you were almost always working with someone who >knew how it was done: hold, light hold, definite booking, cancellation >fee for breaking the booking less than 24 hours, that sort of thing.
Over here we call bookings 'pencils'. Except now you get light pencils, heavier pencils, HB, 2B, 3B, 4B, Conte, eyebrow and so on.
And the cancellation fee for less than 24 hours is tight. What happens if you have turned down a load of work to do the job.
You look stupid all round and are out of pocket. A week would be better no?
Oh, and the pack shot commercial job I mentioned is now in Feb so my hair wont go any whiter now.