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#1 Jesus Sifuentes

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Posted 07 July 2006 - 11:56 AM

Is it just me or does Net 30 suck? Waiting for a check for 30 days is really painful. I've heard horror storys about P.A. and Grips waiting up to 90 days on sport television. I just dont get it. The work is already rendered its not like post production. Maybe the major factor for me at least is where I live. You would be luck to work 7 days out of the month. Anybody else have any war stories about waiting forever on a check?

Edited by elgatonegro, 07 July 2006 - 11:57 AM.

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#2 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 07 July 2006 - 02:10 PM

This is an unfortunate part of the business. I once waited 6 months for a check, and last year I waited almost 4 months for a check from E! Television (and it was a big check for 3 weeks work plus rental). I've also had jobs that never paid or only paid part of what they owed me. Net 30 sucks, but as long as they actually pay within that amount of time I'm happy. As long as people are honest and upfront then it's fine. How can we complain when they told us the deal and we agreed? It's when they keep telling you, "The check will be cut tommorrow" and it doesn't show that will really drive you nuts. In the end, as long as someone doesn't bullshit me, I'm happy.
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#3 Matt Pacini

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Posted 07 July 2006 - 03:34 PM

Is there any way to put a lien on them the way they do in construction work?
I mean, there must be some recourse other than small claims court or suing, right?

MP
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#4 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 07 July 2006 - 03:46 PM

It's pretty tough to do much. I looked into it quite a bit last year and I hit brick walls almost everywhere I went, including the Labor Board. Small Claims court wouldn't cut it because they owed me much more than the maximum for small claims. I felt very much left out in the cold in that situation. Ah, the glory of freelance!
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#5 monster vs robot

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Posted 07 July 2006 - 04:20 PM

Some other freelancers (commercial artists, graphic designers) can wait 90 days for payment. That would really suck. The longest I ever waited for a check was for a job as a PA-70 days and guess who it was from? Phil Knight, not Nike, but his personal account-$175.00. I guess it took that long for a secretary to put it in front of his face. At that point I almost kept it for framing.
If the production company or producer you're working with is working to AICP standards they're getting 50% up front. You can always ask for 50% payment up front too, particularly if you're giving a rental and have the remainder as net 30. The whole arrangement is fluid.
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#6 Mitch Gross

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Posted 07 July 2006 - 11:18 PM

I used to use an EXCEL form for my invoices. I set it up so that along the bottom of the page was a notice that payments after 30 days accrued a 5% weekly compounding interest, along with a chart that indicated what the total would be after 60 days, 90 days, etc. Good luck on ever getting someone to pay out on it, but for certain people it helped them pay up faster.

Whenever I had a dicey client and I was supplying gear I would require a deposit for the amount of the deductible on their insurance. I would always offer (at the end of the job, after my gear was already safe in my hands) to apply this money towards my fee. On small one day jobs where they had taken out a particularly cheap policy, the deductible would often be higher than my fee, so I would just send them a check for the difference. This saved my wallet a number of times. One woman was furious that I had "stolen her post production budget," which apparently in her twisted reality was going to be my fee that she didn't plan on paying.
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#7 Ram Shani

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Posted 08 July 2006 - 08:27 AM

in Israel waiting for a check 60-70 days is match of a standard

when i go out and work with production company with bad reputation i ask that they will give me the check at the and of the day to the date we agree on

last time i head a problem with producer i ask my wife to take care of it she call and present here self as my manager and she give them hard time that after 2 days the check was ready and i didn't had to deal with him and make me blacklisted

like an agent how take care of his client so he doesnt need to be in the line of fire

i have a project with them in a week from now :D
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#8 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 08 July 2006 - 09:40 AM

Hi,

Two interesting things just happened to me in this area.

- A company I did a very large bunch of work (around US$10,000 worth including subcontractors, who I've already paid) for early this year finally told me they'd cut me a cheque. I got it this morning. I'll take bets on whether it clears. Needless to say, I'm slightly desperate for it.

- Another, even more major client has just told me they can't pay me this year because they "didn't budget for it". Um. Er. So now I'm being invited to not cut the material until next April, by which time its value will be near zero; so what I'm going to have to do is cut it this September-ish and live with the debt.

Garh.

Phil
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#9 Hal Smith

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Posted 08 July 2006 - 11:19 AM

Another, even more major client has just told me they can't pay me this year because they "didn't budget for it". Um. Er. So now I'm being invited to not cut the material until next April, by which time its value will be near zero; so what I'm going to have to do is cut it this September-ish and live with the debt.
Phil

Did they sign any form of contract, a work order for instance? Over here it's quite a straightforward legal action to go after someone who hires you, then doesn't pay you. "Didn't budget for it" is their problem, not yours.
But then increasingly the business world is full of morally deficient types who have no problem passing their problems onto others. The grandest case is Enron's telling their employees "everything's great" so they wouldn't sell their retirement fund stock - while management knew full well the company was about to go bankrupt. Management just didn't want the stock to go down until they could unload theirs.
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#10 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 08 July 2006 - 12:52 PM

any agreed upon out of pocket expense MUST be paid at the time of the shoot, or by the end of each week of a shoot, you should never settle for anything else.

Secondly, if you're getting top dollar, then waiting is part of the game. If you're not getting top dollar, don't ever take less than half during the shoot.

You actually harm the people that pay the most if you give the same terms for payment to those who pay less.
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#11 Jesus Sifuentes

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Posted 08 July 2006 - 01:00 PM

any agreed upon out of pocket expense MUST be paid at the time of the shoot, or by the end of each week of a shoot, you should never settle for anything else.

Secondly, if you're getting top dollar, then waiting is part of the game. If you're not getting top dollar, don't ever take less than half during the shoot.

You actually harm the people that pay the most if you give the same terms for payment to those who pay less.



I've been even thinking on these smaller gigs maybe I should give like a 20% discount if they can pay me at the end of the shot.
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#12 Robert Hughes

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Posted 08 July 2006 - 01:14 PM

If you want to get paid on time you should get a vendor credit card processor, and insist upon COD credit card transactions. Don't give out 30 day net accounts to new clients or anyone who doesn't have an established history of good credit relations with you.

Credit deadbeats are common at both ends of the economic ladder; student and big corporations. I remember sitting in a corporate department meeting where an executive was extolling the virtues of non-payment to vendors via the 30/60/90/120 payment plans. In his view, any money not paid to a vendor was money that was his to use for any other purpose. He intentionally held off payment to anyone not initiating immediate legal action against the corporation, and was rewarded by the company for his sound fiscal management. How is the independent cinematographer going to stand a chance against a phalanx of corporate lawyers? Don't put yourself in that position.

The grandest case is Enron's telling their employees "everything's great" so they wouldn't sell their retirement fund stock - while management knew full well the company was about to go bankrupt.

Then, after they got caught, they used their contacts in high gov't circles to declare them "dead" and enter a Witness Protection Program for high-rolling contributors. :angry:
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#13 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 10 July 2006 - 04:27 AM

any agreed upon out of pocket expense MUST be paid at the time of the shoot, or by the end of each week of a shoot, you should never settle for anything else.

That may work some of the time, but in reality it makes no sense. Sure, it would be nice, but it's never going to happen. Anyone who works in this business knows that. It's just a fact of life that (like a department store) a certain percentage of people are going to try to steal from you. It sucks, but it's a fact. You protect yourself the best you can, and you cut your losses now and then when you have to.
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#14 Max Jacoby

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Posted 10 July 2006 - 06:24 AM

I'm still owed ? 5000 by a company who kept on promising that they would pay and eventually went bankrupt. But not before the producer got himself a new SUV and then had it sent to England to put in an even bigger engine.

They tried to set up another film this year in Ireland, but had to stop during preproduction. Once again people didn't get paid. How they could show their faces a couple of weeks later in Cannes I'll never know...
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#15 Stephen Williams

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Posted 10 July 2006 - 07:04 AM

Hi,

I remember 20 years ago returning from a holiday to find, that everybody who had been holding out for months had paid. I have never paid as much into my bank in any one month since!

Stephen
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#16 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 10 July 2006 - 08:32 AM

How come no one is willing to name names of those who have basically stolen from them?

I don't think it's ethical to claim one has been stolen from yet not name the offending company unless one thinks they still may get their money from the company.
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#17 Stephen Williams

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Posted 10 July 2006 - 08:46 AM

How come no one is willing to name names of those who have basically stolen from them?



Hi,

Usually one can collect eventually. I had a production company go bust, the director was able to give me enough work at a high enough rate to compensate.

Stephen
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#18 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 12 July 2006 - 02:58 AM

How come no one is willing to name names of those who have basically stolen from them?

I don't think it's ethical to claim one has been stolen from yet not name the offending company unless one thinks they still may get their money from the company.

Why wouldn't it be ethical not to name names? I don't get it.
I can give you a couple names....Century Productions-out of Delaware-very shady and now completely out of business after being sued my multiple people and companies and losing their contract with Disney after the director was found drinking in the truck while a show was live on the air.
Parrot Bay Entertainment-out of Orlando-produced one television pilot (I don't think they ever did anything else) and only partially paid a lot of the crew. I'm sure they're completly defunct now since I think they only ever produced one thing.
Is that "ethical" enough for you?
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#19 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 12 July 2006 - 10:08 AM

Why wouldn't it be ethical not to name names? I don't get it.
I can give you a couple names....Century Productions-out of Delaware-very shady and now completely out of business after being sued my multiple people and companies and losing their contract with Disney after the director was found drinking in the truck while a show was live on the air.
Parrot Bay Entertainment-out of Orlando-produced one television pilot (I don't think they ever did anything else) and only partially paid a lot of the crew. I'm sure they're completly defunct now since I think they only ever produced one thing.
Is that "ethical" enough for you?


I'm saying to name names. The reason being to forewarn others who may be about to deal with the same company.

Some reasons I can think of to not name names is if one still believes they will be paid and they don't want to anger the company, or if one cannot prove they are owed money.
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#20 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 12:02 AM

I'm saying to name names. The reason being to forewarn others who may be about to deal with the same company.

I'm asking a simple question. Why do you consider it unethical NOT to name names? Please, for once, just answer the question. I already know why it's an advantage to others when they are warned about a company.
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