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Client Loyalty and Ultimatums


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#1 Todd Gilpin

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Posted 27 April 2007 - 09:22 PM

I was just wondering if any of you out there have experienced a client demanding that you NOT working for another production company, putting forth the ultimatum that if you did, you would no longer get work from them. I'm sure it's happened, but I just had it happen to me today for the first time. One company I work for quite often, and really have no problem working for, called me to specifically tell me that another company was coming to town from out of state to shoot a portion of the same commercial campaign. I was very specifically told that if I worked the shoot for this other company, I would no longer be hired by the first company.

Any experiences like this? And if so, how did you handle the situation?

To me this seems very childish. I understand they are not happy about losing some work to another company, but in my opinion, it is none of their business who I am working for when I'm not under contract with them.

Anyways, thanks for any opinions.

Todd Gilpin
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Ohio
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#2 Matt Ely

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Posted 27 April 2007 - 10:05 PM

I was just wondering if any of you out there have experienced a client demanding that you NOT working for another production company, putting forth the ultimatum that if you did, you would no longer get work from them. I'm sure it's happened, but I just had it happen to me today for the first time. One company I work for quite often, and really have no problem working for, called me to specifically tell me that another company was coming to town from out of state to shoot a portion of the same commercial campaign. I was very specifically told that if I worked the shoot for this other company, I would no longer be hired by the first company.

Any experiences like this? And if so, how did you handle the situation?

To me this seems very childish. I understand they are not happy about losing some work to another company, but in my opinion, it is none of their business who I am working for when I'm not under contract with them.

Anyways, thanks for any opinions.

Todd Gilpin
Director of Photography/Camera Operator
Ohio

I've just gone through a similar situation. I work for various companies here in the state, and one producer told me he reserved the right to not hire me if I aligned myself as a DP in a job bid. I responded that as I am only employed as a sub contractor by any of the companies, I reserve the right to work for who I wish, and as the other company had contacted me first, I agreed to work for them if they won the bid. I also informed him that if I were the producer, I would hire a crew based on their expertise, rather than their friendships or aliances. He wound up getting the job, and has asked to me about working on the project. I think you need to put them in your shoes. Ask them what they would do if they were in your situation. Then tell them if they offer you $100K a year, you will only work for them! Best of luck,

Matt Ely
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#3 Richard Boddington

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Posted 28 April 2007 - 03:49 PM

Geez I'm so glad I do my own thing and don't have a**hole clients or employers trying to tell me what to do.

R,
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#4 Todd Gilpin

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Posted 28 April 2007 - 10:31 PM

Well, the way I see it is that I work for who I want to work for. If I start to allow this producer, or that producer, to tell me who I can and can't work for, that is really setting a precedent for something bad. As I told his secretary when she called (didn't even call himself), I work for whomever wants to hire me, I make that decision, and I really don't appreciate the ultimatum. If they decide to push the issue, I figure I'll tell him if he wants to pay me a salary to sit out and only work on his productions, put me on retainer......fine, we'll talk. Until then, I'll work for whomever I determine I want to work for.

I can see if I was backing out on a commitment to him or something, but when the days don't even conflict, it's none of his business.

And I appreciate the fact some may decide to listen to their ultimatum because they could use the work and have to think responsibly when it comes to supporting a family. That would be a tough decision to make. Bowing to an ultimatum like that is just setting yourself up for more troubles down the road.

I also think that the fact this particular company is only getting the contract for PART of this particular campaign, when in the past they would have been doing the entire campaign, shows that perhaps they are losing their particular client, which I believe is one of their larger clients, at least based on the work I do for them. So for my own future, I see it only benefitting me to get on board with the production company that seems to be picking up more and more contracts.

I'm a loyal guy, but I also think I need to look out for myself as well. Because if I don't, nobody else will.

Thanks for the replies, it's always good to hear that others have had this happen, and to hear some other opinions on the matter.

Todd Gilpin
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Ohio
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#5 Martin Hawkes

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Posted 29 April 2007 - 07:09 AM

Hi Todd,

Yes, I too have been put into that very same situation by a client. And they either have to pay you not to work for others- something they will never agree to do! Or they realize that the experience you gain on other shoots is to their benefit. And you can show your loyalty to them by giving them "bulk rates" - when/if they hire you more than "X" times a month they get your "special price".

Hope this helps.

All the best,

Martin
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#6 Jon Rosenbloom

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Posted 29 April 2007 - 10:06 AM

I wouldn't even take the retainer. Ours is a freelance world; we can never have too many clients. I think that can be explained in a professional manner.
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#7 Todd Gilpin

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Posted 29 April 2007 - 10:57 AM

I agree Jon, I would never do the retainer thing either. That suggestion was only offered to illustrate the absurdity of this whole thing. I would never limit myself on the amount of work or diversity of clients. That's one of the things I love about this business.

Todd Gilpin
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Ohio
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#8 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 30 April 2007 - 02:56 AM

I was just wondering if any of you out there have experienced a client demanding that you NOT working for another production company, putting forth the ultimatum that if you did, you would no longer get work from them. I'm sure it's happened, but I just had it happen to me today for the first time. One company I work for quite often, and really have no problem working for, called me to specifically tell me that another company was coming to town from out of state to shoot a portion of the same commercial campaign. I was very specifically told that if I worked the shoot for this other company, I would no longer be hired by the first company.

Any experiences like this? And if so, how did you handle the situation?

To me this seems very childish. I understand they are not happy about losing some work to another company, but in my opinion, it is none of their business who I am working for when I'm not under contract with them.

Anyways, thanks for any opinions.

Todd Gilpin
Director of Photography/Camera Operator
Ohio


If they're a good client, whom you respect and gives you a lot of work and this other company is a one-time deal AND they feel that strongly about it, pass on the other guys. Why risk alienating a solid client over some company that going to blow into town and will be gone the next week? If however this client gives you sparatic work and rarely calls you anyway and this other company has any potential to get you steady work, go with them, BUT don't let the first company know ANYTHING about it. If it's not their shoot, who's to say they'll ever find out you worked for the other guys at all. If however you feel these guys are pulling some power trip to keep you in your place, F**K "UM, you are not their lap dog so don't let them treat you like one, but also remember this is business and that's the way you have to look at it. Try to never take it personally. Every decision you make will affect your means to make a living so IF you decide you need to stand up for something, make sure it worth the price you'll pay to do so. I, PESONALLY, would probably tell them to take a flyin' leap, NO ONE tells me whom I can or cannot work with, but then again, I've been known to be stubborn to the point of self-destructiveness and not everyone is willing to bare the weight of my high-minded ideals, so you should really do what you feel is the best for you, cuase you're the one who'll have to live with the decision one way or the other. Capish? B)
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Tai Audio

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Metropolis Post

The Slider

Willys Widgets

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

CineLab

rebotnix Technologies

Visual Products

FJS International, LLC