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#1 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 07 September 2007 - 11:39 AM

This has happened to me on three occasions now. Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, three times is...

Perhaps it's because I do a lot of work for companies who are relaunching, but the sequence of events goes like this:

- Company A hires me to produce a whole bunch of stuff
- I produce said stuff
- Company A relaunches as company B using said stuff.
- Company A winds up.
- Company B refutes all responsibility for my invoice.

This appears to be an entirely legal way of having all your debts forgiven, so long as you're a company rather than a private individual. On Monday, I have to look forward to the dubious pleasure of calling Person C at Company B, who happens to be exactly the same person, at the same desk, in the same building with the same client list, product line and phone number as when Person C worked for company A.

This is doubleplusungood.

Phil
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#2 Tim Terner

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Posted 07 September 2007 - 01:11 PM

Dude, it appears you're working for the wrong companies..... but please stop moaning !!!
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#3 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 07 September 2007 - 02:50 PM

This has happened to me on three occasions now. Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, three times is...

Perhaps it's because I do a lot of work for companies who are relaunching, but the sequence of events goes like this:

- Company A hires me to produce a whole bunch of stuff
- I produce said stuff
- Company A relaunches as company B using said stuff.
- Company A winds up.
- Company B refutes all responsibility for my invoice.

This appears to be an entirely legal way of having all your debts forgiven, so long as you're a company rather than a private individual. On Monday, I have to look forward to the dubious pleasure of calling Person C at Company B, who happens to be exactly the same person, at the same desk, in the same building with the same client list, product line and phone number as when Person C worked for company A.

This is doubleplusungood..

Phil



That's terrible! While I haven't had that experience, I was recently hired to work as an EPK Field Producer/Cameraman, and after the work was finished, the "Producer" who hired me is claiming (to her boss) that she didn't hire me to Produce. What this taught me (I should know better by now) is to do all pre-shoot discussions via email (to keep a written record) and to get everything in writing.

Please list the companies in question publicly so that we all know who to avoid. Thanks!
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#4 Richard Boddington

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Posted 07 September 2007 - 08:00 PM

Well Phil you should be getting 50% of the budget up front, and the other 50% on delivery.

No payments no delivery, simple.

Now of course this does not justify people in screwing you over, not at all.

Just protect yourself.

R,
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#5 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 07 September 2007 - 08:50 PM

Well Phil you should be getting 50% of the budget up front, and the other 50% on delivery.

R,

I hear people mention this stipulation all the time on message boards, but I've never gotten it, or met anyone that has. I know that if I made this request to any of my clients they would laugh and say, "No way!". Of course, I don't know if that's the case in Canada or England.
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#6 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 07 September 2007 - 09:07 PM

> I know that if I made this request to any of my clients they would laugh and say, "No way!"

Quite.

The only time I get cash upfront is if I'm doing something involving a large capital outlay, such as producing a load of DVDs.

Not a lot of point in listing them; they're not film/TV companies, they're just random places that needed some production doing. Mainly events management. Nobody in the US will ever have heard of them.

Phil
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#7 Richard Boddington

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Posted 07 September 2007 - 11:27 PM

I hear people mention this stipulation all the time on message boards, but I've never gotten it, or met anyone that has. I know that if I made this request to any of my clients they would laugh and say, "No way!". Of course, I don't know if that's the case in Canada or England.


Hmmmm, that's odd I made corporate videos in the USA for four years and always had those terms. I certainly would never hand over the masters without final payment.

On bigger projects if I don't get money as we move along, I just say I can't go any further, the money comes like magic.

Then again I'm a pretty bold and stick to my guns kind of person, I'll walk away from any deal that does not meet my terms. Simple.

R,
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#8 Matthew Buick

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Posted 08 September 2007 - 03:49 AM

Phil, is there no sort of Trading Standards Company or Union you can grass these people up to? If they're on the run for paying you they could be on the run from paying a lot of people.
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#9 Freya Black

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Posted 08 September 2007 - 05:11 AM

> I know that if I made this request to any of my clients they would laugh and say, "No way!"

Quite.

The only time I get cash upfront is if I'm doing something involving a large capital outlay, such as producing a load of DVDs.

Not a lot of point in listing them; they're not film/TV companies, they're just random places that needed some production doing. Mainly events management. Nobody in the US will ever have heard of them.

Phil


Phil, I think theres some good advice here. The good thing about film and video is it is essentially ephemeral. Perhaps you can start showing your customers the finished product projected or on screen so they can see what you have made but not actually hand it over till you see the cash.

There are some really, really bad people out there. I really mean that Phil, there are people who see other people merely as objects to use and throw away. Events management in paticular seems to attract really bad people. There is usually a core aspect to the buisness that involves using people. I'd be especially careful around events management types.

My suspicion is that perhaps you are a trusting and good natured fellow, and this is being seen as weakness. Beware!

Hope you get nicer customers in the future.

love

Freya
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#10 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 08 September 2007 - 06:36 AM

> Phil, is there no sort of Trading Standards Company or Union you can grass these people up to?

As far as I'm aware what they're doing is completely legal. They are, on paper, a "different company".

> there are people who see other people merely as objects to use and throw away.
> Events management in paticular seems to attract really bad people.

I've met some of them, too - the first lot that did this to me are outlined here. Happily on that occasion I was able to recover the debt from the company who'd introduced me - but they were later forced out of business by other bad debt associated with the matter, costing me a major client.

People in the film industry are bastards too, of course, but they don't generally have the opportunity to pull this sort of con.

Phil
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#11 John Brawley

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Posted 08 September 2007 - 08:17 AM

People in the film industry are bastards too, of course, but they don't generally have the opportunity to pull this sort of con.

Phil


They've had some legislation enacted here in Australia to prevent this sort of thing happening...I think they describe it as Phoenix companies...ones that rise from the ashes...

but Phil...Why are you sledging Geoff ?

jb
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#12 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 08 September 2007 - 09:34 AM

Long story.

P

PS: Hmm. Phoenix companies in the UK. I hadn't heard the term.
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#13 Kris Simmons

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Posted 10 November 2007 - 02:09 PM

Talk to your attorney about writing a production agreement that binds the person who signs the agreement as well as the company. This way, it doesn't matter what happens to the business, the person that signs it is bound to abide by the terms. Sure, chasing a person down for money is not fun and they probably won't have the means to pay you off anyway, BUT, it will at least keep you from getting burned by the "old company shut down and signed up as a new company" scheme. Banks structure their loans like this all the time. It's hard to get all your business debt just in the name of your business. The bank wants you to be personally liable should your business ever fail. Large businesses are able to get away with this, but smaller types almost always have to have a personal guarantee.

Regarding payment terms, my policy is simple. If I don't know you, you have to pay 50% up front and the remaining 50% when the project is complete. I figure if the person comes up with the money before I do anything, then I can trust them to pay me the rest of the money when the job is finished. So far so good. Sure there have been some slow payers, but never has someone bailed after paying the 50% up front.

The bottom line is that only you can set your policies. You tell people how they do business with you, not the other way around. Some may not be comfortable working within your requirements, but those people are almost never the type of client you want anyway.

Edited by Kris Simmons, 10 November 2007 - 02:10 PM.

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