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Not getting paid for a shoot


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#1 Michael Nelson

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Posted 15 December 2009 - 10:00 PM

This is a hypothetical:

It's a small video shoot for a company. It's just me and my camera doing the shoot. I have my deal memo with them, the shoot is done, final product is delivered.... but there's no payment! I have sent a reminder through email notifying them that they have an outstanding payment. I have also called them but they tell me "it's on the way" blah blah blah but there's still no money! How do I get paid?

I didn't get paid directly after the shoot because they are net 30 and don't issue checks until 30 days after the invoice is submitted.

What would be the proper action at this time?
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#2 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 16 December 2009 - 09:22 AM

This is a hypothetical:

It's a small video shoot for a company. It's just me and my camera doing the shoot. I have my deal memo with them, the shoot is done, final product is delivered.... but there's no payment! I have sent a reminder through email notifying them that they have an outstanding payment. I have also called them but they tell me "it's on the way" blah blah blah but there's still no money! How do I get paid?

I didn't get paid directly after the shoot because they are net 30 and don't issue checks until 30 days after the invoice is submitted.

What would be the proper action at this time?


That's not so hypothetical. I have that situation right now with a LA vendor. The original invoice was for around $5k. They paid $1,000 of it then stopped payments because they say that their business is slow. Basically, they were paying for shoots with money from future shoots, kind of like a Ponzi scheme, guess.

Anyway, it happens all the time. What to do about it? There isn't much to do really beyond taking them to court and letting others know PUBLICLY about them so that no one else gets caught in that trap. And company names aren't enough because if/when that company folds, the PEOPLE who are the problem just move on to work somewhere else and cause the same issues all over again. This happens all the frickin' time. :angry: :(
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#3 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 16 December 2009 - 12:54 PM

I recognise this situation - it's the same this side of the water. It's a problem of people not companies. The pinnacle of this sort of behaviour is referred to as a "phoenix company", whereby Feenix Limited spends beyond its means and closes down, then the following week, the same people at the same address with the same phone number and the same desks and chairs open up Feanix Limited and claim they don't owe anyone anything.

The closest I came to being badly clobbered by this was fortuitously when I was working through an intermediary. Perhaps you can arrange to do the same; might cost you a bit, but you can view it as an insurance policy.

P
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#4 Richard Boddington

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Posted 16 December 2009 - 01:53 PM

The simplest solution is to never deliver any thing until you are 100% paid. Hand them a master with a burn on it, "demo copy." When they pay the invoice they can have a clean master.

On commercial jobs I take at least 50% up front, usually more if I am paying a large crew.

Then I won't hand over the finished product until I have the last cheque. So long as the client knows all of this in advance it's never an issue.

I know this is tougher to do if you are just shooting the material and handing over tapes.

R,
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