Thankfully business for me recently has been very good and I have been working for reliable and quick paying clients (NBC News, UPN Network etc…) I already had a planned trip to South FL to see my family so when I got a call for a low budget short film in south fl I changed around my vacation so that I could do the film and see my family. Well to make a long story short I was suppose to get our schedule today and got this email instead, “Bad news. I have lost my cinematographer to another, much higher paying job. I am sorry, but the shoot is off. If i can offer a last minute compensation of $50 for your troubles, would that be ok?” My answer is of course no as less than 24 hour cancellations mean full payments. But I broke my own rules with this shoot I didn’t get a deposit and don’t have a signed deal memo or contract so shame on me, at least I have more time to spend with my family. But this should serve as a warning to all of us when working with new clients to spell out your polices and always try and do the following:
1. Get a deal memo or signed contract I also always try to make sure I have an email from the producer stating our agreement as well.
2. Always make sure you have equipment requirements, hours, day rate and terms of payment spelled out in writing
3. Go with your gut if something doesn’t feel right it probably isn’t
4. Only work for a wage your comfortable with.