A couple of weeks ago, I finished a stint doing some visual effects/roto. The main project was a show that I had initially only worked on in Home Video making the motion and static menus. Around season 5, I invoiced a figure similar to what I had done in the past reflecting the extra editing that had been done. I got a call from the client asking me if I’d eat the overages and they would “make it up to me”. (I feel like I’ve already touched on this particular warning phrase).
By Season 7 or so I was doing some periodic interactive/flash banners for it, very little DVD production, no motion design. Last year, I did the motion, some of the static production, and conformed the Blu-ray to several different languages in-house and on and hourly. The disparity between the money from when I first touched the show to my final brush is monumental.
This roto work yielded me the absolute least rate within my professional career. It was also bizarre that on-site, being episodic work things moved along relatively quickly. But certain things weren’t addressed like “who’s paying me? pay cycle? etc.” I ask the producer who brought me in and she points elsewhere. The general manager hips me to the immediate economic answer and that’s it. But it’s a problem; I’m only getting the information that I need at that moment. Nothing is volunteered so every little f&*king thing gets told to me after the fact. Maybe it’s manipulation on the part of the information bearer to feel they always have the cards to hold above you. But mainly it’s bad business on my end. Everyone might be in a hurry but it’s my responsibility to find out everything about the money (frequency, delivery options, etc.) before I get this person of unknown digestive issues sending me email replies with unnecessary quotation marks and pretending they’re doing me a favor by doing the job they’re paid, I assume, to do.
Now that I have this lilliputian check I’ve been flooded with recollections of people withholding information for control. We all have our weirdness, so whatever. But what can’t be weird is the paperwork. I built a new invoice because I hadn’t kept my old one readily available. I have a nasty-punitive clause in there that I call an irritation fee if a client for some odd reason chooses to do so. We all have our irregular moments; getting our money on a predetermined schedule should not be one of them.