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Zedmaniac
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#1
16th July 2013
Old 16th July 2013
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The session goes overtime

Hey Fellow Forum Contributors, OK Im not sure if this is the best place to put this post but in the absence of seeing a more fitting category it goes here. Sorry for the length of this post.

I am a semi-pro audio tech. A good amount of experience however as theres really not enough money to be made in my area from audio I rely on other income streams and do few gigs.

I have just completed a remote recording project, sub contracting to a fella I used to do lotsa work with. He is a really good guy who I respect. Its the first gig Ive got from him in about five years cause the work in paid live recording just isnt around.

He was contracted to do audio tech/ stage production for a live video recording session. He took care of all the facets of the audio production except for the multitracking which was my area.

The client that contracted him without knowing I would get the recording gig is a fella Ive worked with before who is a nice enough guy but I think organisation is not his strength.
Six months ago he was at my home studio where I recorded a song for him. He got a song produced for free and I got a subject to test a new mic. He knows that I do audio and video production.

Anyhow so Ive been asked to quote for the remote recording and I name my rate for 3 hours to do tracking and another hour for setup, packdown and file transfer later on. $300.
My call time was 8.30pm.

I got to the venue and the client is waiting around and says the session is delayed and will go later than expected. After the punters leave for the previous event at 9.45pm I start helping my mate load his gear as a favour cause it will get me set up quicker.
Lights, power, the audio desk n all goes up without any major hitches. It takes time, the band is tardy, the camera guys are needing things moved and we start tracking at 12.00am! My gear took 20 minutes to set and test.

So we track till a bit after 1.30am and Im walking out the door at 1.50am.

Heres my question- is it reasonable for me to charge an extra $100 for the extra work I did i.e between 12.00am and 2.00am?

The client never showed me any love after I recorded him at my place and didnt contact me when he needed this gig doen.
I know these guys are gonna see the extra charge as questionable but hey I did extra work after midnight and am still charging at a reduced rate.

I get the feeling that this may be the last time I get a gig like this for a while so Im not worried about possible being seen as difficult. Thats probably half of why I dont get many gigs- I have little tollerance for working with people who are not well organsied. I guess Im getting too middle aged for this kinda shit.

Anyhow thanks for reading- hopefully someone can offer some advice comments or tell me where to get a lobotomy.
#2
16th July 2013
Old 16th July 2013
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So you did an extra hour and a half, welcome to the world of live sound!

This sort of thing is par for the course, write it down to experience and when you quote next time, factor in that the job might not be exactly 4 hours. Union guys are paid by the hour, studio's hire by the hour or day, employees are paid overtime outside their normal working hours. Freelancing is a fee for the job.

Look at it another way. You put your bill in for $300, he pay's thanks you and you get a call next year or the year after for another job. You bill him extra, he disputes it, doesn't even pay your original $300 and spends all his time telling people how you stiffed him because the job went a little over time. This is not the recommendation that you need, especially as work is in short supply.

If the job had run 4 hours over, I would have gone to him and discussed that it was much longer than originally agreed and asked if he wouldn't mind paying a little bit extra. Most people are reasonable and would negotiate a little more, but that isn't the case here.

Your call!
#3
16th July 2013
Old 16th July 2013
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This is bringing to mind conversations I've had with the salespeople at Sweetwater, bitter (and probably completely legitimate!) tales of disappointing/flaky/intolerable treatment at the hands of musicians and their ilk.

The crucial question, though... do you want to end up working at Sweetwater?
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16th July 2013
Old 16th July 2013
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Hey thanks for your replies Joel and Roland, it seems both of you have had experience with this sorta stuff before as have I.

I can see that there is a probability of burning the client relationship if I ask for what is in my eyes a legitimate claim. There is also a possibility of compromising the relationship with my friend who contracted me.

I quoted to supply a service over a set amount of hours and then surpassed. I think the best way out might be to ask for a case of beer.

Ive got better more reliable work with no nonsense clients which makes me think Ive had enough of this kinda stuff. Its kinda why I hardly ever work in the music industry any more. Its probably best left to those with thicker skins.

Thanks for the advice.
#5
16th July 2013
Old 16th July 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zedmaniac View Post
I can see that there is a probability of burning the client relationship if I ask for what is in my eyes a legitimate claim.
It's only legitimate if you clearly defined the fee parameters before the gig and everyone agreed your fee was based on a strict hourly rate which commenced from a specific time etc.

It's the entertainment industry fer chrissakes - you should have anticipated blowouts when negotiating your fee. The fact that you didnt means it's on you.

We've all been there. Suck it up and remain on good terms with all parties. Chalk it up to Fee Quoting 101, which you studied so long ago you've forgotten some of the golden rules.

Diggo
#6
16th July 2013
Old 16th July 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zedmaniac View Post
Hey thanks for your replies Joel and Roland, it seems both of you have had experience with this sorta stuff before as have I.

I can see that there is a probability of burning the client relationship if I ask for what is in my eyes a legitimate claim. There is also a possibility of compromising the relationship with my friend who contracted me.

I quoted to supply a service over a set amount of hours and then surpassed. I think the best way out might be to ask for a case of beer.

Ive got better more reliable work with no nonsense clients which makes me think Ive had enough of this kinda stuff. Its kinda why I hardly ever work in the music industry any more. Its probably best left to those with thicker skins.

Thanks for the advice.
A few years ago I reliably got paid between $450 - $650 a day, these days that is more difficult. That being said, some days I work for $1500 others for as little as $300. The truth is that some jobs/clients pay more than others. I'm about to do a job for a charity where I'll be working 12-14 hour days for $300 a day, the following week I'm doing a similar job (less hours, easier work), for $750 a day, I roll with the punches. Clients have a budget, I take the work on the basis of "that's the fee" and I either do them or refuse them. To be honest, having been in this game for around 34 years, I don't worry too much about the time, once I'm happy to do the job I just get on with it. Extra hours and delays are the nature of the work.
#7
16th July 2013
Old 16th July 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roland View Post
... the nature of the work.
Which I try to never, ever forget can be objectively specified as "listening to music, making it sound amazing." And, well, the whole lifestyle that goes along with that...
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#8
16th July 2013
Old 16th July 2013
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You either bid it by the job or by the hour. But whichever, it's best to have your terms in writing beforehand so there are no surprises down the line. I tend to bid it "by the job" and put in whatever hours are necessary. But then again, I've been at it long enough to know how to keep it "in the ball-park".

I will occasionally get a client who insists on knowing my hourly rate, so they pay based on the hours...even though the "by the job" rate would likely be less money. But their bookkeeping demands consistency, so they go with the "billable hours".
#9
16th July 2013
Old 16th July 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diggo View Post
It's only legitimate if you clearly defined the fee parameters before the gig and everyone agreed your fee was based on a strict hourly rate which commenced from a specific time etc.
Pretty much this.

The fact that this is the entertainment business does not factor into the equation for me...business is business. Writing a good contract and being able to anticipate things is what experience brings. Next time, you can charge for it; this time, eat it.

Sometimes you get the bear, sometimes the bear gets you.
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#10
16th July 2013
Old 16th July 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joelpatterson View Post
Which I try to never, ever forget can be objectively specified as "listening to music, making it sound amazing." And, well, the whole lifestyle that goes along with that...
yes but how do things go when the performance is cringeworthy playing the same songs that have been butchered for years...........
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16th July 2013
Old 16th July 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PoxyMusic View Post
Pretty much this.

The fact that this is the entertainment business does not factor into the equation for me...business is business. Writing a good contract and being able to anticipate things is what experience brings. Next time, you can charge for it; this time, eat it.

Sometimes you get the bear, sometimes the bear gets you.
I work in three areas- educational, media production and entertainment/ music industry. All environments are different- ed. is a pleasure, media is challeging but rewarding and entertainment/ MI is a joke. Unfortunately looks like the joke is on me.

My rate for the the allotted 4 hours of work and starting time were clearly stated in email. I guess I should have also included a rate for extra hours if needed. I think this is gonna be another experience where the bear bites me. Time to stop tangling with the bear!

It would be interesting to see how the client would react if the time I take to deliver the files was extended. This was NEVER discussed or recorded!
#12
16th July 2013
Old 16th July 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zedmaniac View Post
yes but how do things go when the performance is cringeworthy playing the same songs that have been butchered for years...........

Your question doesn't really compute.

If they're hiring me to record their show... the music is great. Otherwise, I wouldn't be there. Right?
#13
17th July 2013
Old 17th July 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diggo View Post
It's only legitimate if you clearly defined the fee parameters before the gig and everyone agreed your fee was based on a strict hourly rate which commenced from a specific time etc.

It's the entertainment industry fer chrissakes - you should have anticipated blowouts when negotiating your fee. The fact that you didnt means it's on you.

We've all been there. Suck it up and remain on good terms with all parties. Chalk it up to Fee Quoting 101, which you studied so long ago you've forgotten some of the golden rules.

Diggo
+1
If it can be said, it can be read. Terms and conditions stipulated in advance preserves your self valuing system and paves the way for clear understanding before the gig. It's up to the contractor to specify in advance any addendum to even a turn key agreement, written or spoken. Not only is your own minimised, your clients will ultimately respect you for being straight up.
And you can enjoy your work more...be well mate

Sent from my XT925
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#14
17th July 2013
Old 17th July 2013
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Originally Posted by joelpatterson View Post
Your question doesn't really compute.

If they're hiring me to record their show... the music is great. Otherwise, I wouldn't be there. Right?
Joel, it appears you are suggesting only taking work with known enitities which you like which sounds quite sensible.

The recording was for a band looking to get corporate covers gigs. I was given little information and now looking back i think if I hadda been given more info then I woulda either upped my rate or passed. It was not a pleasant listening experience. 20/20 hindsight.

Thanks guys, the thread of replies seems to confirm that my future efforts would be better spent in other more enjoyable areas and I should just cop the extra work on the chin.
Its probably best in the long run for me to take the path of least resistance.
After many years involved in entartainment/ MI (mostly as a repair tech) I guess this one will just be where a stop. At least not having to deal with these sorts of situations will be a welcome relief.
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17th July 2013
Old 17th July 2013
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When things dont go according to plan, its always a judgment call on whether to bill more, regardles of industry.
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17th July 2013
Old 17th July 2013
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In my experience there is no such thing as a "normal day" in remote recording. Situations change, artist arrive late or have problems. You kinda have to roll with the situation. In most jobs 10 hours is considered a "normal day" for audio or video recording, Any time after that is considered "over time" and is billed accordingly.

My company just did a remote video shoot. At the end of the shoot we were told there would be an interview. The interviewer never showed up when he was suppose to and we were told to strike. Half way through the strike the interviewer shows up and we had to reset for the interview. The interview went on for 45 minutes. I could have gotten mad or demanded more pay but we just did our job and when it was over everyone was in such a good mood it was worth it. Sometimes you have to just grin and bare it.

FWIW and MTCW and YMMV
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#17
17th July 2013
Old 17th July 2013
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"MTCW"?

My time code wavers?
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17th July 2013
Old 17th July 2013
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"MTCW"?

My time code wavers?
My two cents worth...
#19
17th July 2013
Old 17th July 2013
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Mercy, the cadaver walks!
#20
18th July 2013
Old 18th July 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joelpatterson View Post
Mercy, the cadaver walks!
My Tom Cat Wobbles???

More Toucans Can Wrestle???

My Tiger Catches Wombats???

Me Texting Can (cause) Wrecks???

Missing Touring Car Wrecked???

and the list is endless....
#21
18th July 2013
Old 18th July 2013
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Many truly clever wordplays, my friend...
#22
18th July 2013
Old 18th July 2013
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LOL - MTCW apparently has many meanings!

to the OP:

Your original time assumption shows your inexperience in this type of work. I don't mean that snidely or harshly - quite the opposite.

Your gear may take only 20 minutes to set and strike, but to think that you could just waltz in, plug in, press record, stop, strike, and walk out in four hours is a bit naive. You forget that there is the entire show (of which you are an integral part) with many moving parts, all of which have to function together.

Normally, I would not just be supplying a recorder (can you really get paid for such a thing? Just rent it and be done then). Typically I assume at least one hour of setup and another of strike for every 8 microphones. It can be done faster, but this seems to be a safe estimate, allowing me a few minutes of wiggle time in case of challenges or problems. Obviously, I want to leave more time than this, but this gives me a reference of how much time I'll realistically need.

For large multi-track remotes, I simply assume a 12 - 15 hour day all told. 20 hour days are not uncommon.

You can throw up your hands and quit, and go seek greener pastures; or you can chalk this up to a learning experience so that the next opportunity is a better one.

I sometimes feel that after more than a decade of doing this, I am actually beginning to get the hang of it. IMHO and YMMV.

And Joel: I think they make a pill for that wavering time code problem you're having
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#23
18th July 2013
Old 18th July 2013
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... they make a pill for that ...
I'd much prefer some form of invasive surgery, with a long convalescence...
#24
21st July 2013
Old 21st July 2013
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FWIW I used to keep things loose so that nobody got too stressed about time when trying to make music - including me. If you run things too much by the clock you'll stress yourself as much as anyone. So, I used to quote for units of a session - which I defined as "a morning, or an afternoon, or an evening - you'll know when you've completed a session how long it was". I don't recall ever regretting that way of working.

Sometimes after a job I'd come away thinking that the clients had got an awful lot of work from me for the money. And sometimes I'd be embarrassed at how little they wanted. And a couple of times, they offered to pay me more than I'd asked when they realised just what they'd got. My last CD client paid me double the invoice.

You win some, you lose (hopefully) less.
#25
21st July 2013
Old 21st July 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobAnderson View Post
LOL - MTCW apparently has many meanings!

to the OP:

Your original time assumption shows your inexperience in this type of work. I don't mean that snidely or harshly - quite the opposite.

Your gear may take only 20 minutes to set and strike, but to think that you could just waltz in, plug in, press record, stop, strike, and walk out in four hours is a bit naive. You forget that there is the entire show (of which you are an integral part) with many moving parts, all of which have to function together.

Normally, I would not just be supplying a recorder (can you really get paid for such a thing? Just rent it and be done then). Typically I assume at least one hour of setup and another of strike for every 8 microphones. It can be done faster, but this seems to be a safe estimate, allowing me a few minutes of wiggle time in case of challenges or problems. Obviously, I want to leave more time than this, but this gives me a reference of how much time I'll realistically need.

For large multi-track remotes, I simply assume a 12 - 15 hour day all told. 20 hour days are not uncommon.

You can throw up your hands and quit, and go seek greener pastures; or you can chalk this up to a learning experience so that the next opportunity is a better one.

I sometimes feel that after more than a decade of doing this, I am actually beginning to get the hang of it. IMHO and YMMV.

And Joel: I think they make a pill for that wavering time code problem you're having
Wise words!
#26
22nd July 2013
Old 22nd July 2013
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And the party get's worse when you have a buildup and soundcheck in the morning and gig in the evening. In those situations i bring a large bean bag and find a spot in a dressing room or so. Bean bags make also excellent gear protectors in the car.

It could be worse... you could be a lighting engineer...
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#27
5th August 2013
Old 5th August 2013
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In the end I stuck to my guns and they came good with the extra $100.

My friend is still my friend and the client has not been heard from since.

I've now picked up more video work for educational institutions who have no problem with budget.

The lesson that I've learned is that I should be allowing for over-run in my quoting if I take on any more of this work.

Thanks for all your input. I can see there is a wealth I experience amongst you. It appears certainly a lot more than I have.
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#28
5th August 2013
Old 5th August 2013
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In the end I stuck to my guns and they came good with the extra $100.

My friend is still my friend and the client has not been heard from since.

I've now picked up more video work for educational institutions who have no problem with budget.

The lesson that I've learned is that I should be allowing for over-run in my quoting if I take on any more of this work.

Thanks for all your input. I can see there is a wealth I experience amongst you. It appears certainly a lot more than I have.
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