Clients from Hell

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April 24, 2014

Client: I need a profile image for my website.

Me: No problem, what are the dimensions?

Client: Square with a little bit rectangle.

"I don’t love the font. I don’t know. I don’t really care, or have any suggestions. Actually, it looks fine to me, but I’m just thinking about other people."
April 23, 2014
"I’ve taken my time to respond to the themes, and have felt considerable anguish because I can’t be enthusiastic about any of them. Upon viewing your design options, I found myself going from overflowing with energy and enthusiasm to being a bucket with a big hole in it and nothing inside."

I am a screenwriter with friends who make a living as crew film and television.

I have another friend who has a coding business (that, admittedly, I don’t fully understand, as it’s not my expertise).

Client: I want to make a commercial for [his product].

Me: Ok, great! What did you have in mind?

He excitedly tells me his idea. His passion is clear, but I know it’d be one boring commercial.

Me: Ok, um… yeah, we could do that. I could write a script for [low price because he’s a friend] and then I know a few people who could work on the commercial at a discount. We’d just need to get a good location and—

Client: Oh, I’ve got the location, we can shoot in my backyard.

Me: Oh.

Client: And I wouldn’t be paying anybody - especially at those prices. But I’m sure when they hear the project, they’d love to jump on board.

Me: Well, all the people I mentioned are professionals and -

Client: Do you know how many people would kill for an opportunity like this? This could make us all a lot of money.

Me: Well, again, they’re all professionals and would need to get paid up front for their time on set.

Client: But they’re just friends of yours. And we’ll be shooting in my backyard.

Me: Yeah, but these friends of mine are working professionals who make way more than the prices I mentioned. I might be able to convince them to work at that rate since it’s my script we’d be producing, but I won’t be able to push any further than that.

Client: But I’m sure they’d love this project and want to jump on board.

Me: For free…

Client: Exactly!

Me: You know what, I actually don’t think I’ll have time.

Client: Oh. That sucks. Well, give me your friends’ contact info so I can still get them.

April 22, 2014
"Change the colors and the shapes and the pictures - but keep the same look."

A project has a hard deadline of three months away for a trade show, and after two weeks, I’m still waiting on the deposit to start work.

Me: I’m still waiting on the 25% deposit we discussed. If we don’t get it in the next couple of days, we’ll miss the deadline. It’s already tight as it is.

Client: We’re still trying to decide which investor we like best.

Me: At this point just pick one, or you won’t have anything to invest in for another year.

Client: Well, we’re also working on a commercial. Is it alright if we take it out of your deposit?

Me: No, that is not alright. We’re working on the software, not the commercial.

Client: Why can’t you do the commercial too?

Me: We’re a programming firm, not a marketing firm.

Client: Oh, well how much have you done so far? We’d really like to put some of it in the commercial.

Me: As we’ve discussed, we can’t start working on your project until you pay the deposit.

Client: But we haven’t decided on an investor yet!

April 21, 2014
"Does this rainbow look gay to you?"

feedback from a children’s daycare website

My team and I were hired by a small-time political campaign to produce and write scripts for promotional videos. The only direction the client gave was, "Just make something and then I’ll tell you what I like and don’t like about it and we’ll go from there." 

After three different versions and no payment, we emailed to say we could no longer continue on this project without direction and the down-payment.

Client: I gave you direction! On the very first email, I said I wanted you to talk about certain issues.

Me: Yes, but even after we asked for clarification about those issues, you never responded. We sent numerous emails and made numerous calls.

Client: You should have been able to figure it out.

Me: Without the guarantee of payment, none of us have any real time to devote to this project.

Client: I thought I would just pay you for the finished product.

Me: At this rate, there never will be a finished product. As per our original conversation, you must pay us at specific milestones, two of which have already passed.

The client never responded to our team email again, but did contact me on my personal freelancing website to ask if I would like to do some work for him. When I informed him that he already had plenty of my work for free, he apologized and said he would send payment ASAP.

He never did, but he did email again two weeks later to ask if I would be willing to write a script for a new video. I asked him if he wasn’t sure how PayPal works or if he really couldn’t figure out that I was the same person he scammed out of three scripts earlier that same month.

April 20, 2014

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving, I was sent a brief for an email newsletter. Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, the client emailed me this:

Client: Just wondering how the newsletter is coming along. Let me know if you have any questions. We’d like to send something out by tomorrow afternoon. Happy holidays!

"I want the navigation to blend in, yet stand out."