I’ve been a video editor for 15 years. I have a full-time editing position, but I also freelance on the side. I’d already edited a few videos for a new client who wanted to develop a long-term relationship and basically use me for all of his editing work. My contract states that half of payment is due after I send the first draft, with the rest due when they approve the final product.
One week I was working on a video for him, and after I sent him the first edit, he put that project on hold and asked me to produce five logo intros ASAP.
He sent me 5 complex After Effects templates, and I turned around the first 3 intros within two hours. Basically, I had to resize their 200×200 logo in Illustrator, drop it into the templates, change some colors, and speed up some of the animations. No big deal. The export/render took the longest time because of the sheer number of effects in each project.
However, the other two templates wouldn’t load correctly. They required a third-party plugin that I had to install, and after installation, neither project would save or export and my computer ended up crashing several times. I’ve never had this problem before, and although I stayed up all night troubleshooting, I couldn’t figure out what the issue was.
Meanwhile, the client had approved the first three videos, and I explained exactly what was going on with the other two videos and how I was trying to resolve it. He finally (less than 24 hours after dumping the project on me) contacted me with the following:
Client: We don’t have time for this. I need this project turned around in two hours. I suggest you learn how to do this type of editing.
Me: I DO know how to do this type of editing, but as I’ve said, there are technical issues with these last two templates, which I’m attempting to resolve.
Client: Do you know how to make this animation? If so, just replicate it yourself.
Me: This is an incredibly complex animation. I CAN build it, but not in two hours.
Client: Then we no longer require your services. The quality and level of expertise are not what we expected. Here’s some feedback for you: Do your own research and learn more about how to edit. You do have potential, but we will not be continuing a relationship with you until you improve your skills. Also, we’re not paying you for this project OR the project you abandoned halfway through.
Me: OK, but you ARE paying me for the three intros I completed, per our contract. I obviously won’t charge you for the other two, but there were technical issues with those templates, which have nothing to do with my expertise or editing skills. You’ll also pay for the other project’s first draft, per THAT contract, as you were the one who canceled the project after I’d already given you a useable product.
Client: We’re not paying for anything.
Me: You WILL pay me because it’s in the contract, or I’ll open a case against you.
Client: I don’t care! In fact, I’M opening a case against YOU.
Me: Sounds good. I’ll go ahead an open my case now.
Client: Fine, fine, never mind, we’ll pay you! But we do logo intros all the time and have never had any problems before.
We agreed to a price, and I washed my hands of them. A few months later, they contacted me again.
Client: Hey, remember that first project you did for us? We’d like some changes, and think you’re the best person to make them!
Me: Sorry, I’m not interested.
Client: But we LOVE your work! And you have the files already. It’ll take like 15 minutes.
Me: Sorry, I’m still not interested.
Client: We will pay you DOUBLE! We loved working with you!
Me: I’ll be more clear: After the way you treated me during the last project, I have no interest in working with you again.
Client: Fine. We WERE going to give you another chance. But we’ll find someone else.
Client: BTW, YOU were the one who couldn’t fulfill the job requirements.
Client: I can’t believe you’re still taking this personally.
I have zero regrets.