Back when I started, I was “hired” to do film a local theatre show. When I say hired, I got paid next to nothing for nearly all the technical work for a four night production. What started out as managing some cameras for footage slowly grew into managing the lights, the soundboard, the soundtracks, the stage cues, and the narration, both during the months of rehearsal, and the show itself. I was overworked and underpaid, and the set up I had for filming the show (you know, the job I was hired to do) was woefully inadequate. They got their video files, and I got paid – inadequately; for what amounted to months of work, they paid me. Still, because I was inexperienced, I never drafted a signed contract and invoice. That became a problem when the client contacted me a few weeks later.
Client: Hey! We liked the videos, but there’s an issue with the footage from camera 2.
Somehow, the file was corrupted so that you couldn’t see the footage even though the audio was fine. I’d checked it before I handed it off to them, but hadn’t kept a copy. Again, I was new.
Me: There’s not much I can do about that at this point, I’m afraid. I can say that the video was fine when I gave it to you.
Client: No problem, no problem. We’ll work with it.
A month later.
Client: Hi! Just wondering if there’s any news on recovering the files. If not, we’d like to discuss a refund.
Me: Well, as I told you, there’s not really much I can do to recover the files. We can discuss a refund, but it would only be partial. Most of what you paid me was labour, and I did a lot for the show.
Client: Okay, yeah, I get that. Fine, no worries. We’ll figure it out.
Today, a month later.
Client: Hi! Any news on the refund?