When I was starting out as a freelancer, I was hired to do a brief round of assistant-editing on a low-budget documentary about Spanish culture in Los Angeles. It had been in production for at least 2-3 years before I came along and was in its “final stages.” When the client hired me, he talked a mile-a-minute at me about how this would be a quick and fun project with a promising future. I should have noted he didn’t give me ANY technical details about what I would be doing.
At the end of his carny pitch:
Client: So what’s your price? Give me a quote.
I naively presumed I could do whatever he wanted me to do within a week or two. I knew he was running a low-budget operation, so I meekly asked for $1000. He accepted.
He then asked me to write out an elaborate two-week daily schedule of how I would clean up about 30-40 hours of documentary footage that sprawled across dozens of Premiere bins (with hundreds of duplicate clips to be sifted through). I started and he proceeded to badger me via text message every single day about how closely I was following my schedule, micromanaging every little detail.
When I was almost finished he came up with a whole new list of things to do. Finally, I submitted my invoice and he balked:
Client: Why should I even pay HALF of $1000 for work that was late and complete?
Not sure what to do, I went to my business manager. And by “business manager” I mean “my mom.” I’m not sure what she told this guy but in the end he paid me $1200.