I’m a film student in my second year at uni. I’m trying to take on more “free” projects to really get that portfolio ready for paid gigs and an interesting project popped up for a fashion student’s dissertation.
After a bit of radio silence, I finally met the guy in person and we discussed the way he wanted the documentary about him making shoes. There were a couple red flags…
Client: You have full creative control, do anything you want with it really have fun!
Me: Ok great! Is there a plan of things you want in the documentary?
Client: I thought I’d leave that up to you, you obviously know the best way to do this.
I decided to take an optimistic approach to this and requested some more information about the project. After a lot more radio silence I get an email with a 6,000 word essay attached, his dissertation.
Me: Ah yes, could you please summarise this into sections to cover in the documentary and could I have your deadline and key dates so I can make a schedule?
I decided to just keep doing my own research into ways I want to make this documentary. Christmas came and I went home for the holidays. After a few days there I got an email.
Client: Hello, can we meet to film tomorrow.
Me: I’m not sure I’m available tomorrow, what time and where?
I don’t live anywhere near the uni and he still didn’t give me where I needed to be so I let him know I couldn’t make it an I required a bit more notice to be able to film. I left my parents house and headed back to mine to get ready to shoot a couple of days after when he wanted.
A few days later I got to the location and he’s making his shoe, I start filming everything is alright and nearer to the end of the day things slow down, he needs some help to finish the shoe however before he does he decides to try and take advantage of me being there.
Client: while I’m looking for someone to help could you research these things
He handed me a list of secondary research topics that sort of seemed like his job to follow up on?
Me: Uh I don’t know if I’m the best person for this.
Client: I’ll be back in a bit to see what you’ve done.
He leaves me with research that he should be doing because this is literally his final year dissertation for his degree… I’m a bit shocked, open up google on my laptop and type in the first topic and just keep that page open. When he comes back he checks on me every 10 minutes to make sure I was researching. It was so awkward.
Couple of days later I get an email about the progress of the research and whether it will be in the film.
Me: Could I see your dissertation brief.
Client: I’m going, to be honest, I don’t really understand it but here you are.
I read through the brief and find out the secondary research I’m doing needs to equate to 4,000 words and there was no way I was going to do it before but now there’s no way in hell I’m going to do it. I couldn’t believe he was trying to take advantage of me and I started to actually feel bad. So I write an email to him and his tutor.
Me: The brief says the video should have the equivalent of 4,000 words in it which I’m assuming will be marked so I don’t really feel comfortable doing the secondary research for the film because it isn’t my place to research for your independent dissertation nor am I a researcher or fashion student. I hope you can work something out with your tutor.
Client: Very well.
Later he sends me around 2000 words of research he’d clearly done beforehand… obviously he was trying to get some work out of me as if I wasn’t making him a whole documentary.
Fast forward to now, the deadline is a couple of days away and I’ve decided this whole thing is a him problem and not a me problem so I’m trying not to get too stressed. Suddenly I get an email from his tutor.
Client: Hello, I’m the tutor and I’ve edited the dissertation into 8 sections, if you could please structure the video into these 8 sections that would be great.
She changed a lot, most of it had nothing to do with what I’d filmed. I’m just gonna keep editing what I have and go from there really, just can’t believe they’d put me through all of this and change everything last minute like I can pull footage of stuff I never filmed out of my ass.