I’ve never decided whether I was being unreasonable here or the client was, so I thought I would submit my story and see what everyone else thought.
This happened approximately 15 years ago. A friend and I were starting a freelance film company making promo films and things like that. Someone I knew vaguely contacted me because he wanted a DVD made that he could sell to tourists in his shop. I would film and edit it and deliver the finished film to him.
I was just starting out and the place/subject of the film was something I was passionate about too so I agreed to do it for a small fee. The equipment we used would be loaned to us for free but we had to pay for the insurance to cover it while we used it, which is what the fee for the film would cover. We didn’t charge for our time or any other expenses.
Planning was done extensively and plans drawn up. The film would be a ‘virtual tour’ of local tourist attractions and sights and presented by a local tour guide. We would be paid half upfront and half on completion. The upfront half was paid and everything was arranged.
On the day of filming, we all met at the location and my client brings another ‘presenter’ with him as well as the local tour guide presenter that we’d been working with all along.
Client: This is our presenter! She speaks fluent Russian, so I thought we could do it in English and in Russian.
Me: So… you want it in one film? So one speaks in English and then one translates in Russian?
Client: No, we’d need two DVD’s making, one English language and one Russian.
Me: You want me to make two films then? And edit two films?
Client: (Getting annoyed) Yes, one in English and one in Russian!
Me: This isn’t what we agreed or planned for. That would be essentially making two films and we’re agreed to make one.
Client: But we’re filming it all anyway, what difference does it make if you film it a second time ?
Me: Well, we only have a limited amount of shooting time at some locations, so potentially filming it all twice could take significantly longer. Also I can’t edit a film in Russian. I don’t speak Russian. I wouldn’t know which element she’s talking about when, or what parts to include or edit out…
I ended up filming it in English and Russian, but not editing it. We were never paid the second half of the fee.
Before filming, I also had to explain to the client why his customers couldn’t buy the DVD and listen to it on their personal CD players while they walked around the tourist attractions. That should have been a warning…