When I was still a film student in college, the school of
business hired me to create
a short promo video. Because I was a student, they hired me as an employee
and paid me an hourly wage while I was working on the video. I finished the
video, and contacted the school to let them know and to request my final pay cheque.
Unfortunately, the person I’d been working with had just left the department,
so I contacted her replacement:
Client: Please send us the finished video file.
Me: You can view the watermarked film at the
following link, and I will send you the full file once I’m paid.
Client: We inquired with HR and determined that
your contract was from February 15th to March 15th.
The contract was terminated on that date, and any hours you worked beyond that
date will not be paid. Please upload the video to our website immediately.
I’d worked the past two weeks in crunch mode,
so I’d accumulated a number of work hours during that period. I refused, and
the client was so miffed that
she didn’t respond to me, but instead emailed the head of my department. She
didn’t expect this response:
Head of Film Department: Once you’ve
compensated my student for her work, the school can take full ownership of the
video. If there is a truly urgent need to use the video, the school can do
everything in its power to expedite her proper remuneration. I would
suggest it wouldn’t be prudent for the school to get a reputation for actively
It’s so nice when your
teachers go to bat for you, but not something you can count on. Of course, I
didn’t get paid for another two months, but this may be the most important lesson
I got at that school.