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  1. #1
    New Member
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    TV Channel won't pay - took vision but won't pay invoice

    Moderators note: A few names have been removed from this thread, due to a dispute over the accuracy of the claims involved. The name of the TV channel has been changed to "Channel X", the employee at the channel has been renamed "Mr. X" and the news director (who comes in further down the thread) has been renamed "Mr. Y".

    Need some suggestions from other freelancers here.

    I work as a freelance journalist, photographer and videographer in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

    A couple of weeks ago we had an Hawaiian resident murdered in a restaurant by an Australian.

    As is normal in this situation I sent out news alerts seeking interest from TV stations and other media in both Australia and Hawaii.

    The alert outlined what had happened and asked if anyone wanted material.

    Mr. X from Channel X, who I gather is the director of news there, emailed back asking what was available.

    Over the day I had shot and cut down to a 4 minute tape the:-
    Scene of the shooting
    Hotel where the victim was staying
    Chiang Mai police headquarters
    Interview with the shooter - He says on tape when asked why he shot Mr Poretsky, "I didn't like him"
    Chiang Mai court house
    Chiang Mai prison

    This included smuggling a camera into the police cells to get the taped confession. I had also written the story and had hi-res stills.

    Mr. X asked for this to be sent. Which it was. He also asked for the hi-res still and the editorial. By this stage it had run to an 18-hour day - including talking to the stations reporters..

    The next day the shooter was in court. Channel X didn't want any more vision and said to send an invoice.

    I sent them a standard day shoot invoice of $700 due in 7 days.

    After receiving the invoice Mr. X emailed back saying that they only pay their stringers $150 for vision.

    Well I'm not one of their stringers and for the shoot I had to pay translators, transport and internet transmission charges (per Mbyte of data). On this score $150 doesn't even cover my operating costs, let alone standing costs.

    It's purely ridiculous and the first time I've come across this.

    I offered Channel X a discount of $200 but Mr. X just emailed back saying that's what they pay and that's it.

    The material is still on Channel Xs website.

    Anyone have any suggestions?

    Thanks
    John Le Fevre

  2. #2
    your option
    chalk this down to experience and learn from it
    next time do your ROI homework(return on Investment)
    whatever you do don't do anything on the net to discredit him
    (burn the bridge),
    that is your choice

    be well
    willie
    Executive Producer,
    Start Up Evangelist

  3. #3
    Administrator Dave's Avatar
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    I'm inclined to agree with Willie. If you didn't agree on payment terms beforehand there's probably not a lot you can do now. Perhaps in the future you could make a standard rates card and make sure they agree to it before you hand over rights to the footage.
    Dave Owen
    MediaCollege.com

  4. #4
    To 'make sure' the agreement is reached, the agreement could be confirmed in an MOU in fax or email, something tangible and can be produced during times like these for checks.
    There's no bad camera, just a bad user
    Loong . Singapore

  5. #5
    Yep,

    You lost that. should have looked into what they are willing to pay before sending the goods. You Will loose the battle in court too. You should just take the 150 and make sure that you look into the payments before you go sending 700 dollar bills. No offense to you, but if you sent us a 700 dollar bill we would laugh at you too
    Manoni Productions
    Pass me another beer...You are still ugly!

  6. #6
    New Member
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    >> No offense to you, but if you sent us a 700 dollar bill we would laugh at you too<<

    For an 18-hour day and a package comprising video, stills and editorial?

    Hmmmm, employing Cuban or Mexican illegals on sub-minimal wages, not a news breaking station, or in a market with no competition?

    $700 is well below the recommended daily rates for a camera person, photographer or journalist either in the US or Australia.

    >>You Will loose the battle in court too<<

    I doubt that. In fact the US District Attorney has requested details as it pertains to a breach of copyright.

    If someone is told to send the material then its fair and logical for that person to expect that the person requesting the material is prepared to pay a proper commercial rate.

    Obviously if the fee was ridiculous then the purchaser would have grounds to object, but in this instance the fee is reasonable and includes transmission charges and more than what a videographer would ordinarily supply.

  7. #7
    Yeah.. always agree on a fee before any work no matter what industry you're in.

  8. #8
    I doubt that. In fact the US District Attorney has requested details as it pertains to a breach of copyright.
    Good on you if the authority is prepared to look through this matter.

    If someone is told to send the material then its fair and logical for that person to expect that the person requesting the material is prepared to pay a proper commercial rate.
    You have to understand while this is considered logical, it does not realistically become logical without any form of agreement. Be careful to protect yourself against some of these assumptions.

    I look forward to hear the verdict. All the best.
    There's no bad camera, just a bad user
    Loong . Singapore

  9. #9
    New Member
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    Chiang Mai, Thailand
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    Light at the end of the tunnel

    For the benefit of other freelancers who might find themselves in similar situations the latest update on this is that following the threat of laying a complaint with the US District Attorney and highlighting the penalties Channel X could face the following email was received overnight.

    The matter of a Social Security number and their inability to pay by TT/Direct deposit have been addressed in a return email. It's very simple, I'm not a US citizen so don't have a Social Security number. I am an independent supplier of goods and services. They've been told payment in seven days by Paypal (which allows use of the corporate credit card) or TT or the complaint gets laid with the DA.

    After being insulted and treated in a rude and obnoxious manner by Mr. X, I'm not in a very diplomatic mood with Channel X.

    Oh the threat has also seen the real News Director brought into the picture as you can see. Mr. X I think has been removed from the picture.

    >>Dear Mr. Le Fevre,

    Thank you for your assistance on the story. I realize that your images were above and beyond other stringer or freelance type video or information we normally receive. But it is my understanding that you did not communicate the price of your material during those initial conversations and that there was no “contract” for a specific payment.

    However, Channel X is more than willing to pay a fair price for the images we received from you. May I suggest that we agree on the $500 you requested later.

    To process your check, could you please email me your Social Security or EIN number to asap. I will also need an address where I can send the check. Unfortunately our company does not do direct deposits for these types of transactions.

    Thank you,

    Mr. Y
    News Director
    Channel X<<

    Not a bad reference from Mr Pritchard regarding the work though

  10. #10
    Senior Member SC358's Avatar
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    I'm glad that it all worked out. It was an unfortunate event but not a loss in either case.

    Philosophically speaking, all of our works is worth something, but it's not always monetary. Obviously, it would always work out best if agreements are made not assumed. Why? Because most of the time 99.8% of the time it comes down to money or it's equivalent.

    Chalk this one up to experience! Photo_journ gets to buy the first round!

    SC358
    Relationships are based on compromises - behavior accepted is behavior repeated.

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