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How should I handle this problem with a client and friend?

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  • How should I handle this problem with a client and friend?

    I am making a nature documentary corporate video project. I am doing it for a friend, for pretty much free actually just to get another project under my belt and for the experience.

    However, things have not been going well on it though, and I wanted other people's opinions on this situation.

    As part of this nature documentary, my friend who I am doing it for, arranged to have this person come out and speak about it for an interview. Me and my friend discussed how the interview was going to go and she said that she wanted the speaker to speak directly into the camera as if he is hosting it, just for about maybe 20 minutes. I asked if we are going to ask him questions, and she said no, he will just speak as if he is hosting, and we'll cut back to him looking into the camera every so often. So we agreed to do it that way.

    Three days later, we all go to the forrest, where we have been mostly shooting so far, and I wanted to go to the place where we were going to shoot him and set up the camera and sound equipment. I wasn't sure if her nature society company had a place in mind, or if were just going to pick one, I was good with either of course, it's their project .

    Now I wanted to set up before the man got there because I didn't want any audio or video troubles with the area they wanted to do it in and wanted to make sure everything was good of course. However, they didn't want me to set up ahead of time, because the spot they wanted to shoot in was about a 2-3 mile hike up hills, and they didn't want to bring me there to show me where it is, and then come all the way back to get him, and then go back up there again, after I had set up.

    I didn't know where this spot was, so I couldn't go there with my equipment myself to do it. So that's understandable that they didn't want to do make the trip twice. It would mean that I would have to wait with them and then one the speaker arrived, we would all then have do the 2 mile hike together, and then the speaker would have to wait while I set up. Which is fine with me, if that's the best way to do it they felt.

    The speaker is a native American man and he brought some of his religion to the shoot. Which is totally fine, if that's what they want, I am just describing him. So what he arrived and we all hike towards the spot.

    When we got to the spot, I could tell there was going to be some audio issues in this spot that I wanted to address, and perhaps could pick another spot.

    However, as soon as we got there, the man started praying and doing a religious native American cultural dance.

    I thought maybe he was just going to do this thing and then we would get on with shooting the interview. I asked my friend who was there if I should be recording this, as I was setting up the camera. I said if you want me to record it, just let him know, so I can wire him for sound as well as set up other sound equipment and camera equipment.

    My friend then said to me that I'm suppose to be recording him already before he started preying and dancing but I can't wire him for sound while he is preying and dancing. But I said I was unable to do that as we just started dancing and preying before I could even ask him to be wired for sound, or before I could even talk to him. He just started right after he got to the shooting spot. When she said I was suppose to start recording him before he started, he started preying and dancing just as we all arrived, so there was no time to do set up the equipment, wire him for sound and do any sound checks.

    So I asked my friend if she could ask him to be wired for sound then and maybe he could talk go over a quick run through of what we are shooting here. Because I was under the impression I was shooting an interview, not praying and dancing.

    I can shoot preying and dancing though, if that is what they want, it's fine by me. But she said that she cannot interupt him during it, and that I missed my chance to wire him for sound and it's over now.

    She said to just get what I could so I got what I could but I couldn't even wire him so it turned out really terrible, quality wise, and I didn't even get the whole thing, because he started doing his thing, before I could even talk to him, and I wasn't even allowed to talk to him she said, after he started.

    So he finished the prayer and dance and then left. I asked her, why not call him back to do this properly, since that is what all this was for. But she said that I missed the chance, and that her and nature society payed him to come out there, and it was now a waste of money possibly, since I got terrible quality audio as a result, and didn't even get the whole thing. So he left and she wouldn't ask him to do another round of it, and that was that.

    So I feel she has some tensions with me now and doubts now, but did I do something wrong? Was I unprepared? I figured it was best to wire him for sound after we got to the spot, rather than hike up a hill for two to three miles, through bushes, and risk something going wrong with the equipment, if I tried to prep it before the hike.

    So did I handle this wrong though?

  • #2
    I think you both screwed up. You should have insisted on speaking with the guy first so you were prepared and you also should have asked her more questions. She should have informed you of what was going to happen so that you could give her what she needs.

    Screenwriter and script consultant: