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Thread: Freelance work and no pay

  1. #1

    Default Freelance work and no pay

    I met a local experienced videographer who I respected and thought I trusted but it looks like he doesn't want to pay me. I just did the 4th job since August (agreed pay when handed to client) and when I asked about pay I could tell from his reaction its going to be difficult. I get the impression that he thinks he's helping me by giving me experience. No contract was signed.

    Now, he is expecting me to help out with an awards ceremony next week which is his biggest night of the year. I am thinking the best thing I can do is to ask for pay on the day and if he doesn't hand over the cheque I will walk away from him right before the show starts. Anyone been in this situation?

  2. #2


    I always get 50% up front and don't do another until paid for the last. That is until I have a history with the client or have a very good reference, even then you have to be careful.

    On another note, it is a good idea to do some work for free a few times a year. It is not only a good learning experience but good publicity and a charitable thing to do. You can even write it off if they will give you a receipt. I do one charitable shoot every year and get lots of new business out of it, well worth the many free hours spent on the project.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Western Europe


    Correct me if I'm wrong but have you done four jobs for free for this same videographer since August of last year? If that's the case then I think that's well past your quota for free work for one year. It sounds like this person is taking advantage of you.

    I would certainly be looking for money now and wouldn't do any more work for him until payment was made, it doesn't matter if you didn't sign a contract, you made a verbal agreement (I presume for work done and how much you would be paid for it?) when you first met. I think he needs to be confronted now about this issue and as you say if that doesn't work, then leave him during his 'awards ceremony' and see how much he likes that.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Blog Entries


    I'll go along with Nikosony. We all experience bad payers and it's often emotionally difficult to deal with. My particular method is that I only allow one open invoice. In other words I don't work for a company once they owe me more than one bill.

    I would warn your "mentor" that you expect to get paid and tell him well before the day of the gig that you need the money up front. If he doesn't pay, then you go home. Remember the old adage "Only a fool will work for nothing and many a fool does."
    There's a difference between "learning" and "working". If, when you're filming, you've got somebody supervising you and giving you hints and tips... that's learning. If you're supplying video for him to earn money... that's working and you should be paid for it.
    After four "freebies" you should be getting paid, unless they were poor and he suggests that you need more experience.

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