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Echoes from the Backyard
Posted Nov 14, 2005 Print Version     Page 1of 1

Dear DJ,
I'm having a problem with payments. On the advice of others, I've established a payment schedule where I'm paid in full before the wedding, but I'm getting a lot of resistance with the final payment, due two weeks before the wedding. Several clients say they want to wait until the day of the wedding to make that payment. How can I get them to realize the importance of settling up prior to the wedding?

Dear Crunch,
Getting paid on the day of the wedding can be a dangerous proposition. What will you do if they say, "Oh dear . . . with so many other things to remember, I forgot the payment"? Are you willing to walk away from the job, and take the hit to your reputation that inevitably will come with doing so? What if they bring a rubber check that bounces a week later?

Both possibilities are reasons for getting paid in advance, in full. When you allow yourself to be taken advantage of, you will be. You'd be better off requiring a token amount (25% or less) to be held for day of or after, assuming your pricing is set up properly. If you're undercharging, you cannot afford to lose even a small percentage.

I used to require 25/50/25. I have enough finished videos sitting on the shelf, waiting on that final payment, that I now get 100% up front.

A better scenario would be to have a consultation meeting, say, 1-2 weeks before, ostensibly to go over the plans, last-minute revisions, etc., but also to stay in contact, provide reassurance, and collect that final payment.

I now offer clients an optional payment schedule. They can go with thirds, or interest-free monthly payments, sort of a layaway plan. A third option is to finance, either by credit card, or with a personal loan through someone like American General.

Dear DJ,
What should I do to prevent editing boredom? Sometimes I simply loathe the idea of sitting down to edit. I'm bored to tears with the pre-ceremony, ceremony, reception-plus-highlights format. I keep considering going to a short-form edit, but I worry about the reaction of brides who expect the entire full-length ceremony.

Dear Bored,
This topic crops up time and again, in much the same way that the copyright question comes up. Unlike the copyright question, however, there can be many answers to this one that are all "correct" in their own right (see July 2005 Echoes).

First, I'm not going to say, "Don't beat yourself up over this," because I think you should. If you're bored with the same ol' same ol', then stop doing the same ol' same ol'.

Easier said than done. I know.

The first thing you need to do is look around and find some examples of people who aren't doing things the same way you are. Take some time, download and view all the samples you can from the multitude of online sources. You might start with the award-winning entries from the 4EVER Group Artistic Achievement Awards at www.4evergroup.org. The first thing you'll realize is that there is nothing same ol' same ol' about any of this—or, at least, there doesn't have to be.

On your next ceremony edit, challenge yourself: edit the complete ceremony to 10 minutes or less. Force yourself to think differently about what such an edit would look or sound like. Maybe part of a reading, or even the vows, over the procession? Instead of including the officiant coaching the bride and groom, cut him or her out. Instead of including every word from the bride and groom both repeating the vows, maybe include a bit from the groom, a bit from the bride, a bit from the groom, and so on.

Here's your second challenge: Open the video with black background and white titles. For audio, use the DJ introducing the bride and groom at the reception, and the crowd cheering. Then fade to the first dance music and have the picture come up showing the couple in their first dance, in black and white, in slow motion for 15 seconds. What next? That's the challenge.

Could you flash back to the vows or preparations? Maybe back to the officiant's introduction and their first kiss?

Now, apply the same technique to the father-daughter dance. What might you go back and include from the day? Look at it differently. Set yourself up, somewhere you haven't been before, and then ask, "Now what?" When I judged the 4EVER Group Artistic Achievement Awards, it struck me that of the three winning Ceremony edits, none were longer than 13 minutes, and only one was longer than 10. I haven't had the guts to attempt that yet, but it's a challenge I plan to take.

In my next column, I'll continue with this theme, but in the meantime I suggest you invest in a book called Capturing Creativity by Brett Culp (www.cvpinspiration.com), discussed in the September Nonlinear Editor column. Forgive the pun, but it's very inspirational from the first chapter on.

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