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yogert909

Freelance Bookings and Holds

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I'm surprised there doesn't seem to be a thread on booking and holds here. Every time I get a call to be "put on hold", I always get anxious so I wanted to compare notes.

 

1. Do people ever get written confirmations of a booking - especially long ones? I've been screwed on 6 month long projects that only lasted 4 months... I'd just like to know what other people do in this circumstance in case I want to push back sometime.

 

2. If you're on hold, when do you call to see if they will be booking? I usually call the morning before if they haven't called me first.

 

3. Does anyone have any tricks for dealing with the all too common scenario when your dream client wants to book you when you are already booked with a 2nd string client. I imagine not, but I HATE it when that happens..

 

4. Does anyone notify a 1st hold when they get a 2nd hold?

 

 

 

anything I've missed?

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1. If it's something that long, and it's important to you to hold the job for the full term, consider a contractual agreement on the schedule.

 

2. One or two days ahead, unless someone else is trying to book, in which case, they'd better figure it out real quick

 

3. cry, throw stuff, kick a puppy, wipe your teary snot on your hair and pass out on your pillow.

 

4. Nobody needs to know anything about anyone else unless there's more money involved in it for you. When someone wants to book, that means more money.

 

The way I understand it, holds are favors. It's a way of saying "hey, superstar, you call me first before you go running off with someone else, cuz i want first dibs on your hot ass."

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My answers (both as a VFX Supervisor getting booked and as Producer doing the booking)

 

1. Most of the time, your written confirmation is in an email. But if it's done over the phone, I simply write an email to the people that booked me, CC someone else if possible in that company and have them confirm the dates booked. Their response is my confirmation. In the event that longer projects don't go that long, I think you need to discuss at the beginning of these jobs that there should be some kind of a kill fee or cancel fee. My fee varies according to the job and the duration of the cancelled time (and the relationship i want to have with that client). The strict vendors will bill at 100% of the cancelled time. I sometimes do 50% of the cancelled time but I've also charged only a few days (especially if i'm getting a lot of calls for work, no hard feelings).

 

So, if you were "booked" for 6 months but the job ended at 4 months. you could be hard and charge 2 months of service or work something out (usually the latter).

 

** If your time was cancelled not because the job ended early but because your work wasn't up to par or you weren't getting along with the team/company (including talent, this is also a personality business), then you might be out of luck.

 

 

2. I've known artists that are on hold and they have to call the morning the job starts (that sucks). It's ok to call and see if things are firming up or not, you should take a temperature every now and then to see if you need to look for other work if the first hold looks like it's gonna go away.

 

3. A good trick, (I can't believe I'm telling you this, since I also have to call artists and hold/book them) is five simple words.

"Put Everyone on 2nd Hold" OR more selfishley put "You're your own 1st Hold". Nobody should know who has you on any holds, so now you have the option to pick and choose the clients you want to work with. Anybody that puts you on 2nd hold is looking for an alternate just in case.

 

4. I sometimes let my 1st hold know that I've got a 2nd hold, it gives them the opportunity to release me, as a courtesy, if they're just holding me for no specific reason. It depends on how comfortable you are with the client.

 

After a while, you know the same people and their habits. some places hold people far far in advance and for forever (that's BS). You will be able to set your own policies after some time to protect yourselves.

 

I have a sample (slightly altered) explanation of my hold/book policy I send to Clients who are unfamiliar with the process. Take it with a grain of salt but it follows the most common terms a lot of freelancers and vendors used. Remember, Set the terms to whatever your comfortable with. Nothing is in stone and this is not even close to being a real contract...

 

--- hold/book terms ---

Holds

If requesting my services for specific dates you can request to have dates set aside or put "On-Hold". Alternatively, you can simply Book (aka "Firm" or "Buy") the dates to assure the service/dates are reserved with no challenge.

 

First Holds

A ‘First Hold’ is considered a tentative booking. A tentative booking will be put on first hold at your request. When you’ve decided to confirm or release your date(s) please contact me immediately.

 

Second Holds

If there is a first hold and you are interested in those dates you can place a second hold. If first hold cancels I’ll contact you and offer you the date(s), which must be confirmed or released.

 

Challenge to the Hold (Buying Out)

If you want to Book/buy date(s) that another Client has on a First Hold, you can "Challenge" that First Hold Client upon confirmation that you will Book the date(s) immediately if the first hold releases the date(s). The First-Hold Client now has the option to either Book or Release the First-Hold. I will make every effort to contact the First-Hold Client regarding the dates challenged by 2nd Client seeking to Buy Time. However, if there is no response by First-Hold Client after XX hours of my initial attempt of contact, I can sell any dates they have on On Hold.

 

Confirmed Booking (Bought Time)

Booked Time may not be Re-scheduled without penalty fee. The fee varies depending on project and should be agreed to in advance.

 

Cancellations (Un-scheduled Down Time, Kill Fee, Pay or Play)

Booked Time that is cancelled is subject to cancel/kill fee. The cancel fee varies depending on project.

--- end of terms ---

 

 

hope that helps. apologies for bad grammar, spelling, lack of shift-key use.

 

good luck!

 

e

 

 

I'm surprised there doesn't seem to be a thread on booking and holds here. Every time I get a call to be "put on hold", I always get anxious so I wanted to compare notes.

 

1. Do people ever get written confirmations of a booking - especially long ones? I've been screwed on 6 month long projects that only lasted 4 months... I'd just like to know what other people do in this circumstance in case I want to push back sometime.

 

2. If you're on hold, when do you call to see if they will be booking? I usually call the morning before if they haven't called me first.

 

3. Does anyone have any tricks for dealing with the all too common scenario when your dream client wants to book you when you are already booked with a 2nd string client. I imagine not, but I HATE it when that happens..

 

4. Does anyone notify a 1st hold when they get a 2nd hold?

anything I've missed?

Edited by alba

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it's a good topic. some people new to it may not know the "the freelance game".

 

being staff has it's pros and cons just like freelance. (that should be thread, maybe it already is)

 

e

 

Dear lord am i glad i don't have to deal with any of this.

 

 

yeah I quit the full time freelance thing a while back. get a nice full time gig & take small freelance projects on the side. thats the way to do it.

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Thanks so much! It's pretty much what I was beginning to figure out. But since I never sheepishly asked someone "what's a 2nd hold?" or "what happens if client X calls when I'm on hold for client Y", it's good to see it all spelled out here. It goes without saying that "put everyone on 2nd hold" is brilliant. Thats' what I was trying get at with #4, communication to the client that you're not just sitting around like a little girl waiting for the phone to ring.

 

sending clients a explanation of the terms of a hold seems like such a good idea, I can't believe I didn't think of that. there's a couple of clients I'd like to send that to if you don't mind. There's one in particular that is fond of saying stuff like " we might be needing you sometime next week..."

 

The confirmation email is another thing I might start asking for. I usually just take their word for it, but I'd hate to miss out on the inevitable better job that always calls just as I book a pay the rent client.

 

Maybe some of this info should find it's way into the mograph wiki? It gives our profession more power if we all know the rules...and even more power if we can write the rules ;)

 

Thanks again.

Edited by yogert909

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Dear lord am i glad i don't have to deal with any of this.
yeah I quit the full time freelance thing a while back. get a nice full time gig & take small freelance projects on the side. thats the way to do it.

 

Personally I love freelance. Getting and booking jobs is my least favorite part, but there's also the upsides:

- It's easier to get freelance jobs at a top-notch studio.

- It's not just the same 5 people every day, and you're totally ignorant of office politics.

- makes you work harder and constantly re-evaluate your career path.

- increase your network

- pay is better if you can stay booked steadily

- write off expensive meals and trips to new york on your taxes.

- eat at different restaurants every day

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i say just show up whether or not your booked and invoice them while the cops are dragging you out for tresspassing :)

 

considering the organization at some studios, you could just send the invoice and get a check in the mail in a couple of weeks....skip the trip to the big house and the restraining order

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You were the one dressed all fancy-like last night

 

Troublemaker.

 

no kidding

 

considering the organization at some studios, you could just send the invoice and get a check in the mail in a couple of weeks....skip the trip to the big house and the restraining order
Edited by silatix

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There was a thread on Holds and Bookings from 2005, and it was good and complete, but it's not as outstanding as what Binky and alba just tour de forced in this thread.

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There was a thread on Holds and Bookings from 2005, and it was good and complete, but it's not as outstanding as what Binky and alba just tour de forced in this thread.

 

is that thread still around? i'd like to take a peek.

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...but it's not as outstanding as what Binky and alba just tour de forced in this thread.

 

are you kidding me?

i just realized i'm a total hack! :D

he has actual policies on this stuff!

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Dear lord am i glad i don't have to deal with any of this.

 

Trust me, there is an upside to freelancing, like 4 week vacations when you feel like it.

Even though we're just coming out of a horrific slowdown in our area, it would take a lot to

drag me back into fulltime.

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if you're talking about my policies. they're really just guidelines and in no way enforceable.

 

you can still get jerked around pretty good with the hold/book system.

 

e

 

 

 

are you kidding me?

i just realized i'm a total hack! :D

he has actual policies on this stuff!

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one of the most useful posts in recent mograph times alba.

 

A question tho, how many clients have actually paid up cancellation fees for anyone here?

On vfx jobs ive only ever been arranged to work on something else they've got going, or to eat it up myself.

 

Ur definitely right on the lack of enforceable clauses tho. Perhaps time to visit the lawyer once it rears its head up again..

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As long as it's discussed in advance then usually you're going to get your fee.

 

Usually, when someone starts to hint that my schedule is going to change or that i might get cancelled, I remind them that they booked me, so it's pay or play on their end.

 

This also answers the question, why do places hold you and don't book you until the last minute. It's because usually, the job isn't awarded until the very last minute.

 

e

 

one of the most useful posts in recent mograph times alba.

 

A question tho, how many clients have actually paid up cancellation fees for anyone here?

On vfx jobs ive only ever been arranged to work on something else they've got going, or to eat it up myself.

 

Ur definitely right on the lack of enforceable clauses tho. Perhaps time to visit the lawyer once it rears its head up again..

Edited by alba

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