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Sleezy non paying producer from New York. What to do?


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#1 Ron Veto

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Posted 08 June 2008 - 10:44 AM

Hey everyone.
I have been trying for 7 months to get this sleeze bag New York producer to pay his invoice. He is from a company called Direct Focus. All I get is promises and lies over and over. You all have been there I'm sure. Re submit an invoice. Call this person. I'm out of town and will take care when I return. I'll look into it. All bull crap. The problem is can I make a small claims from Calif. to New York? What to do? Thanks a lot. Have a great summer! Aloha, Ron
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#2 BJMcDonnell SOC

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Posted 08 June 2008 - 12:58 PM

Hey Ron,


Im dealing with the same thing right now from a sleeze ball music video group. I hope to go get my cash from them this tuesday since their check bounced 2 months ago. That company is called "The Ultimate Group" so if any of you guys get a call from them stay away! Anyway, here is info I have for you Ron. I hope it helps. This is if you have a bounced check. I don't know if they sent you one or if it is just a invoice you sent to them.

Bad Check Program:

1-800-842-0733

da.lacounty.gov/badcheck.htm

I don't know if this helps since the payment has to come from New York but hopefully you can call and get info from them to help you out. It is through the district attorneys office.

Or you could fly to New York with a base ball bat and handle it that way.


BJ McDonnell
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#3 Rob Vuona SOC

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Posted 08 June 2008 - 01:36 PM

Hey everyone.
I have been trying for 7 months to get this sleeze bag New York producer to pay his invoice. He is from a company called Direct Focus. All I get is promises and lies over and over. You all have been there I'm sure. Re submit an invoice. Call this person. I'm out of town and will take care when I return. I'll look into it. All bull crap. The problem is can I make a small claims from Calif. to New York? What to do? Thanks a lot. Have a great summer! Aloha, Ron

to Ron...how you doin ! (think heavy NY accent)

I say use the baseball bat approach...

Yo..."don't make me make a phone call" (again think heavy NY accent)
ok my attempt to ease the tension on a f@&$ situation

In my experience I gave them a deadline and an expect to get paid on date, then it was I will be in your office at ....

Then it's letters from my attorny

Then legal

Just my two cents....thanks for sharing the info
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#4 Rick Drapkin

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Posted 08 June 2008 - 03:38 PM

Hi Ron,

If I were you, I'd send Billy Brao over to have a little talk with them. Feel a big head butt comming on !
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#5 kip ross

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Posted 11 June 2008 - 08:33 PM

Hi Rob,

And did this approach actually yield positive results? I may be faced with a similar situation (Indy, under funded, Op takes it in the shorts etc). As it's coming up on 90 days in arrears (run with the pun, as it were).

Let's teleport all non paying sleazeoids to their very own special planet. It's called "The Sun".

Edited by kip ross, 11 June 2008 - 08:35 PM.

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#6 Rob Vuona SOC

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Posted 12 June 2008 - 12:31 AM

Hi Rob,

And did this approach actually yield positive results? I may be faced with a similar situation (Indy, under funded, Op takes it in the shorts etc). As it's coming up on 90 days in arrears (run with the pun, as it were).

Let's teleport all non paying sleazeoids to their very own special planet. It's called "The Sun".


Hey kip,
Yes this actually worked for me a couple of times . . . .

I called and called and called only to be given the usual run around then finally I said i expect to be paid by friday of that week if not I will be in your office the following Monday.

Of course the check didn't come by Friday and monday morning i was sitting waiting in the producers office as he arrived to work. I made it abundantly clear that I wasn't leaving his office without being paid, weather it is with office computers and furniture or other equipment laying about. He again apologized, cut me a check and asked me to please not tell the others that were on the shoot that hadn't been paid that he was paying me because of some fouled up accounting bullshit . . . . .In any case I went straight to the HIS bank, cashed his check then called everyone that I knew hadn't been paid and told them how I got paid. Needless to say word spread pretty quick, he paid and no one worked for him for a long time and when he needed a crew again he needed to come up with the money up front for anyone to help him again.

There are more stories like this but each one ends sort of about the same with a few exceptions, I wouldn't chase a guy to Viatnam for the money but if he does come back here I'll be sure to get that $4500 out of him . . . .LOL . . . .

Usually just a letter from an attorney is enough to get a check cut and maybe a phone call from the attorney . . . .but I like to do things myself first

Hope this helps

Good luck

and yes lets abolish these guys that do this over and over . . .!!!
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#7 Daniel Stilling DFF

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Posted 17 June 2008 - 02:46 AM

Hey BJ

Interesting, I worked for the Ultimate Group about 3 weeks ago, and guess what? the check bounced, but I was really firm with them over the phone and they sent me a cashiers check 2 days later...

Good luck!


Dan
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#8 Ed Moore

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Posted 17 June 2008 - 07:01 AM

As much as this situation sucks, if some doesn't pay I find it's almost always because they haven't had the money through to them from their own client. Whilst we all serve invoices generally on 30 day terms, it's not common for big corporations to pay on 120 day terms or even longer. Under those circumstances, it can be extremely difficult to say the least for small production outfits to keep their heads above the water in cashflow terms. And if they all just gave up, we'd all be out of a lot of work that *does* eventually pay.

I'm certainly not excusing the behaviour as clearly it behooves anyone who's going to engage the services of freelancers to ensure that they're going to be able to pay them at the end of the job.

I only bring it up with the suggestion that in *some* circumstances, trying to ascertain sympathetically whether the issue is the cash coming into the production company, may pay dividends. You may be able to arrange a part payment from a deposit the production company *has* been paid, or with enough charm learn the date they expect the rest of the funds to be available to them.
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#9 Rob Vuona SOC

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Posted 17 June 2008 - 12:06 PM

As much as this situation sucks, if some doesn't pay I find it's almost always because they haven't had the money through to them from their own client. Whilst we all serve invoices generally on 30 day terms, it's not common for big corporations to pay on 120 day terms or even longer. Under those circumstances, it can be extremely difficult to say the least for small production outfits to keep their heads above the water in cashflow terms. And if they all just gave up, we'd all be out of a lot of work that *does* eventually pay.

I'm certainly not excusing the behaviour as clearly it behooves anyone who's going to engage the services of freelancers to ensure that they're going to be able to pay them at the end of the job.

I only bring it up with the suggestion that in *some* circumstances, trying to ascertain sympathetically whether the issue is the cash coming into the production company, may pay dividends. You may be able to arrange a part payment from a deposit the production company *has* been paid, or with enough charm learn the date they expect the rest of the funds to be available to them.

Ed's a Lover not fighter . . . .

Ya . . . .your right but for only so long, kill them with kindness first and get what you can then it's straight into the baseball bat approach . . .LOL . . .
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#10 Ed Moore

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Posted 17 June 2008 - 12:30 PM

Heh, I've been waiting years for the vitriol to build up, but the only time I really get wound up is when people do the whole "Ooh, we actually just thought of another shot" thing when you're 10cm from docking :)
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#11 BJMcDonnell SOC

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Posted 18 June 2008 - 12:19 PM

Hey Daniel,

Yep, I went down to the office and knocked on the door. I heard them inside and they got real quiet when I knocked. Then I called and they answered and I said, " Hi, its BJ and I hear you inside. I'm right outside the door". The receptionist said,"Oh" and then opened the door. I asked for my check that had been promised to me and she said the accountant wasn't in. I told her I would wait for her in the lobby and the receptionist looked a bit sour. She called the accountant after I told her I would refuse to leave until I had been paid or at least have a new check in hand. The accountant scrambled to get a check together. I have a check now and a attorney and I actually am going to cash the check in about a hour. If they don't cash it then I have to go to court over it. I already have most things in place to take them to court. I will let you guys know what happens. Again, if any of you guys get a call from the ultimate group I would tell them no. OK stay tuned.

BJ
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#12 David Allen Grove

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Posted 18 June 2008 - 01:19 PM

I worked for this group of a few years ago on two music videos back to back. The first was an R&B group and the second was a rap video.

I did get paid but I can tell you from that experience I will never work on another rap video again.
I heard several crew on the second day say "this is my last rap video."

Edited by David Allen Grove SOC, 18 June 2008 - 01:22 PM.

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#13 BJMcDonnell SOC

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Posted 18 June 2008 - 10:11 PM

After about 2 months, a bounced check, tons of calls, and myself going to the office of the ultimate group ready to take a laptop or 2 for collteral, The second check actually cashed. I sure hope the rest of the crew from the video got paid. What a pain in the arse it has been.


BJ

Ron I hope you got or get your money you deserve.
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#14 Ron Veto

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Posted 24 July 2008 - 01:48 AM

Hey everyone.
I have been trying for 7 months to get this sleeze bag New York producer to pay his invoice. All I get is promises and lies over and over. You all have been there I'm sure. Re submit an invoice. Call this person. I'm out of town and will take care when I return. I'll look into it. All bull crap. The problem is can I make a small claims from Calif. to New York? What to do? Thanks a lot. Have a great summer! Aloha, Ron

Thanks for the thoughts. I attacked from a different angle. I called the product agency. I spoke to the VP of Advertising. I sent him proof of e-mails and invoices to the original producer who was an idiot. The VP immediately took care of it. Done. Very professional.
As for bad checks. I have received a couple thru the years. If it's a bounced payroll check the District Attorney will get right on it. If it's a equipment check the city attorney has forms online to drop the dime on them. Called the "bad check complaint form" It has a sample must-do courtesy form to send the deadbeats, then instructions on the rest. Also numbers to add their names to the Merchant hotline. They really are not an collection agency but will call to forcefully advise compliance. Other cases under other guidelines must channel thru the small claims leading to a judgement which is no guarantee of anything.Some people are pretty slippery so inforcing a judgement requires time. Usually they pay as time forces them to clear their legal problems which haunt them. So you can't give up. Just a pain in the butt being in my desk. Good luck and Thanks again, Aloha, Ron veto
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#15 Mike McGowan SOC

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Posted 25 July 2008 - 10:29 AM

Here is yet another reason to have an agent.

I was stiffed two times before I started working with RTA. In both cases, I just didnt' get paid.

Since signing with RTA, I've had two situations where it didn't look like the producer was going to pay. I just called Russ and told him what was going on. He made a phone call or two, worked some of his secret magic and the next thing I know, there's a FedEx guy at my door with a check............... Every steadicam operator should have an agent (that is if you like beter working conditions, more work and more money).

mm.
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