I apologize for the rant in advance. I don’t have a lot of engineer friends, and I really enjoy reading this forum because everyone seems to understand one another when it comes to engineering. If you have an opinion you would like to share, I would greatly appreciate it. I’ve been learning online on how to handle and work with clients, and I thought I was doing great until it started going downhill & landed myself in a position I’m starting to loathe.
In the manner of behaving like a professional & adult, I’ve done my best to handle this one particular client. Here is my summarized story:
- Two years ago moved to town, and have no portfolio material.
- Meet a singer/guitar player who has a “band” (just his friends who aren’t committed to staying together)
- Work out a deal, I record him & mix his album project for free (1st red flag) for sake of getting portfolio material quicker (not to include Mastering). Did not set expectations between client & engineer (2nd red flag).
- Client and his band friends works 9-5 jobs, and we try to record in takes when available (was very difficult to work with his friends when they “felt like it”).
- A WHOLE YEAR LATER, we finally finish the record. I mix it down, send it to his friend who does mastering.
- Mastering engineer heavily critiques my work, but does his dutiful service.
- PROJECT IS FINALLY COMPLETE.
+After a month from getting mastered products from Mastering Engineer, Client COMES BACK to me to ask about making corrections to some songs on his album AFTER we already mastered it & he published a few songs online to stores and his friends from the very same album.
- Asks politely if we can add “one more thing” to a few of the songs. Decided to give benefit of doubt (3rd red flag).
- Client decides to modify all my work on mixes he wants corrections on by himself on his own computer, gives me stems. Turns out he added 6+ instruments on each project. All my work is for naught.
Now I’m frustratingly working on these revisions just so I can have some fucking material for my portfolio. I worked all year on this guy’s project, with no other prospect clients.
- Set expectations prior to sessions (to include fees for revisions / knowing when to say no / not be stupid).
- Put it all on paper
- When working for free, there will still need to be caviats for getting paid for your time and efforts.
Thank you for reading.