Leon M. Brown owes me $900 and will not pay me for the work that I have already done on his film project. | [email& 160;protected] | | I initially met Mr. Leon M Brown from a ad placed on craigslist. He was looking for an editor for a 24 to 28 minute project that he and his family financed. He was offering financial compensation in the amount of $800 depending on your experience. We went back-and-forth for a number of days about his project. I asked him about his project in detail. I asked him if he needed someone to do the color grading on his project and he told me that he had everyone in place except an editor. Towards the end of our discussion we finally came to an agreement through email that I would be hired to do the editing on his project for $900 which is extremely low based on the amount of footage and the resolution of the footage that he had. Normally a job like this would cost anywhere in the amount of $3500-$5000, But because he constantly told me that he is loyal to the people that are loyal to him I went with a lower amount to be able to secure Future projects from him. | Whenever I work on someone’s project specially if it’s a low budget project I always inform them to have their project in order this way I don’t have to spend the same amount of time as a more expensive project would cost doing it. I rarely do business with people from craigslist because you never know who you’re dealing with and that’s not to say everyone on there is bad or good. It just means you never know who you’re dealing with. | After we agreed that I would be doing the editing for his project we had our first initial phone conversation. This was before the job ever started. I wanted to get a feel for who I was going to be working with. I didn’t find out till later on that he was a pastor and also in the military for over 10 years. I believe the military part explains the arrogance that I received from him from this first conversation. Most people are very proud of things that they do in their life, but when you don’t realize how proud you are that could be your downfall. | I told him that I would not except any money until the project is finished and he was completely 100% satisfied and that’s exactly how it started. I asked him on this conversation when would he like to have his footage back he told me he would like to have a turnaround time of seven days. Normally I would have no problem getting a persons project done in that time frame if everything is done right on behalf of the client. What I mean by that is, having your footage in order and properly labeled. That was not the case when I received the hard drive that he shipped to me from LA. Once I got the hard drive I realize that he sent his footage on a older my passport for Mac hard drive. Most people today use a solid-state hard drive in film, music and graphic design. It is a much faster drive that will allow you to operate at a greater efficiency to accomplish the ending result. | Anyone that works in the film industry knows unless you have a high-quality computer something on the level that Sony pictures would use you will need to do additional steps to work on the footage. The majority of independent editors and colorist have to either create proxy files for a large amount of footage or optimize files. Depending on the amount of footage it can take more than 15 or 20 hours if not more to render out these files. Mr. Leon sent me 108 TB of footage on a mechanical hard drive that should’ve been a solid-state hard drive that needed to be imported and rendered into my system. One thing about this hard drive, I repeatedly on numerous occasions told him that his hard drive would be returned to him upon the completion of the project and payment info for work rendered. With that being said I kind of knew after talking to him that this was going to be a one and only time partnership arrangement due to the fact that I did not like the way he talk down to me on our first and second phone call. | Anyway to move forward I received the hard drive and begin going over his footage. Normally on a film set you would have key people keeping detailed records of your footage when would be a script supervisor that person would be responsible for sending over daily reports to the editor telling him what takes were good and also the names of those takes. | The second would be, a pretty efficient data wrangler and that person’s job is to import the footage into a computer format right there on the set and organize it for distribution to the editor, but Mr. Leon did not have either. I do understand that everybody cannot afford the personnel that you will need on your film project, but that doesn’t mean you don’t keep detail organize records and footage. | The third person that would be a major factor if not the most important on a film project without the above two personnel would be the slate operator. For those of you who don’t know what a slate operator is please allow me to inform you. A slate operator is a person in front of the camera that yells out, scene one, take two and the name of what the scene is to show the editor where they are in the script. Mr. Leon did have someone doing the job of a slate operator, but they were not doing the job properly. They were only announcing the same number in the text number. Now just imagine if you sent a script that is not being followed 100% by the actors in there Changing the words as they go along on set you would need to know from the slate operator what’s the name of the scene so you can easily located in the script to do your job in a timely manner. | Now we get to our second phone call with Mr. Leon and it was not a pleasant experience. I must admit on our first conversation meaning our first phone call I did tell Mr. Lynn that I would send over my contract the next day, but as our conversation continued I realize that this is going to be more trouble than it’s worth. So I held off sending it until I completely saw the footage of what he sent me. | When you’re shooting a project it is very common that you would have to shoot some of the scenes out of order. Normally it would go like this, let’s say you’re shooting a scene and you have more than one or two actors on the set you would focus on the main two characters in their dialogue unless the other actors had dialogue as well. If you remember when I talked about the slate operator those numbers that he is saying mean something. When he says seen one that means the position of a camera. Until that camera moves it will always be seen one. Once you move the camera it becomes seem to. Now the take indicate how many times they shut that scene in that position. So with that being said this is how it would work, you know you have to see each character which means you would move the camera around to be able to film each actor in their position. | So if I’m shooting one of the actors standing by the door and I wanted to get a shot of them from in front and in back of the actor. I would first start off by shooting the actor in the front. That means I would have the camera facing me actor and that would be (scene one take one. Now after I finish filming the actor speaking all of his lines in that position I would then move the camera behind the actor to get the shot I need from behind which would now be scene two, take one. | Now there are times that you may have to come back to that location to re-shoot because the owner of the location may have to go or you’re losing sunlight. That was definitely not the case in Mr. Leon situation. | When I spoke to Mr. Leon for the second time and I asked him why is the footage out of order he told me it was due to sunlight. But 99% of his footage was shot indoors. Which in film that is called a control lighting situation. Meaning that you would use a key grip on set. His job is to control and set up all of the lights that you would need to be able to film your project in a enclosed film set and also on a outside film set as well. Once he told me that I was definitely not feeling him anymore. | There was also a problem with his audio as well that added to this complete disaster of a situation. Almost 99% of the time you will hire a boom operator and a sound person to control the audio environment of your film set. Mr. Leon only had a Boom operator. That’s not a problem at all hundreds of low budget films only use one Boom operator and they get the job done very well. The reason why I’m mentioning this is to show you some of the disasters that were involved in this project. The Boom operator wired up one of the actors with a lavalier microphone that attaches to your clothing and you run a wire somewhere along your body or outer clothing to pick up audio. There’s just one problem with this, the audio was going in and out. Also there is something called EMF. That means electric magnetic frequency. Cell phones omit minimal omit of radiation pulses that can interfere with the lavalier’s performance to be able to efficiently pick up the actors dialogue. | Getting back to the major problem with Mr. Leon’s hard drive that he sent me that contain his footage. The majority of his fridge was out of order. Which means I have to watch everything to be able to organize it in separate files or bins to be able to create a continuous flowing timeline. | Like I said in a earlier paragraph, if you shoot your actor from the front 10 out of 10 times you should move the camera behind the actor to complete shooting his scene and be done with it. That was definitely not the case for Mr. Leon’s footage. His footage was organized all over the place. I should be able to look at his footage in order on the hard drive and grab the footage of the actor from the front and then grab the footage of the actor from behind. Only if that was the case. | Also in our second conversation he started getting extremely nasty because he could not reach me by email. I try to explain to him that the company that I purchase my server with did not correctly organize the data on the backend to be able to make my server work properly. Every time he would email me it would bounce back to him like there was no email at all. He started telling me this is very unprofessional that I can’t reach you and your emails are bouncing back to me. I’m not upset because he said that, I was upset with him by the way he said it which set the tone from that point on. By no means do I believe that the customer is always right, that is not my motto. If the customer begins to talk to you in a certain way one or two things can happen, either you can allow it to continue or you can say something back to this client in a way that he understands you’re not going to take his bowl crap. | I guess you can figure by the way I’m explaining this in detail that’s exactly what I did. I had to stop him in the middle of one of his rants and start letting him know why there was a delay in his project. Now this conversation happened three days into me receiving his hard drive. If you rememberIn an earlier paragraph he wanted me to have a return on his project in seven days. So the way he was coming at me at that point in time was not warranted. F that point he also got extremely nasty about a comment that I made on one of his other projects on his YouTube. He is entering in a business that is extremely opinionated that’s the job. Either you can take other peoples opinion about your work or you can’t. He began getting nasty about that just because I told him some of his other projects were not colored correctly because they had a blue tint to them in the wrong places. | So now we move on today five and I am still in the process of doing the work of an assistant editor and creating optimize files for each folder. An assistant editor’s job is to watch all of the footage, organize it and put it into files so the editor can quickly edit the project. But if all of the footage is out of order it takes even more time to be able to watch it, label it and then optimize it. He was not paying me to do the job of an assistant editor especially with the amount of money that he was offering. By the way did I mention I haven’t received any money at all to start this project, which means he could walk away and I get nothing for all of the work that I’ve done so far. This is why I always ask that everything is organized before you send it to me so there are no problems like this. | Towards the end of our second call I am constantly reassuring him that his project will be done on time and he will be completely satisfied with my work. I told him that I would have a sample of the rough cut for later on that evening. He said OK. There’s just one problem, at that time I didn’t really care for him and I’m sure he didn’t really care for me either. No matter if he had ill feelings towards me or vice a versa I still had a job to do on the hopes that he would pay me when I’m finished. | Later on that evening we try to send him a rough cut of the project and we were having trouble with a third-party program that allows you to send large files to your clients for them to watch, comment on and approve. We were never able to send him the rough cut that evening. That still doesn’t negate the fact that we had seven days to give him the project. | Now we’re on day six and we start receiving threatening emails and phone calls. Telling us if we don’t return the hard drive it’s gonna be a problem for us. In one of the emails he threatened that he went to the FBI, Better Business Bureau better known as BBB and also his local police department to report that we have his $50 used condition hard drive that he sent to us. Which I will add a photograph to show you exactly what type of hard drive we received so no other editor will be subjected to his superiority complex. At this point I begin to ignore him and continue doing the work so I can get paid for the job that I already have started and almost completed. This is one day before Thanksgiving. Just like everyone else I enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner with friends. I knew Friday I would have to deal with is unprofessional attitude about his project. | Now we’re on day seven and don’t forget we had major setbacks just try to get his food ready to edit like I said earlier paragraphs. We continue to try to send him samples of a rough coat for his approval but we cannot get frame I/O to work properly. We tried all day and all night to get it to work. On Saturday morning we finally got a hold of the rep from the company who fix the problem which we sent him a copy of the email showing him the correspondence between me and the company. It didn’t matter to him he was already in his own frame of mind. We finally did send himSamples of a rough cut for him to approve but we were unaware that he got even nastier in some of his continuing emails. | I wrote back to him, I don’t appreciate being threatened and he told me it’s not a threat. I also told him that if I would’ve read his emails first I would not have sent him the rough cut, because he didn’t care anyway. I asked him a question through an email that went something like this, do you honestly think that you don’t owe me anything for all of the work that I have already done? All he can email me back or threats of what he was going to do if he didn’t get his $700 hard drive back that actually cost 50 bucks.At this point I was already too upset to insult him about the price of his hard drive that he claims was $700. You can go online and look at this hard drive and picking it up brand new for $129 and use for $50-$79 on eBay. This is why I’m writing to rip off.com so no other editor will have to go through what I went through with this guy. | | Nobodies perfect, but there’s no reason to disrespect and threaten people because you can’t have your way. My brother was in the military as well and he is just like this. Military people are used to being told what to do and everything must be in order. If not there will be hell to pay. |
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