October 25, 2014

dealing with clients
How can we avoid misunderstandings, and help to keep our clients happy? This week I’m sharing some principles that have helped me when working with clients.


So if you’re a filmmaker, then the chances are you’ll have to work with clients at some point in your career. A lot of creative people find it tricky when it comes to the business side of things, so I wanted to make a video about working with clients.

Check out this week’s DSLRguide:


Details about the project

Date + Time of shoots, editing deadlines.

What can the client + filmmaker do with the video?

The filmmaker usually still owns the rights, but gives permission for the client to post the video online or sell to customers. The filmmaker should be able to use the video to promote their work.

No guarantees

The filmmaker will do their best to ensure that the video is made to the clients specification, but unforeseen circumstances may prevent this.


It’s good to establish how many re-edits you are willing to do. My policy is that I send the client the video, then ask if there’s any changes they want to make. After that they have one more chance to change things.  But no more than this!


If there is a danger of you or your equipment being harmed, then you may be forced to leave the shoot.


If the client didn’t like the video would you offer them a full refund? If the client cancels the day before the shoot? If there is a technical problem with hard-drives for example and all footage is lost?

NOTE: I am not a lawyer. I know nothing about the legal process, so I cannot guarantee that anything I’ve written in this post will prevent complications with clients.

I recommend that you find an example contract online, and then adapt it to fit the project. I started with a wedding photography contract! Of course if you can get it looked at by a lawyer then that’s ideal, but just remember that the contract will reduce the amount of hassle you have to deal with. Trust me, clients can be really difficult, so it’s important to be strict sometimes.

here are some examples contracts – mix and match the parts that apply to you!




Submitted by The Basic Filmmaker and Bryce Koetitz

  • Go the extra mile! Putting in some extra time to go above and beyond for your clients will really make an impact, and can seriously improve your chances of being recommended. 

  • Don’t be scared to say no to a project. Often we end up taking jobs that perhaps don’t ‘fulfil us creatively’ but everyone needs to pay the bills, so this is fine! But, if you’re not comfortable with the client, or your values are being compromised. don’t sign up for projects simply because you weren’t bold enough to say no!

  • Keep your clients updated. A quick email, to let them know what stage of editing you’re at can help to show that you being proactive. Some clients will be interested to see draft versions of the edit,  and this can give them a lot of satisfaction and builds the anticipation. Not all clients will want constant emails, so watch out for signs that they are happy to just let you get on with the project!



Simon Cade

Filmmaker, and host of DSLRguide. Since I was making my first film age 11, I have always been fascinated by the way films are produced, and the effect it can have on the audience.

  • JakeAntonyBrown

    Thanks a bunch, I’m going to use this when I need it. :)

  • Really nice tips, thank you!

    I have a question, if you don’t have any kind of business, this contract doesn’t have any legal value? does it?

    • You’re welcome, Guillem!
      I’m pretty sure that any document that has been signed will stand up in court to a certain level.. but you might want to talk to someone who knows something about legal stuff, or google it!

  • Michael Hardinge

    article / video Simon!

    Another great tip is don’t let clients use or undermine your
    abilities because of how young you are.

    We’ve all had times where we have met with a client that has
    been recommended to us and when they realize how young you are, they then try
    to drop down your prices or get concerned that you won’t be able to meet their demands.
    Age shouldn’t be a barrier (you are a great example!) But express confidence
    and assure clients you are able to deliver.

    By the way. Would you have a link to a sample wedding contract
    you may have used?

  • Emma Shaz’neigh Eichler

    You have influenced so much of my filming career. For that, I want to thank you. I hope that one day I see you on set somewhere