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running a few hours late

LatePeople in LA love to be late. Tardiness, like star sightings and making left turns after the yellow light has turned red, is part of SoCal culture. Thankfully there is a bit of etiquette involved. Most people call or text to say they are running behind schedule. The norm is somewhere between 10 and 20 minutes. Albeit annoying to the punctual, I've grown to accept this as the price of admission.

Imagine you were meeting someone for lunch at 1 o'clock. On your way you got a text that read "Running about three hours late. See you at 4!". What would you do?

Who eats lunch at 3 unless your an out of work hipster or a ne'er-do-well. If your a working person it's a day killer. Most of all it shows a total lack of respect for your time. So, what to do. After getting over the anger, I'd most likely cancel and reschedule for a later date. In reality, no one would make this inane request. Or, would they?

In the last few months we have run up against a rash of postponement and cancellation on our jobs. I'm starting to take it personal. Clients have the right to change their mind. Marketing needs get altered. Someone falls out of love with the creative. Priorities take a new direction. So be it. Of course these decisions impact the vendors they've made commitments to and there are consequences for this action. 

As a rule, there are some type of guidelines involved whether they are AICP Guidelines or some variation coming directly from the client. Even when there are pre-agreed upon specs there is negotiation. We haggle over mark-up, director's fees and compensation on "pay or play" department heads. We have always found a fair compromise especially in areas of cancellation. Postponement is the gray area.

If you are producing a job and the client wants to shoot it 3 weeks later than originally scheduled I call it a cancellation and a re-book. The finances of the project would follow suit. I'd realize savings where I can but the bottom line is my director's time along with my production team and key crew have lost valuable time. This is the overriding factor to determining fair compensation and penalties. 

The cost consultants on the other hand call it a postponement since we are still shooting the same creative and we've prepped certain elements of the job. The only difference they see is we are just shooting it at a later date. They tend to gloss over the time booked and lost argument. My guess it's because postponement guidelines are more favorable than cancellation. 

The lesson to learn is to define what constitutes postponement versus cancellation. I'm of the belief if a job push passed 10 working days, it's no longer a postponement regardless what has been prepped and if the creative remains untouched. It's a cancellation and re book. Everyone involved from directors and production company to keys and line producers took the project over something else. There time has been lost. They are not salaried and must be compensated accordingly. In the end client's pay for our expertise but most of all they must pay for our time. 

Everyone deserves some grace period whether it's terminally late Los Angelenos or cost consultants. This doesn't mean they should expect us to eat lunch just in time for dinner and then ask us to pick up the check. 

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