How do you respond when you realize your client had a different expectation that you did? What are some ways to avoid miscommunication during pre-production? What should you do if you’re not happy with the end product? This week we are looking at a question about communicating with a client.
STUDENT QUESTION: How do you communicate when you and your client have different expectations?
ANDREW: One of the things that can really help is some example videos up front. So you could send a couple of examples, like, “Are you thinking something like this?” So you could send them an example of more upbeat, more typical video. And then she could then say either yes or no. And then, at that point you’re like, “Oh, that’s very clear.” Or, “Okay, if she doesn’t want that then what are you wanting?” And then, you know to have that conversation. So I think that could be super helpful upfront. That’s probably the easiest way to weed through what their expectations are because it seems like there’s two types of clients. You typically run into either A, they’re like, “I don’t really know what to do. I want you to help me figure out what we should do.” Or B, they have a fairly clear idea of, “Okay, this is what we want to do. And I just want you to do that.”
Sometimes I’ve turned clients down because they said, “This is what I want. Will you do it?” That’s not really what we do. So if you want to do that, we’re probably not the right fit for you. It’s not that I think your idea stinks. One of the clients wanted us to come and shoot a bunch of bits they could end up using for just whatever they wanted in the future. Not necessarily project specific. For one, I know I’m not very good at that. For me, it’s super helpful to have an end product in mind when I shoot it. I think that doesn’t actually serve them as well because you end up with a lot of generic “meh” footage.
Whereas when you have a specific idea, you can actually create something really good and targeted. So I pitched that back to them and it was like, “We don’t really do that version because I honestly don’t think it will serve you as well. So here’s what we can do.” And I pitched him on a different idea and they ended up hiring someone else.
So, you can do that, or you could just go in if you’re happy to do the way that they want to do it and maybe you just don’t post it. And that’s totally fine too. But in terms of whether or not you’d post a different version, honestly, I don’t necessarily see a problem with it. You could label it, director’s cut or something like that and you wouldn’t upload the other version to your page.