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Bigmouth Strikes Again

FEBRUARY 25, 2006
I evidently got canned from a weekly job I'd been doing for a well-paying, but notoriously difficult-to-please client for the past six months or so. So lofty are their standards, in fact, that they provided the impetus for my Gallery Of Rejected Sketches, after passing on eight reasonably viable roughs I submitted for a 2" x 2" spot, a while back.

   Four sketches into a job I'd been working on, they pulled the plug on the piece, which was fine- I was overbooked this week anyway, and was frankly relieved a.) not to have to continue to submit random, clueless sketches for a cryptic, two-line synopsis of a story, and b.) not to have to do the finish, which was due at about 8 the next morning. While this client pays nicely for a final, their kill fee rate is a miserly 30%, and at the end of a 16-hour day, I fired off a testy e-mail to the AD, along with a bill for 50%, and a paragraph explaining why I thought their 30% rate was for the birds, how 50% was industry standard, and that the actual "work" in working for them was just getting a sketch approved. Then I stumbled over to the couch for a few fitful hours of sleep.

I woke up, thought, uh oh, and tried to make nice with a clumsy, conciliatory follow-up which said, in effect "Hey, I was just kiddin, ha ha! 30% is fine. Uh, we're still cool, right?"  They didn't respond to that e-mail, and Thursday came and went without  a phone call, an assignment or any of the other things I'd come to associate with working for them.

So, I guess the moral of story is, don't fire off testy e-mails to ADs at the end of 16-hour days, decrying their policies. Had I the benefit of a couple hours of sleep in my skull, I just wouldn't have sent the e-mail at all, and I would've adhered to that age-old adage, The Customer Is Always Right, and gone about my bidness.

Well, I'm off to knock a couple back, and to think up new ways to burn bridges and alienate longstanding clients.