7 Tips On Double Bookings And Client Etiquette.


Working as a freelance cameraman for many years has taught me a few things about dealing with clients. Here are a few tips that might help you get new clients and retain your current ones. I also want to address double bookings and back to back gigs. In the world of freelance we are taught to entertain almost every job that crosses our path. We try to make every day a work day and live with the possibility that our last gig could very well be the last time we work. Here are a few tips that have worked well for me.

1. Communication is key. In this world of texts and reply all’s it’s easy for details to get buried in the string. Sometimes it’s as easy as a phone call to clarify any situation. It never hurts to quickly check in before and after any gig.

2. Try and stay positive throughout the production process, there is nothing worse than having to deal with a sourpuss.

3. Inform both parties if you have back to back gigs before the job starts. I would suggest having a back up plan especially if any travel is involved. I would check availability of another shooter and place a light hold after describing the situation. In this situation it is possible to perform poorly on both gigs, reassuring both clients that this will not happen is a good idea.

4. If you have to replace yourself know that you are still held responsible for the image produced. I know this sounds crazy but I believe that if you recommend a replacement then your reputation is on the line. Choose your replacements wisely. This has always been a tricky thing for me personally. The best replacement is one that will perform well but not necessarily out shine you too much. The worst is when your replacement attempts to steal your client. A fear I think some will share.

5. If a better job comes along, have everything set and ready to replace yourself before you mention anything to production. Then present your situation and possible solution. Do not expect production to jump through hoops to accommodate your new gig. You must make the transition as seamless as possible. Unless you want to loose this client. Even then you must be prepared to bite the bullet and do the first gig.

6. Murphy’s Law and the film business. It is typically after you have booked a vacation that you will get called for a gig. It’s almost guaranteed! This will happen throughout your career. Stick with your plans, there will always be more work.

7. I am always working on something. I am always busy. I would never publicize a slow period or availability block.

8. Finally, a simple thank you text, email or hand written note after every job. It does not have to be much but in this crazy business it’s the little things that seperate us from the animals.

Jared Abrams is a cinematographer based in Hollywood, California. After many years as a professional camera assistant he switched over to still photography. About two years ago a new Canon camera changed the way the world sees both motion and still photography. He just happened to be in the right place at the right time.
  • Steve

    Not a cameraman, but a freelancer. This is good advice for me as well.