I’m a video editor and I work out of my home office. I also have a rambunctious 3 year old and equally rambunctious husband. Consequently, I tell all my clients up front (and in the contract) what my “open” hours are and that I don’t take calls or meet after 9 PM without a confirmed booking beforehand, so that I can make sure the kid is asleep and that the husband can keep himself occupied, etc. I do my best to be flexible.
I was cutting a short indie film, with a first time producer (never fun, but the project seemed like a cute story and I wanted to update my reel). She was young and single, and primarily corresponded by text message.
Client: (3 PM) Hey, I need to run a drive over to you, can I come to you now?
Me: I’m actually at a shoot right now, but I’ll be back at 5. Is there a time after that that works for you?
Client: Not sure, I have a party to go to tonight. I can let you know in about an hour
Me: Sounds good! Just let me know before 9pm please so I can make the necessary arrangements.
4 PM – nothing. I send a text to see if she’s figured out her plans yet, but get no response.
9 PM rolls around and I turn off my phone so I can have a life with my family. I find these texts the next morning:
Client: (10:15 PM) hey, are you guys still up? I can leave the party now.
Client: (10:20 PM) ok not sure if you’re around but I’m going to head over
Client: (10:50 PM) hey I’m outside, but all your lights are off. Are u asleep?
Client: (11:00 PM) Ok I’m not sure if you’re awake or if you’re even home.. I’m really freaking out about the Sundance deadline right now. Can you text me as soon as you can? I wish you told me that you’re not around.
The next morning I texted her back.
Me: Hey, I never got confirmation before 9pm that you were actually coming last night, so my phone was off. I can be available today between now and noon if that works for you?
Client: Wow, I didn’t realize that you went to bed so early. I wish you told me that you were going to turn your phone off, now I’m freaking out because of the Sundance deadline coming up. If I’d known that you weren’t going to be available then I wouldn’t have left the party early and hung out with my friends longer. That was really unprofessional of you.
I love that she not only blames me for her choice of leaving her friend’s party “early,” even though I didn’t commit to anything that night, but also for prioritizing her friend’s party over a well-established deadline on a major film fest that could define her career.