Let’s Be Nice Out There

One week I’m in New York, the next week I’m in LA, after that, maybe Chicago, or even Philly. Point is, I travel a lot, working on videos and films for clients. And I’ve noticed something in the past few weeks- people are getting meaner.

Our country is going through something right now. We’re becoming more and more divided. No matter the color or your skin, or your religion, or your political party affiliation- people are, it seems, more tense and tightly wound than I’ve seen in a long, long time.

On one flight last week, I watched a flight attendant  verbally spar with a customer, then physically assault him with his entertainment device, prior to takeoff. When he complained that she’d struck him, she said she ‘knew’ he’d say she was a racist. I don’t know how it started, I wasn’t there for that part. But she threatened to get him ejected from the flight. Then, she turned to me and tried to engage me in an argument, too. I didn’t accept her challenge, it seemed pointless.

After takeoff, she and I talked a little. I instigated it. I asked her about her day, what her favorite part of being a flight attendant was, etc. Just trying to humanize the situation. And it worked. By the end of the flight, she was calling me baby, and she made up with the man she was so rude to, as well. She admitted she’d been feeling extra tense since the police shootings in Dallas. I understood. We’re all wound up, lately.

But it’s weird, right?

It seems to me that when times get weird, that’s the time to treat other people even better than you usually would. Not worse. This is the time to make a point of not seeing people as “the other” but as part of us. Only then can we work together to make things better.

The world has too much anger and hate right now. Let’s not add to it.

Let’s be nice out there.



How to Spot a Video Production Company Job Scam

It’s interesting that scammers are now targeting video production companies. Most scams are simple, and somewhat easy to spot. Some are not. Here’s a letter our production manager got today (this one’s a simple scam):

“We are XXXXXXX from XXXXXXX (redacted) looking for professional Video Production Company to Film Our incoming event which will take place on 12th of August in New York United States
Project: To produce a short behind the scene style event
highlight video of the 1 day event. To possibly include Vox Pop style
interviews with either delegates and or key speakers.

Project Detail,
Details of the Project
1,A full day Crew for 8 hours with 1 Camera
2.full production inclusive of editing
3.Promotional Event

4. Finished video going to be used for point of sale video, cable tv,

Waiting to read from you soon”

How this scam works is, the company will give you a ton of great detailed information, and even negotiate on price for the gig. Then, they’ll send you payment via fedex. Except the check will be for too much. They’ll ask you to just deposit it, and send the remainder back to them. At first, the check will clear. Then, a few days later, your bank will find out it’s a bad check and you’ll be liable for the money you “sent back” to this “client” who wrote you a bad check.
I had a photographer buddy who has had a few of these happen to him. Luckily, he’s never been suckered- and we have not, either- but tons of photographers and probably video companies have been, especially in this modern world where we work with clients from around the world on a regular basis, and communicate via Skype, email, and IM.
So how do you protect yourself? Basically, check out every potential client as best you can. If the scammer is any good, they’ll have a real company whose identity they’ve stolen. Emails can be spoofed, as can websites, etc. So, don’t just talk via email. Call them. See what’s what.
I know creative types like to think everyone’s nice and everyone’s honest. But it’s not true, at all. Sometimes injecting a little hard-nosed business sense into the mix is absolutely vital to your continued success.