Bad Client Series: The Dreamer
You may have come across the kind of client that sees himself as a ‘visionary’. They carry themselves with so much confidence that you may begin to doubt if you really know you are doing.
If you work in web development, you may have heard these clients say they want you to build a website that looks like Facebook, but the community is like Reddit, has a touch of YouTube and works better than Instagram and Twitter combined.
They also want you to make is so that at the click of a single button, the images on the website automatically become holograms. The request may not be this exact wording in your case but something quite familiar.
They are just not in touch with reality and want you to create the impossible for them for an equity of 5% in this new global empire that exist in their heads. You will also need to sign a non-disclosure agreement before they can give you further details on how this secret technology works. He’s so sure he’ll sell the company for over $5billion in the next 12 months.
Here is a story of a wannabe music superstar who lives only in his head.
I have a distant friend (we’re not close) who recently got into rapping and has been coming to me for production, however he has extremely unrealistic expectations about his music.
He started music less than 4 months ago, and has already spent more on equipment and software than I have in the last 2 years.
His rapping and lyrics are, to be frank, terrible. He can’t stay on beat and can’t write proper bars (12 syllables here, 3 there, 17 over here etc) and refuses to change them, as it’s an “artistic choice” and he doesn’t want to “become another fake artist”.
He is applying to music colleges for songwriting very soon, and the interview process for most of them requires him to play 5–8 songs on piano, an instrument he can’t play. When I’ve brought up teaching him, he’s said “you’re the producer, that’s your job. I just bring the lyrics”.
He is taking two weeks off his job and travelling to LA over the summer, and has been telling everyone that he’s going to get a record contract that will allow him to stay for longer, and therefore, in his words “basically moving there for good”. We live in the UK, so this is not a cheap or easy thing to do.
How do I, as someone who isn’t overly close to him, warn him that he may need, at the least, more practice than he has done and needs to put more thought into music as a career, without coming of as “holier than thou”?
As a producer, I’m worried about his lack of backup plan and unwillingness to learn anything, not even basic music theory as, in his mind, once he’s “made it” he’ll have people to do that for him.
What I do when I meet such clients is to try to educate them and bring them back to reality. If I can’t I simply let them go. It not worth your effort trying to convince them further if they are already convinced of the virtual world they live in.
Happy freelancing !