The booty call

IT IS A REAL-LIFE CONVERSATION I HAD WITH ONE OF MY CLIENT WHO ENDED UP GIVING ME THE ASSIGNMENT or not, IS SOMETHING YOU NEED TO FIND OUT BY THE END OF IT.


If you are someone new to my blog let me introduce myself to you, I am Shovona Karmakar, a freelance advertising photographer, product stylist and a cinemagraph artist based out of Mumbai, India. I started freelancing back in 2014 and if you wish to know HOW? Kindly check the link below


MIRZAPUR TO MUMBAI




Back in 2014 when I abruptly lost my job and started my own I was looking for anything to pay me somewhere enough to sustain and I came across this lady Susan (The name is been changed) who then worked as a creative director for a matrimonial site for whom I ended up doing a job and maybe she thought to extend my potential for her future ventures. Susan ended up joining a lingerie brand which is moreover an eCommerce store back then, she even shifted her base to Bangalore from Mumbai. We ended being on good notes and even exchanged a few personal things which made me feel safe being with her.


Susan: Hey! Shovona, the video you made it for the site turned out so good, glad we met and glad you ended up working for us.

Myself: Hey! Thank you so much for trusting me with this job, which means a lot to me. I just needed it.


Susan: I wanted to share something with you and I see enough potential in you to collaborate and walk a long way, I have this company with my bae and we are starting an advertising venture back in Bangalore, to add I am joining this new company in Bangalore itself as a senior creative director.

Myself: That sounds fantastic and I am so keen to work again with you. Is anyone calling me for the job of your new office?


Susan: Yes, I will ask my workmate to call you sometime, let me present your portfolio to them for consideration which I don't think should be a problem.

Myself: Sounds great! Looking forward to it.


Well, it all sounds like a great client and vendor relationship and I am sure you don't find anything fishy, well there is nothing fishy as it is general human behaviour to think about itself and justify itself. I was all glad to come across this person and I am sure many people will not agree to my article yet I find as the need to let you all know the red flags and be as away as possible. People who respect your work will respect your way to do.


Susan: Hey! Shovona I hope you are doing well. Apologies I was so caught up with my family and bae and work. I am finally settled in my new job and so excited to make you a part of it.

Myself: Hey! I understand, glad to hear from you again.

Susan: My mate Rahul (The name is been changed) will be calling you in a few days, are you in Mumbai or traveling?

Myself: I might be going to Kolkata to meet my folks, but will be back home in a few days. Whatsup?

Susan: I presented your folio to them and they were glad to make you part of it, wondering if you will be willing to travel to Bangalore for weeks to do the job.

Myself: Hey! why not, you know I do travel with work.


My very first commercial assignment was a well to do an amalgamation of production, talent and hospitality hence I knew the basics I deserve if and when I travel for work.

As a freelancer, I always travel with my assistant for every commercial assignment it is a general norm followed everywhere in the world.


I remember I was at the Kolkata airport waiting to board my flight and then my phone rang.


Rahul: Hello! Am I speaking to Shovona, Susan gave me your number and said you are willing to work for us. Let me know how much are you expecting.

Myself: Hey, thanks for calling, yeah I was wondering if you can help me with a brief what I exactly need to do and I charge around 25x a day plus traveling, fooding and boarding, I can only do photography as editing will be extra.

Rahul: Ohh, ok, that is little on the higher side for us, can we negotiate?

Myself: What kind of budget are you looking for?

Rahul: Susan gave us the idea that you will be willing to shift to Bangalore.

Myself: Oh, sorry Rahul, I am a freelancer and I am based out of Mumbai only, I work with various brands and I don't think I will be willing to go fulltime with anyone now, as I run my own company.

Rahul: Oh, I see, seems there is some misunderstanding, let me connect to Susan and see if we can figure it out.

Myself: Thanks for understanding, will be looking forward to hearing from you.


Well, I was little startled post the call as I knew Susan understood my freelance status and was calling me to work as a freelancer not as a full-time employee. I was a little disappointed as I knew and had a gut feeling it is not going in the right direction.

It was been a few weeks and I didn't hear anything from them and I thought maybe they are not considering me for the job anymore and I didn't bother to follow up.


And then one day...


Rahul: Hello, Shovona, Rahul this side, I hope you are keeping well.

Myself: Hey Rahul, thanks for connecting me back, wondering if you have any update?

Rahul: We had a conversation with Susan and the respective team and we can only pay you 60k for two weeks including your photography, equipment, assistant, fooding, lodging and traveling. Let me know if it works for you?

Myself: Hey, that is pretty unpractical for me as every client pays for TBL (Travel, boarding, and lodging of two) I can still adjust my assistant fees along with mine.

Rahul: Well then it sounds a little difficult for us to hire you.

Myself: That is totally fine, thanks for considering.


Well, boom! I thought so and I was emotionally hurt and disappointed, you see early in those days of your venture you are too attached to your work, getting to know someone kind to you and you get a trust factor and then if the person tries to exploit you with your skill, it is little something you are taken aback with.


I then thought to connect to Susan to understand the situation and what happened was worth a lesson to learn

I tried calling Susan multiple times and she ended up hanging on me stating she is busy.


And one day finally, I guess she picked up my call by mistake... God knows!


Myself: Hey, Susan, all good at your side I hope?

Susan: Whos is this?

Myself: Hey, Shovona this side.

Susan: Yeah tell me what you want? be quick I am very busy.

Myself: Rahul called me and I was a little shocked to know the compensation, sadly it is very unpractical.

Susan: You are very unpractical and you stabbed me at my back, I trusted you so much. (actual words)

Myself: Pardon?

Susan: I saw so much potential in you and I wanted to give you a platform to explore and experiment, we would have ended up doing some awesome work together and you just stabbed it. What do you want?

Myself: Totally taken aback. To be clear the compensation and the amount of work you were asking for is a little unbalanced, post everything I was ending up with nothing in my hand, not even bare minimum to pay my rent in Mumbai. Every client has paid for TBL and there is nothing weird about it. I do state I am a freelancer and not looking to shift my base to any city.

Susan: You could have ended up eating canteen food in our office and lived in a girl's hostel, what's the worry?

Myself: Well that's is not how I work especially if I am traveling.

Susan: Then why bothering calling me, struggle like others do and don't come back asking for opportunities.

Myself: Sure, Got my lessons. Thanks for everything.


Well her bae tried connecting me for a future venture but finally I ended up cutting off from her and her bae.


So! I don't know the lessons you can learn from this conversation but I learned one thing is the people who deserve respect they respect you to be what you are

Stay tuned for more real-life conversation to understand the red and green flags in freelance life.



Feel free to connect me for any queries and questions you have and any portrait, food, and product related photography and styling. I am presently based out of Mumbai, India and have a cross-functional company production still and video content for various marketing needs.


#foodphotographer #mumbaicommercialphotographer #femalephotograppher






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