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The New Hollywood Workshop #17: Replicating: Delivery and other issues

By Eliot Hochberg (eliot@high-mountain.com), July 16, 2003

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So you’ve gotten your project approved, and it’s gone off to the replicator. The discs are done, the packages are assembled and shrink-wrapped, and the discs are ready to be sent. Where should they go, and what happens next?

My advice is to have the final product shipped to your office. If that doesn’t make sense because there are too many discs, have the overage or one box (usually around 30 discs) sent to you. This way, you can check over the final product before your client sees the work and reviews it themselves.

Be sure to check the shrink-wrapping, the insert, and how well the assembly was done. Open at least one package, and look at your insert if you have one. Check out the disc label. Put a disc in a player and see if it plays properly. Check the quality of the box used. If it is appropriate or allowed in your contract, have a few friends view the disc, to try it in different environments and make sure there isn’t anything that happened in replication that makes the disc act strangely.

If you do find any problems, contact the replicator immediately. See if you can determine where the problem arose in the process. If it happened in replication, and wasn’t caused by your source material, the replicator should offer to redo the project for free (they may ask for the completed but flawed discs to be returned). If the error is in printing, they can remove the covers and keep the discs. If the error is in the discs, they can remove the discs and keep the covers. Your client may want to use the discs anyway because of a deadline; and in this case, the replicator could try and charge you for reprinting the portions that are correct (and discounting for the portions that are not) should another batch be produced later. Talk with your client about how they want to handle that situation.

If it turns out that the error is due to something the client signed off on, but later decided was incorrect, or that they missed, you need to determine what you want to do. You are perfectly justified in telling them that they signed off on the project, and therefore are obligated to pay for a new run. If, however, it was an error you could have or should have caught, then you may find it better to offer to cover some or all of the cost (you will have to decide this on a case by case basis). My policy is to offer my client whatever the lowest cost is for the redo, and to convince the replicator to do the same. Usually, they will give you their wholesale price, which you can then pass on to the client. If you have marked up the project previously, then this will show that you and the replicator are trying to help the client out as much as possible, but it’s entirely up to you.

If, however, the error is yours, suck it up. This may seem obvious, but if you make a mistake the client shouldn’t have to pay for it. If your finances don’t allow for you to immediately pay for the replacement, see if your replicator will float you the fix. In a truly dire situation, if you can’t make other arrangements, be honest with your client, and ask them to pay for the fix, with the understanding that you will pay them back later. If they have the resources, they will surely rather get the project done than end up with unusable product because you can’t afford to make it right. Hopefully, though, there will be no major hassles because you were methodical at each step in the process. Typically, there are only minor issues at the end of a project, which usually can be resolved through discounts or other compensation.

The New Hollywood Workshop is dedicated to using Macintosh computers and software to do what the big boys do. Want an example? Check out Duality, a short made completely with Macintosh products.

Eliot Hochberg is a Web developer with over seven years’ experience. Apple’s new professional tools are just the ticket for a sole proprietor like Eliot to go to the next level. Right now, he’s seeking DVD duplication services that support DVD Studio Pro. If your company does, let us know. We’ll list you in future articles.

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