Silver Lining and Me / The Story

For those who don’t know: I am a freelance videographer, I operate under my company, Up+Atom Inc, creating all kinds of videos for businesses. The following post recounts the events that happened between September 2009 and March 2010, hopefully serving as a warning to anyone who does business with Silver Lining Ltd as well as any of their customers.

The Background

In September 2009, Silver Lining Ltd asked for my video services; filming and editing their weekly podcast, filming and editing an instructional video for a board game for ZOE Alliance, and creating an informational video for a support services brokerage called InclusionINC. I agreed, sent off my estimates, and Silver Lining agreed to my estimates, and so I commenced the work.

I filmed all of their podcasts, edited them together, and posted them every week. I was given a script for the instructional video, which I filmed and edited together, and delivered. I was given a script for the informational video as well, and I just edited together a string of text and stock images, as per what the script called for. Neither of these scripts were written by me, whatsoever.

I sent my first invoice shortly after posting the first podcast, on October 1, 2009, which was paid rather quickly, all was well in the world.

I completed the ZOE Alliance video and the InclusionINC video mid-October 2009, delivered it to Silver Lining, and sent off my invoices (October 7, 2009 for ZOE Alliance and October 19 for InclusionINC). I was told that I would be paid soon, Silver Lining was just sorting out their accounts – fair enough, I should be paid before November ends.

The Problem Begins To Show

I kept doing their podcast for them, recording another run and continuing to post them weekly. I would send an invoice at the end of every month for all of the work that I would do for their podcast in that month, except at this point, I wasn’t being paid quickly.

I have a rather lengthy string of e-mails between myself and representatives of Silver Lining Ltd where they continue to tell me that I will be paid soon, and that I have nothing to worry about. These e-mails started in November, telling me that I would be paid by mid-November, and they continued all the way through to mid-January, telling me that I would be paid “soon.” Of course, soon never came and by the end of January, they were about three months late on a payment of $2,726.04, which is no small amount for a fledgling small business.

Relief?

In early February, I received an e-mail from the President and Founder of Silver Lining Ltd, informing me that they were finally going to pay me the amount that they owed me. Well, almost. They were going to pay me for all the podcast work I had done up to this point, as well as the ZOE Alliance video. But… what about InclusionINC?

Apparently, InclusionINC was not happy with my video, and was not paying them, and therefore Silver Lining Ltd wasn’t paying me.

Hold on, I said, that isn’t my concern. My contract was with Silver Lining Ltd, and not with InclusionINC, and I had completed my work 100% to spec. I had gone back and forth during the creation of the video to make sure it was up to the standards of the people I was doing correspondence with at Silver Lining Ltd. They gave me the green light after several revisions, and I had completed it. So why wasn’t I being paid?

When It Got Ugly

At this point, I was pretty steamed, so I was firing off plenty of e-mails to everyone whom I had come into contact with at Silver Lining, as well as Carissa to ensure she got the message. I explained to them what I had written above, that they still owed me money regardless of non-payment from InclusionINC. We never agreed to me being paid only if they got paid, I simply provided a service for them that I had completed successfully.

Carissa sent back another e-mail, which made me quite a bit more mad. In short, she essentially said that they made a mistake in acting as the middle man between InclusionINC and Up+Atom Inc, and it wasn’t their fault that I wasn’t being paid. To make it up to me, she offered me half of the invoice “out of Silver Lining Ltd’s own pockets.”

I agreed; I said sure, give me half of the amount due on the invoice immediately, followed by the rest of the amount plus interest accumulated by the end of the following week.

[EDIT: Just to clarify, I was offered half of the amount, and I agreed as long as I got the other half the very next week. I never received anything, not even a reply.]

Understandably, I received no response.

Around mid-February, I talked to a lawyer, who sent off a demand letter to Silver Lining giving them an ultimatum: pay Up+Atom Inc the full amount due by February 26, 2010, or face litigation.

Guess who didn’t receive a paycheque on February 26, 2010?

Conclusion

At this point, I’m in the process of filing a suit in small claims court for the amount I am owed, which is to the tune of $1,606.04 plus interest from February 2, 2010 onward. In addition, I have written this post to shed light on the type of business practices being committed by Silver Lining Ltd and Carissa Reiniger.

So please, I would love to hear any comments you may have on the situation. I am at my wit’s end, and there really isn’t much else I can do. I would like to thank every single person who has shown me support along the way; you know who you are, you’re all awesometastic. Even better, I would love for all of you to spread this story as much as you can, just to ensure other freelancers don’t run into the same type of problems that I did!

Cheers everyone.

Zoompass Tag: My Impression + Field Test

Usually on a Friday, I’d have a Featured Album Friday blog post up, but because I’m apparently hitting the books hard, I haven’t had a minute to really check out new songs – regularly scheduled posts will be back soon time, I promise.

Anyway, while in the middle of studying today, I received a registered letter that I had to sign for and everything, and lo and behold, it was a letter from Zoompass, informing me that I was lucky enough to be one of the first in Canada to experience the Zoompass Tag! I immediately applied my sticker to my iPhone, and ta daaaaa.

I make it rain with my phone.

I am not fond of what it does to my iPhone aesthetically – it creates a really big bump on the back of an otherwise smooth surface, and turns it into a walking advertisement for Zoompass and Mastercard. Aesthetics aside, the utility of the Zoompass Tag currently outweighs the way the phone looks, so I will have to let it slide.

Of course, being a huge dork, I wanted to try it out right away. Here was the real test: I was going to leave my wallet at home, and just get out there equipped with just my phone and my keys. My target of the day was the nearby Tim Horton’s.

I walked inside, waited for my turn and ordered a double double. The woman told me how much I owed – $1.58, and I told her that I was going to be trying out a fast pass that was attached to my phone, and I showed it to her. She smiled and mentioned that she had never seen that before, but I should just hold it in front of the fast pass hub.

Well... that was quick.

I wish I were joking here, but it literally took two seconds for the payment to go through, I was mightily impressed. With my large double double in hand and phone in the other, I thanked the cashier and was on my way.

Conclusion: Zoompass is shaking up mobile payments in a big way, and the Zoompass Tag evidence of just that. I’m getting VERY excited (or that may be the large double double I ordered) about the future in the mobile space, and I can’t wait to see what else is in store! Huge thank you to the people behind Zoompass for letting me try out the Zoompass Tag! :)

Have a great weekend everyone!

Cheering on the Villains

Preface: for years, I have been saying that when I watch a movie, I cheer on the villains. I mean it, I have always cheered for the villains and I expect most movies to end in the worst way possible. Unless a movie is a romance or a comedy, or a romantic comedy, I absolutely hate typical Hollywood happy endings. I’m just a ray of sunshine, right?

That brings us to tonight, because I just came back from watching Shutter Island. I will not spoil it for you, but let me tell you: it was depressing. There are no heroes or villains per se, but I got my terrible ending. Of course, I don’t mean terrible in the sense that it was bad, not at all. It was a very well executed movie and I loved every minute of it, but it was genuinely depressing.

So, am I happy that I finally got my depressing ending? Well, yes and no. Yes, because it feels amazing to finally see a not-so-happy ending done so well. And no, because obviously, it’s hard to be happy when you’ve seen something so depressing.

In conclusion, let me just say: Martin Scorsese, you are a genius. Your movie was somewhat predictable, but you pulled it off magnificently. Well done, you’ve managed to realize what I have always wanted from a movie.

Thank you for making me depressed.

Featured Album Fridays / Field Music – Measure (2010)

This week on Featured Album Fridays, the 2010 album from Field Music – Measure.

Here is the description of Field Music from their Last.FM:

Field Music is an experimental pop band from Sunderland, UK, formed by brothers Peter and David Brewis and their schoolfriend, pianist Andrew Moore. They have recently reconvened after an extended hiatus with a new line-up featuring guitarist/keyboardist Kev Dosdale and bass player Ian Black (Andrew having taken time out to train as a chef). A new double album is due to be released in February 2010.

The band’s first album, the eponymous “Field Music”, was released in 2005, followed in 2006 by a collection of b-sides and early tracks entitled ‘Write Your Own History’. During this time they toured with fellow bands from the North East England, such as Maximo Park and The Futureheads, as well as sonic adventurers from further afield, including Melbourne’s Architecture in Helsinki and Portland’s Menomena.

In 2007, they released ‘Tones of Town’, a critically acclaimed song cycle, which captured a particularly English variety of post-industrial frustration. However, sensing that a quick follow-up could lead to a dilution of ideas and purpose, the band announced a hiatus shortly after the album was released. In this time Peter and David each released solo albums as The Week That Was and School of Language respectively.

All of their albums were self-produced at their own ‘8Music’ studio in Sunderland.

As usual, the stream is below. Enjoy!

Featured Album Fridays / Holly Miranda – The Magician’s Private Library (2010)

This week on Featured Album Fridays, the 2010 album from Holly Miranda – The Magician’s Private Library.

Here is the description of Holly Miranda from her Last.FM:

Holly Miranda is a Detroit born musician, raised between Michigan and Tennessee. Besides being trained in piano, Holly is a self-taught guitar and trumpet player. In 2001, She recorded “High Above The City”, a 20-track solo album available only at shows. In the fall of 2003, Holly met and teamed up with Alex Lipsen, producer and keys player. The project evolved into The Jealous Girlfriends, a four piece band based in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. She also recorded and performed as Raven Mayhem.

Holly has recently released an EP and has a solo album coming out some time in 2009 . It was produced by TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek and Celebration’s Katrina Ford.

Very different from what I’m used to, but very chill music. The stream is below, hope you enjoy!

Featured Album Fridays / Built By Snow – Mega (2009)

This week on Featured Album Fridays, the 2009 album from Built By Snow – Mega.

Here is the description of Built By Snow from their Last.FM:

Catchy keyboard rock with an explosion of velcro melodies and magnetic pop hooks that hit your brain like an Atari blasting out of a bazooka.

Short and sweet! This album is very poppy and I love that, give it a listen with the stream below. Enjoy!

Soulful Sundays / Woodblue – North Letter (2007)

This week on Soulful Sundays, the 2007 album from Woodblue – North Letter.

Wonderful downtempo album, along the vein of the same kind of people I’ve been posting as of late – DJ Okawari, Nujabes, Michita, and the rest of them. Take a listen, and I’ll probably be posting North Source next week, which is the other half of this album. The stream is below, enjoy!