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Amusing if it wasn't sad

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Nick Griffin
Amusing if it wasn't sad
on Sep 5, 2010 at 12:35:58 pm

While leafing through an inflight magazine I ran into a half page ad promoting "Serious Income… Fun Lifestyle!" It's a "unique home-based business" with "no experience necessary" and "high profit potential." Best of all it's a "turnkey business" with "low overhead" and a "proven marketing plan." Yes. It's a home-based video business, offered as a franchise package. So of course I had to check out their website.

Wow! It looks like for as little as $62,000 they'll give me a "territory" and, what looks from the screens like, Final Cut Studio, a Mac, monitors, decks and audio speakers. What a bargain! If this is their entry level package wonder what I get if I spend even more: a VHS deck or two? Good luck figuring any of this out as the only path to additional information given is their phone number. Bet there's no pressure there. And did I mention that their program includes "comprehensive training," along with "27 profit center" ideas like "video tape repair" and "home movie transfer 8mm & 16mm film."

The website also has a suggested reading list of 21 books, three of which seem like they might have something whatsoever to do with production. The other 18 are motivational and get rich books from Zig Ziglar, Earl Nightengale, Anthony Robbins and others.

So please forgive my dripping sarcasm, and in the interest of not slandering a company that appears to make money off the ignorance and naivete of people with "no experience," I'm not providing their name. Instead I just have to sigh and shake my head. Granted there are many franchise opportunities that are worth the investment and many people who want and need the structure of someone guiding them down the path to success, but I have to question who's making much money off this one beside the franchisor.


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Bob Zelin
Re: Amusing if it wasn't sad
on Sep 5, 2010 at 3:57:39 pm

are "schools" that teach kids Pro Tools so they can "work in the recording industry", while they charge them more than 50 grand a year any better ? Are they any better if they give them a piece of paper that says "graduate of Pro Tools training". I am not talking about a private training course for 2 grand (which would be worth it) - I am talking about a "degree" in recording technology, etc (fill in lighting technology, cameraman, editor, etc.). Maybe it's the difference between "total waste of money" and "scam".

Bob Zelin



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Nick Griffin
Re: Amusing if it wasn't sad
on Sep 5, 2010 at 4:38:16 pm

We are of one mind on this, Mr. Zelin. "Hey kids," goes the ad and subsequent selling job. "Why have a boring life when you can work in the exciting world of TV production ... Music recording ... Fashion design," etc. Nevermind for every 20 kids there may be half or fewer actual jobs at the other end of a $100k+ "education" and those that do exist pay entry level wages. Sure there are the few rare exceptions, but they are just that...rare.

Oh... and guess who's a huge investor in some of these education "businesses?" None other than Goldman Sachs.


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Mark Raudonis
Re: Amusing if it wasn't sad
on Sep 5, 2010 at 6:07:17 pm

Franchise scam... bad. Education... good!

I think Mr. Zelin may be a bit harsh on the "tech schools" and the kind of students they turn out. My personal experience with graduates from a famous institution in Mr. Zelin's backyard has been VERY POSITIVE! We have had good luck with more than a few of those graduates.

Is it too expensive? That depends on where you go with your career. If you're NOT focused, driven, and dedicated to succeeding in this business then you will fail. But... if you are, then in my opinion, self education is money well spent.



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Tim Wilson
Re: Amusing if it wasn't sad
on Sep 5, 2010 at 6:39:42 pm

[Mark Raudonis] "I think Mr. Zelin may be a bit harsh on the "tech schools" and the kind of students they turn out. My personal experience with graduates from a famous institution in Mr. Zelin's backyard has been VERY POSITIVE"

I was going to say the same thing. The advantage of these schools is that their programs are VERY job-oriented, complete with internships and placements. These programs are not the problem. Nor are focused programs like those at AFI, which are primarily graduate-level, and which require a significantly challenging application process. No wannabes getting in here.

The more interesting challenge is traditional liberal arts schools. I worked with a number of these in another job, and several of them were quite blunt: they built media programs and facilities to meet the demand of their prospective students. With so many students wanting this kind of education, schools haven't had the option of NOT meeting those demands.

Not that you can blame them. They have a product to sell. Their customers are telling them what they want. And it's not like there's any downward pricing pressure from these customers. If the money truck wants to back up to your door, you'll build a loading dock if you have to.

And not that they're the problem. I graduated from a traditional liberal arts school, with all of THREE WEEKS of production training, yet managed to make a fine living in the field, because of all the OTHER stuff I learned. (BTW, there are other folks here at the COW who graduated from the same school at the same time I did. One I can think of got a degree in anthropology, yet has been a very, very high-profile producer in his area for a very long time.)

So what's the problem? Kids who show up expecting something for nothing. Cheap software. Cheap cameras. Cheap computers.

Our inability to adapt.

Education...good!


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Nick Griffin
Re: Amusing if it wasn't sad
on Sep 5, 2010 at 6:46:59 pm

Mark-
Thanks for weighing in on this. However when is being "focused, driven, and dedicated to succeeding" not a factor in any business with any level of education? My bitch is with the fact that they lure in innocent children and their gullible parents with the idea that these for profit institutions are the equivalent of accredited, academic institutions. They're not and many learn this too late. Check out "What's This Degree Worth?" in the August 9-15 issue of BusinessWeek. Subtitle says it all: "Goldman Sachs made millions through its stake in EDMC, whose schools peddle arts degrees costing up to $100,000. Some dept-crippled students are crying foul."

Sure there are some exceptions -- rare as I said before -- but they are just that, the exceptions whose own innate talent was perhaps aided by these schools, but may just as easily have shown through if they worked at it on their own. Maybe they would go even further if they'd gone to a school which provided some modicum of history, philosophy, science and -- dare I say it -- college level English, ie.- reading and writing. Hell, I wonder where I'd be if I had devoted more time to creative writing classes and less to radio.

As to the home video franchise with which I started this thread, I'm not calling it a scam. They no doubt have people who have bought in and believe that they received a decent return for what they paid. But I will reiterate: $62,000 for an FCS set-up with training and a heavy dose of inspiration? To me, that's more sad than scam.


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Emre Tufekci S.O.A.
Re: Amusing if it wasn't sad
on Sep 5, 2010 at 7:35:23 pm

Well, with a few key phrases on google I was able to find their website.

He says in poorly recorded video: "Our company that started in our upstairs spare bedroom has turned into one of the most exiting and profitable companies in the world today".

How soon realistically can you start making a living with XXX?

The answer to this one is immediately. We have people who start to make money right from the beginning. We prepare you to do that. We empower you to get started immediately. This business has a very quick ramp up time.

What is the ramp up time?

The ramp up time is usually anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks from the date when you pay your final payment to us. We encourage owners to get going as soon as possible. If you need financing, that may affect your ramp up time as well.

Will this business be obsolete in the future?

No. Every time Sony, Panasonic, Apple or Microsoft comes out with a new format, we make more money because we help people change those formats. And we love to help them change these things.

How do you market this business and find customers?

That's a great question. That's why people come on board with XXX because like other franchises like McDonald's or Subway, that has the restaurant business figured out, we have the video business figured out. We know exactly how to get customers. How much to charge for our products and how to keep those customers coming back for more.

Getting customers, actually, is pretty darn easy. And that's what we're going to teach you. We really teach you how to make your phone ring.

What is the royalty for XXX?

We have a 7 percent royalty and a 2 % advertising/marketing fee that you pay monthly. Those are considered middle of the road rates in the franchise industry.

Emre Tufekci
http://www.productionpit.com



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Nick Griffin
Re: Amusing if it wasn't sad
on Sep 5, 2010 at 8:56:58 pm

[Emre Tufekci S.O.A.] "
He says in poorly recorded video..."


Yea, I noticed that, too. But I'm betting the people buying in don't even notice the room echo.



[Emre Tufekci S.O.A.] "We have a 7 percent royalty and a 2 % advertising/marketing fee that you pay monthly."

So basically this guy has become what he describes as a huge success in the video business by inventing a franchise for people who want to work at home with "no experience necessary."

And Thanx, Emre for not mentioning this company by name. None of us need the BS of getting hassled by this guys legal team. Of course they probably started their law firm as a franchise, too.


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Emre Tufekci S.O.A.
Re: Amusing if it wasn't sad
on Sep 6, 2010 at 4:08:50 am

So basically this guy has become what he describes as a huge success in the video business by inventing a franchise for people who want to work at home with "no experience necessary

Anybody want to get into medical billing or stuffing envelopes? If so I have a great opportunity waiting for you.

Emre Tufekci
http://www.productionpit.com



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Alan Lloyd
Re: Amusing if it wasn't sad
on Sep 5, 2010 at 11:04:49 pm

Without mentioning any names whatever, if this is the guy who spouts a near-endless stream of "success" cliches in a Twitter feed on LinkedIn, I think I have an idea of who it is.


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Bill Davis
Re: Amusing if it wasn't sad
on Sep 6, 2010 at 12:28:51 am

If these are the folks I'm thinking of, they've been around for a LONG time. They had large display ads in the back of most consumer video magazines back during the decade I was a contributing editor at Videomaker Magazine.

They also showed up at many of the trade shows where I was lecturing or teaching.

The "turnkey" franchise solution is typical of the breed. $50,000 to $75,000 to buy in (but that can grow up to $100,000k pretty quick if you buy all the "extras". That gets a hardware setup based on FCP and a Mac with pre-selected gear in areas like decks, a camcorder, audio mixer, etc. plus training materials and "marketing" help. While the gear is nothing special - it all technically works - so it's not a legal scam in any fashion - and who's to say it's "overpriced" in a world where the margins on something like Pentagon procurement or even non-sale RETAIL might be even higher on some of the stuff?

So the concept's been running more than a decade now.

To my way of thinking, there's nothing patently illegal about it, it's just trolling for people with more money than common sense who can be convinced that tools and a few lessons are all that's required to start a business as complex as video production.

I kinda think it's roughly equivalent to selling AND GIVING piano lessons over the telephone. Not impossible. Certainly not illegal. Just really, really stupid if you take the time to think about it for too long.

I think this is why Caviat Emptor remains in the human lexicon.

And why PT Barnum is so widely known.

FCP since NAB 1999
creator: muti-track movies
http://www.starteditingnow.com


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walter biscardi
Re: Amusing if it wasn't sad
on Sep 6, 2010 at 12:31:48 am

[Bill Davis] "And why PT Barnum is so widely known."

To quote the great salesman. "There is a sucker born every minute."

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

"Foul Water, Fiery Serpent" featuring Sigourney Weaver coming soon.

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Mads Nybo Jørgensen
Re: Amusing if it wasn't sad
on Sep 6, 2010 at 10:45:57 am

Hey Nick and All,

My next book is going to be called "How to make $1,000,000 through friends". I hope you'll all buy a copy. Chapter 13, the last one, is going be most interesting. It will be about how I got every single user on a forum website for video and film production to buy my book and thereby making me a million...

- my idea was good at conception.

You got to acknowledge that it is great way of getting middle class people recently out of work with a hobby in making videos to part with $60,000+. Nothing wrong in that - just not quite morally the right thing to do if you know the person will never make money on the venture. It is also correct that it doesn't substitute real education, but it will work for weddings, christenings, birthday parties and funeral videos - so good luck to them.

Until recently I was a member of a Business Network group and I locked out a visitor who wanted to promote something along the lines of "Filming your home content for insurance claims". The person in question had been on a two day course + purchased the package to film private home owners content. You have to hand it to them, it is faster to do a pan with a video camera than an individual still of each item...
So why did I not let these guys in to present at my network? Because I was afraid that their, somewhat very poor, Youtube videos would be mistaken for belonging to my company - as we all know, it is hard for the client to see the difference between two products when the other guy is offering a complete service for $60....

My 2 cents :-)

All the Best
Mads
London, UK

Please don't to visit our new faceBook page here: http://www.facebook.com/MacMillionProductions

Mac Million Ltd. - HD Production & Editing
Blog: http://macmillionltd.blogspot.com


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Mick Haensler
Re: Amusing if it wasn't sad
on Sep 8, 2010 at 9:15:03 pm

I'll be issuing an RMA to The Cow for the 5 minutes of my life it took to read this thread. Acknowledge....move on....

Mick Haensler
Higher Ground Media


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Richard Jacana
Re: Amusing if it wasn't sad
on Sep 17, 2010 at 4:25:53 am

Funny thing, I was thumbing through some old copies of videomaker magazine (2004) and came across similar ads, probably the same company. I had a good chuckle at the stack of VHS decks and clunky old computer editing system and I too was curious at their mention of "territories". Perhaps if I sign up they give me some far off line line Greenland or Lesotho!


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