Saturday, September 27, 2008

An Introduction....

Have you been contacted by a TV production company that wishes to "feature" you in a segment they are producing for PBS? Does this testamonial sound familiar?....

"Thanks for the heads up! They contacted me regarding my mineral cosmetics company. Their angle was outrageous. They originally stroked my ego by saying they found my website & read what I wrote about healthy cosmetics & the dangerous ingredients in cosmetics & were interested in my appearing in a educational documentary series with Hugh Downs about the dangers in cosmetics & my healthy cosmetics. He told me they would like me to be a GUEST speaker for a DOCUMENTARY which was being hosted by Hugh Downs. He said it was a series THEY are producing for public education which would be broadcast on public television called The National Report. He completely had me convinced it was a public educational documentary & they were approaching me because of my "expertise" on cosmetic safety issues.He asked me questions as if he was interviewing me to see if his company actually would consider me as a viable candidate for this guest speaker position they were looking for. In the end he said that he was satisfied that I was exactly what they were looking for but that I must realize that this was NOT ADVERTISING. He stressed repeatedly that I would have to be OK with the fact that my company name would be mentioned however the "project" they are working on is not an infomercial or advertisement for my products in any way. He said it was merely a public service announcement telling people about how my company works to promote safety in cosmetics, not about our products specifically. I was fine with that.Then he lowered the boom with the price that I would pay for their production services. I thought, wait a minute, this is YOUR PROJECT, you invited ME to be a GUEST speaker. You must be joking!He slipped up by telling me that they market the series to public television station as well as overseas to Europe & others. He name dropped like crazy. He told me that a famous publisher of a book on cosmetic safety is overseeing the project, which I won't mention to keep her name out of this scandal. But the main point is, he told me it was a legitimate documentary project for public education that his company was producing. He stressed it was not anything about advertising my company or speaking about my products but only about giving educational information to the public about their health & safety when using cosmetics. Why should I pay their costs for filming THEIR project? I mean does Sesame Street tell the parents of the kids who will be appearing as guests on the show that they have to pay for the entire show to be produced just because their kid is going to get some exposure from it? Well that is how RIDICULOUS his proposition was. Furthermore, this thing about Hugh Downs hosting the series is another farce. They somehow employed Mr. Downs to film ONE intro clip & exit clip that is very non-specific & generic in his language. They simply paste the exact same intro & closing remarks onto your film, and everyone's films, with the pretense that it is some educational series. I was told that the documentary I would appear in may be shown on CNN between breaks on prime time shows with Lou Dobbs & Nancy Grace & others.......... When a LEGITIMATE production company who is shooting a documentary contacts someone they would like to make a GUEST appearance in their documentary, the legitimate company has already paid for their own production costs & are in the process of producing the show. The guest is never asked to pay to produce a show even if it is a biography on themselves. A guest is a guest not a client.You can see guest appearances everywhere. From your local news stations to prime time talk shows or even on public television. Those guests do not cover the costs of producing those shows. Not unless the show is their idea & they HIRE a production company to produce something for them, but then they are not a GUEST on their own show either. Every night on David Letterman guests appear. They certainly are not EVER asked to pay the show's production fees! Trust me they get plenty of global exposure for FREE! In fact, in a great many cases the guest is the one who is paid for their appearance & the exposure is merely a perk of appearing. Case in point... did Hugh Downs PAY ..... for the production fees for his intro & closing clips? NO WAY. Mr. Downs was PAID. ....... Sorry guys, but your story just doesn't wash. You would have had a much closer chance at getting me to buy your product if you would have been upfront & told me the real deal. If my marketing budget for my small little company did have 23k to throw away it may have been fun. But paying your production fees for a public service announcement that is YOUR PROJECT & you are going to sell the films to television stations & make a profit... no way! That's insane. I was contacted again to say that I must be confused & that they in no way market the films we pay them to produce. Wow, that's an about face from everything he originally told me to get me hooked. If I want a film clip for my website or educating my employees I'll shoot one myself! It's not like a video camera, a backdrop, some lighting & a couple of chairs is going to cost you 23k! Most of all, he repeated at least ten times that it IS NOT ADVERTISING and that I had to be ok with my part being simply to offer facts about cosmetic safety to the general public. So don't give me that bull about I should know that advertising costs money. Yeah I know that. I hang up on advertising sales calls that get past my assistant every day. This was just their way of avoiding my hanging up on them. It's called "bait & switch". They play on your ego, flatter you, & tell you they really NEED your expertise. You take the bait then they drop the bomb that you are supposed to pay them for needing you so badly...... This is clearly a very clever & elaborate con game. I'm so glad that I never commit to anything without researching it thoroughly. Thanks for this opportunity to share my experience so others don't fall for it. Really, if you are selling custom media marketing videos just say so. Telling me I can help you save the world from dangerous chemicals in cosmetics is really below the belt. Our company works to educate people not to use products with chemicals & nanoparticles so they won't get cancer & diseases from those products. Playing on that altruistic quality in my company to scam money from us is downright disgusting. "

There has been a great deal of media attention of late regarding TV production companies in and around Palm Beach and Broward Counties in Florida, in particular Boca Raton, Ft Lauderdale, Deerfield and Delray Beach. It has been suggested in some media outlets that some of these companies engage in misleading and fraudulent business practices. I thought it important to have a place on the web to consolidate the abundance of available information about these companies. I also felt there should be a forum for people who've done business with or been approached by them to recount their experiences. In addition, I will post links to pertinent articles and public records.
Initially, I will cut and paste testimonials from other websites to get the ball rolling and give those who've been solicited an example of what will transpire. I have no doubt that, with time, many will leave comments about their own experiences but until that time I want to give information seekers something to reference.
One of the accusations made by many business owners who've dealt with these companies is that they claim they are affiliated with organizations they are not, including PBS. They dispute this, saying that clients interpret public television to mean pbs. The misunderstanding is apparently common enough to warrant a mention in the FAQs section of PBS's website.

Q. Does PBS have any affiliation with programs produced by Vision Media Television (or VM Television)?

Q. I've been contacted by a TV producer who claims that he will feature my company in a national public television program in exchange for a fee. Is PBS aware of this?

A. A number of businesses have contacted PBS to ask us about our relationship with the producers of various television programs carrying titles such as Giving Back, Learning About, and The National Report Series. According to representatives of these businesses, the producers have offered to feature the representatives' businesses in a television program and indicated that the program will be made available on national public television. Based upon representations made to them by the producers, the businesses were led to believe that the producers were associated with PBS and that PBS intended to distribute or otherwise endorsed their programming. PBS wishes to clarify that it is not associated with and does not endorse, distribute programming for, review underwriting for or otherwise have any business relationship with the following production companies: VM Television, Vision Media Television, Paradigm Media Group, PMG, PMGTV, Infinity Media Group, Roadshow Productions, Family Television Studios, United Media Communications Group, American Review TV, Business Break TV, Event Media TV, or Global Television Studios. PBS does not oversee the production or distribution of any programs associated with any of these companies. If you are solicited by a production company that claims or implies an association with PBS, please notify PBS.

More to come....................

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