The Peasants Are Revolting!


…. storming the CBS Building…..

The printing press unleashed a revolution unforseen by Gutenberg.

The ‘people’ were suddenly in control of information.

And those who had until then complete power over information did not like this at all.

The Cheese and the Worms by the Italian historian Carlo Ginzburg gives us an analysis of the impact of literacy on Medieval Europe. Menocchio, a peasant has learned how to read on his own. He is the first in his small village to do so. And he immediately starts to ask unpleasant questions.

The Church does not like this at all, and charges him with heresy, and tries him. Remarkably the Vatican kept a careful written account of the trial. This is a true story. His only crime is asking questions; questions that were raised by the books that he had read. In the end, the Church condemns him to death and he is burned at the stake. One of his last statements at his trial was to say, ‘they don’t want you to know what they know’.

In 1751, Denis Diderot was about to publish his famous Encyclopedia, the first cumulative collection of human knowledge in history.

The decision to publish an encyclopedia was met with great anxiety in the French court of Louis XIV. What would happen, people wondered, when the vast expanse of human knowledge was made available to every peasant. The encyclopedia would teach them how to build mills and make paper. They would drop their hoes in droves. Who would work the land? Who would do the work? The aristocracy would collapse.

Jean D’Alembert wrote a fascinating response to this called Discourse on the Introduction to the Encyclopedia of Diderot.

But the critics were right. The peasants did indeed educate themselves and leave the land. They created a powerful mercantile class and by 1789 were busy overthrowing the aristocracy in Versailles, and cutting off a few heads in the process.

Now, the power of television, video and the web has been unleashed on the peasantry. Those idle beasts whose sole job was to sit quietly on their couches, eat cheetohs and watch passively are now taking up cameras and edits and starting to make their own content.

The aristocracy does not like this at all.

Note the comment by Nino below,

Five years ago you told very boldly that your VJs with your 3 weeks training will put us, dedicated veterans, with full production education and fully equipped with real broadcast gear will be history and put out of business by your VJs…..”

You see… the ‘dedicated veterans, with full producdtion education and fully equipped with real broadcast gear’… don’t like the idea that the peasants can now do what they do.

But they are only the tip of the iceberg.

The real ox that is going to get gored here are the networks and the studios.

Since the inception of the medium in 1939, networks and studios have had a monopoly on the production of television content. They decided what would be produced, what would be watched, what would be said. They decided what would constitute both public discourse and public entertainment in a world in which the average American spent 4.2 hours a day watching.

Now, the peasants are rising up. They are taking the power of television and video into their own hands, more and more making what they want to make.

And we are really just at the very beginning.

In France, the educated peasantry came to realize that they did not need the aristocracy at all; that they served no purpose, except to line their own pockets. That their power and position was a remanant of another era, now dead. In America, perhaps we will soon come to realize that we don’t really need CBS or NBC either. That we can create content ourselves, publish it ourselves, and the idea of paying someone $14 million a year to ‘read’ the ‘news’ to us for 22 minutes a night is as offensive as the jewels of Marie Antoniette was to another society in revolt.

Mon Dieu Katie. Aux armes!


42 responses to “The Peasants Are Revolting!

  1. I don’t think Nino expected that his website, which teaches video lighting, would see these very VJ’s take his experience and, in a sense, use it against him.

    I have poured over his site learning from his experiences in lighting people and have applied it to creating my own portable video lighting kit for VJ interviews.( Thanks Nino for all the great information 😉 )

    You’re so right, Michael – the more the dedicated veterans voice their discontent about the new VJ paradigm, the more we know we’re having a major impact. The thing is, they could do the same thing we are – but they choose to delude themselves by believing that this is all just a fad and that everyone will come back around to their way of doing things.

    Denial – it’s a river in Egypt.

  2. “The aristocracy does not like this at all.
    Note the comment by Nino below,
    “Five years ago you told very boldly that your VJs with your 3 weeks training will put us, dedicated veterans, with full production education and fully equipped with real broadcast gear will be history and put out of business by your VJs…..”
    Michael, no wonder that the pheasants revolted, their leader lied and deceived them. Let’s try my full sentence before you took it out of context by showing only what’s convenient to you.

    “Five years ago you told very boldly that your VJs with your 3 weeks training will put us, dedicated veterans, with full production education and fully equipped with real broadcast gear will be history and put out of business by your VJs, not in news, not in cable programs but just out. It was your way or the highway. Five years went by and we are still here doing better than ever. What would have happen if we were to believe in you back then? Five years later, your VJ system is no longer an infant and for the benefit of young people who believe in you I strongly feel that you should reveal what the financial potential is and how many out of the thousand that you have trained are able to support a family”.

    Sounds a little different, doesn’t it? Why don’t you just answer my questions? Don’t go back 300 years and tell us what others in history did, just stick to the last five years and tell us how you VJs are doing financially. My predictions five years ago to you were that they’ll get nowhere financially and yours were that I (or those like me) was going to be put out of business by your VJs. I’m still here doing very well, and I don’t need to quote history books to prove it; I’m still waiting for you.

    My question to you again Michael still remains. After five year can you show what percentage of VJs are making a comfortable living and are able to support a family from their VJ training. Out of thousands that you’ve trained you must by now have some strong statistical information. And can you try to do it without quoting any history books? I’m sure that aspiring VJs would rather look at the future than the past, Can’t buy grocery with history.

    You see… the ‘dedicated veterans, with full producdtion education and fully equipped with real broadcast gear’… don’t like the idea that the peasants can now do what they do.

    So they can do what I do you say? Let me put it in a language that you can understand Michael.
    My daily rate with my basic gear package is $1100.00. Additional gears like HMI lights are extra. My average soundtech gets $350.00 a day that makes my daily crew rate $1450.00 per day. Last year I worked over 200 days and I turned down or gave away to my colleagues because of booking conflicts almost twice as many days. You do the math Michael. I’m honest and I tell you everything that there is to know. I wish you would do the same with your VJs. Everyone that spoke on you behalf have high hopes for the future, five years Michael, the future is here now, how are they doing?

  3. Dear Nino
    We have now reprinted your quote in full about three times. I think everyone gets it.
    What percentage of the VJs I have trained have gone on to make a living doing this? That is a hard question for me to answer, as I have probably trained more than 7 or 8 thousand by now. A great many of them were employed as VJs at TV stations – BBC, Hesse Rundfunk, TV4, and so on. I would assume they are all still employed there, and so earning a living. For those who picked up the skill on their own, I know many who are now producing some of the top shows on cable. I don’t feel at liberty to reveal what they make (as a matter of fact, I don’t even know); nor in fact do I feel comfortable revealing their names. If they want to ’step up’, that is fine.
    As for your posted rate, this I find the most interesting bit of information. As I said, you will still have a niche in an ever expanding market. What you have also done is to price yourself out of the biggest growth markets: cable and internet video. Let us extrapolate for a moment from your prices:
    You are, (I would assume) a shooter. Your day rate is $1100 plus light kit. You also bring a sound tech at $350 which takes us to $1450 a day, before we even get started. You are going to need a producer, I would assume. You are going to need a writer, I would assume. You are going to need an editor, I would assume. You are probably going to also need an edit system. (this you don’t include in your gear). You’re probably going to need a van, a PA, and all kinds of editorial support. All of this adds up. The way you work is very very expensive.
    That does not mean you don’t deliver a good product. Perhaps even a great product. Let’s take that as a given.
    But if we are talking about a cable half hour, which now goes out for, let us say, $30-$40k per half, and if you shoot 4 days just to create the content for that 22 minutes, then you alone, and your sound tech, have consumed $5800 just to produce the raw video. Now it has to be screened. I need a producer (you are gone by now), an editor. a machine. Plus there is your travel (the odds are this did not take place in your home town), travel for your sound tech, per diems, hotels. By the time I have a finished product I am already broke if I use you.
    And that does not even begin to scratch the surface of the video online world, which pays even less.
    You have priced yourself out of the market, because while you may deliver one thing very well, you are only delivering a very small piece of the final product.
    Now, if I hire Francisco Aliwalas, (to name one of my very best VJs) – he shoots, he edits, he writes, he directs, he tracks in the sound – he does everything, just about, to make that same 22 minutes. And it looks very very good. Very good.
    Given the choice, why would I hire you?
    Perhaps you personally have not felt the competition yet… but you will. It is inevitable.
    This is not about your skills or the quality of what you can produce. This is about the realities of the market. How are ‘my people’ doing? The ones I work with are doing very well. There’s a big growth market for them if they can deliver quality.
    Incidentally, I got an email from Andytee, who wrote to you. Here’s what she said”
    p>“Hi Michael
    I am the “guy” who wrote to Nino – while he thought he could patronize me he was quite polite. But as soon as he realized that I had a mind of my own he accuses me of lying. Why do you patronize that forum? It is poisonous and your presence there is giving it a prominence that it really doesn’t deserve.

    You should be careful Nino when dealing with the peasants Nino. Remember what happened in France!

  4. Ask Francisco which rate he would rather make.

  5. You’ll have to as Francisco, who is in Brazil shooting for me at the moment. However, he is a free agent. He goes where he wants. At Nino’s rate, however, it is a moot point. For my money, he is too expensive and does not deliver enough for what he charges.

  6. “Dear Nino
    We have now reprinted your quote in full about three times. I think everyone gets it.”

    Except you of course.

    Michael, don’t try to convince me that you system is economically better; I’ve heard the same argument from you for five years now. I have no control over that. I go along with whatever my clients want me to do, you have to convince them not me, but so far you haven’t been able to do that, they just didn’t buy it. Against your predictions, the demands for my services are on the increase to the point that I can not handle the volume of work, while the demand for your type of work is non existent among broadcaster. I go where the money is.

    My biggest client is ESPN. Do you seriously think that ESPN on a show that will generate millions of dollars in revenue would jeopardize the success and potential earning of that show by hiring inexperienced, unskilled and uneducated crews so they can save $50,000? Get on with reality man, this is not a joke or a backroom business, this is real business and until there’s a demand for skills, properly educated people will always be busy and making money. The point that I’m making is that you are giving your VJs false hopes of potential future successes and when the question comes up you dance around your answer.

    If we have to, all of us professional can do what you preach with one eye close and one hand tied behind our backs back, but can your VJs do the type of work that clients are willing to pay ten times more to get it done right? As I said before, I was doing your type of stuff when I wanted to when you were still chasing cheerleaders; you just took something that was already there for years and try to take credit as if it was your great and revolutionary idea.

    Michael, I’m showing real everyday examples, not quoting history books to make myself look important. Results Michael, you can see mine every day on ESPN or on my web sites. And so is thousands of other like myself. Let you VJs come forward and speak up, not from your mouth but from their.

    I asked you this before. B-roll has over 4000 members, all of them cameramen. In five year that this discussion has been taking place not one single one has come forward to back you up, not a single one in five years, you don’t make many friends even among your own people.

    And now let’s continue about Andrea and her e-mails considering that you brought it up

    And BTW, she also told me that she received several offensive e-mails from B-roll readers. After I asked to send me copies so I can investigate who sent those she backed off by telling me that probably they didn’t come from B-roll readers.

    And the beat goes on.

    This was her first reply to me.

    “Hi Nino

    None of the VJs I know ever expected to be paid as well a network photographer straight out of school. A couple have gone to work for TV and are getting paid more or less the same as all the entry level pa’s etc. Both of them said the VJ training definitely helped them get the jobs. The rest of us that have full time work all work for newspapers and again the training helped us get in the door, but it didn’t boost our salaries that much initially. But from waht I have seen there is a much wider range of salaries for journalists than there is for network shooters. It seems a lot of network guys get paid more or less off a rate card. In newspapers some top columnists get paid like TV anchors.

    Down the line I certainly expect to be making big bucks if I am a successful reporter, and can produce stories that people want to watch. But the difference between the high fliers and the stragglers in my newsroom has got much more to do with investigative reporting and storytelling than camera skills. We use pd150s and yes I think 3 weeks of training with the camera can take someone with a good eye a long way. But personally, and I think this goes for many of my contemporaries, I am not interested in shooting sports or speeches, I want to produce features and cover breaking news, and being a VJ I think will give me some opportunity for that. I know it wouldn’t suit a lot of the network shooters I see around, but a lot of them are drawing close to retirement and I honestly don’t think they will be replaced. The world is changing fast, just last week Bill gates says print news and TV networks will be gone within 5 years. He may be wrong but I don’t think he is deliberately trying to fool anyone.

    Hope this helps


    This was my reply to her:


    Should you need any help I’m sure you know about my other web site is there to help people in this business and it’s free. The site will also soon have a news page about this industry.

    I have one question from you.

    You said in you reply.
    “Down the line I certainly expect to be making big bucks if I am a successful reporter”

    Usually we base our expectations on factual events and not just high hopes. Usually such expectations come from something or somebody that we know or we know of, or from something that we were told. What gives you such high expectation?

    I’m also looking to interview a VJ that is actually making big bucks.

    Thanks for your help.


    Not very venomous isn’t it Michael?

    And do you know what her reply was?

    “NONE”, another unanswered VJ question

  7. You know, Mike, you should be very careful about the peasant analogies. If you look less superficially at Medieval history you will see that many peasant revolts were basically created by the Catholic Church using the peasantry as a tool to protect their own power and wealth. In many cases, the aristocracy was prepared to give peasants MORE rights and freedoms. However, after being manipulated by the Church, after being told that what the wealthy really wanted was a godless society, countless peasants actually died fighting AGAINST their own self-interests.

    VJs and spiring VJs, use your critical minds. The traditional television photographer with the large camera is not your enemy. Nor are they part of the establishment that you see yourself struggling against. Poster Cliff Etzel writes above that he has found Nino’s ( site useful — and free. And it is both because Nino has a wealth of knowledge that he is willing to share with anyone with ambition enough to learn. In fact, most of the traditional freelancers whom I know would gladly field a phone call from a VJ and offer advice on any aspect of this kind of work. People who would help you are not those whom you would rail and struggle against. Instead they are experienced, would-be mentors.

    Michael Rosenblum has created an “us versus them” mentality to ratchet up the urgency of the VJ construct. For years he has visited us at in an effort to receive feedback, to argue, to promote and to joust. The television photographers at range the gamut, from a one-man-band in one of the smallest TV markets, to national level network freelancers for shows such as 60 Minutes and 20/20.

    The photographers in the small markets are much more concerned with competition from VJs because, for whatever the reasons, they see VJs as a direct threat to them. Michael and his company are working up from the bottom, marketing financially challenged television stations and offering the VJ system as a cure to their economic woes. Whether or not VJs are a solution to those issues, I have no idea. And whether VJs will fix money flow problems or not is something for the market to decide. In the end, it is the market that will decide.

    Michael, however, has a bigger problem. He wants to promote the VJ idea to young people and create a different set of tensions that aren’t based on financial viability. Michael wants would-be VJs to embrace the radical nature of the concept by pitting you against traditional media. He knows, because he grew up (as I did) in the 1960s, that one of the most powerful motivations for youth is to see themselves as the antithesis — even the antidote — to those in power. Nino, and I, and freelancers like us, have very little power. We are workers, not aristocrats, who serve traditional media. Moreover, we are probably a lot more like you than most of you would care to admit. Roll back the clock twenty-five years, and many of us would be struggling alongside you, hoping to find a way to contribute to the worldwide storytelling process.

    Michael’s struggle isn’t really with us. But, in order to keep doors open, because the internet is such a powerful, penetrating comminucations tool, television photographers (big and small) make more benign opponents than those decision makers who hold sway over the future of the television/video medium. Let’s be honest, even if there was anarchy in the visual storytelling news medium and even if VJs were able to fill the void for a time, in the end, because corporations are so powerful, the breakdown would only last long enough for venture capitalists to take advantage of it. In the end, money, and the drive for order and regulation will win out and the VJ (if it prevails) will become absorbed by the establishment. So, if only for the sake of THIS argument, traditional television photographers are mere fodder for Michael’s bigger fight. He’s tooling up, creating an army, and he’s using to scrimmage.

    VJs, if you got to know us, you would like many of us. No one understands better than we how much you love your craft, how ambitious you are, how much satisfaction there is in standing back and watching the fruits of your labors. Many of us are approaching our 50s and we are as vital today as we were when we would have worked for free for love of photography. My motivation for becoming a photographer were several pictures I took as a senior in high school. For the first time, hard as I tried, I could not deny the beauty and talent contained in those black and white prints. Photography was a conduit, for me anyway, to some semblance of self-love and self-respect. It was never about the money. But, as you grow older, money DOES become important because you build your life, your family, your home around it. You make compromises that might seem like selling out when compared to the unfettered ambitious idealism of your youth. But that’s life. That’s how you have a family. And how you educate your family so that your children might be idealists as you once were.

    They may even grow up to be aspiring VJs.

    That’s the continuum that time, and the efforts of our work, creates. We are not your antagonists. Nor are we your competitors. Do not allow your ambitions to be manipulated. Think it through.

  8. Nicely put Tom,
    And I would urge any aspiring VJs to get in touch with you and to join up with b-roll. They are, after all, the future. All of us have a passion for visual images and storytelling, and my guess is that if you were in your early 20s now, you would probably be in the VJ ranks as well.

  9. Cliff, thanks for the kind word about Stay tuned because what you’ve seen is only the surface. I really don’t know who the viewers are, in only four months since the site was launched they have surpassed the two millions mark. I know that in the last few days I’ve been getting a large number from this site. Actually that’s how I found out that this site existed and that my name was there.

    Now to answer some of your questions. Do you seriously think that if I was worry about competition I would put out my knowledge out there for free? If the competition gets too close to me I don’t blame them, I blame me for letting them catch up to me, but that will never happen, trust me. I only know about VJs because it has been filling topics on B-roll. I’m out there with my crews nearly everyday doing feature stories and covering events around the corner and around the world, and often covering events along 100 other crews, I have yet to see a VJ, that why I always wonder, where are all these people, they sure are not where I am.

    I’m not at all against VJs, I’m against Michael giving false hopes of a successful future without showing any factual proof.

    Tell me, why should I do what you do? Should I forget what I know and pretend that I have very few skills when I go to on a shoot? Should I lower my revenue considerably so I can join the VJ revolution? Once that I’m finish with my shoot-day, should I have to go back to my room and instead of relaxing start editing? And most important, I don’t have to go look for work or features to create for the web or news or cable in order to make a living, clients call me. The quality of my work is a direct result of my years of dedication to quality work and over 8 years of formal education. My work is my salesman not my mouth, I haven’t made a sale call or look for work in 30 years. Trust me Cliff, this is not denial.

  10. might be a good time to consider a 300 word limit to comments… this is the web, y’all.

  11. nino – supposing I was Bill Holshevnikoff. Couldn’t I turn a lot of the arguments you use against Michael, against you? Aren’t you just spoiling the field for people who want to make a living out of selling the advice and info you are giving away for free?

    ! – 3000 words????? how bout 50.

  12. You make a valid point Nino. As one who has been on both sides of the fence, I have seen what happens to those who entrench themselves into thinking the old ways of doing things as the only way.

    I was one of those photojournalists who decided an auto exposure camera was a useful tool when I shot my assignments – the amount of crap I received for shooting an “Amateur” camera was soon gone when the end product went to press on a regular basis.

    The old guard of high cost equipment and day rates will pretty much go by the wayside. I have already seen that in how many of my commercial photographer colleagues having closed their doors. They chose not to adapt and they perished.

    There will always be a niche for this type of work, but it will be much less utilized when talented VJ’s take what are considered “Lesser tools” and begin to utilize their talents that make their end product look expensive. If we as content creators choose to utilize this paradigm of Solo VJ and know what we are doing, we can command a rate that will be less than what you charge, but more than a typical hack would charge. So we, in a sense, fall in the middle of the realm of experience. And who is to say the end product will be of lesser quality?

    I learned alot from past mentors such as John Falk, Dean Collins and others who taught how to make more with less with regards to still lighting. I think my favorite tutorial on your site is the Quick Interview Lighting article. In reality, if done correctly, it is really much more than just a down and dirty technique for it provides clean lighting with equipment that is easily acquired for someone like myself.

    I meant no disrespect in my previous posting, but I do feel that many who are coming into the VJ profession feel slighted by those who are of the old guard of ENG – and a scarcity mentality has ensued – which in turn forces many to have to look elsewhere to find answer to the questions they have. If solo VJ’s bring additional skills to a project – thus removing added expence, as Michael has pointed out, we become greater in value to the client who in turn, meets their bottom line. And we obtain more work for having been a Jack of all trades, master of all.

    Michael is only human, just as all of us are – but his insights are very forward thinking. None of us is perfect, but it’s usually the out of the box thinkers who make the waves, are attacked, and in the end, typically are right.

    I already have projects in the works because of Michael’s mentorship. Along with your websites excellent articles, I already find myself further along in my skill set and creative vision than I would have thought.

    To conclude, I understand your position regarding whether you should or should not join the VJ revolution. It’s a gamble – but if you look back at when you first started, wasn’t it a gamble as well? And look at the success you made for yourself because of that gamble 🙂

  13. Pingback: » The Peasants ARE Revolting! bluprojekt/Cliff Etzel - Video Journalist

  14. Now, if I hire Francisco Aliwalas, (to name one of my very best VJs) – he shoots, he edits, he writes, he directs, he tracks in the sound – he does everything, just about, to make that same 22 minutes. And it looks very very good. Very good.

    Wow Michael, this guy must be a genius. He can write, shoot, edit, direct and do voiceover all at the same time. He can actually put 30 hours worth of work in an eight hour day. You sure get you money worth out of him. I hire him too.

  15. Be my guest nino. Google him. I am sure you could learn something from working with him.

  16. First, let me admit that I am a laser engineer, and do not rely on media to feed my family. I’ve become very interested in this as a creative outlet and have very much enjoyed reading the sites linked here, and I also devoured Nino’s site. I found this place because my wife is currently working an 8 week contract for Rosenblumtv and the Travel Channel (the pay is actually pretty good, by the way). Now I just have to convince Rosenblumtv and the Travel Channel that they need a “Big family goes to…” show. 🙂

    A cameraman is responsible for capturing his assigned subject properly, then the process is handed off. They are experts at camera movement, lighting, everything about putting light rays onto tape.

    But a VJ is a totally different thing and comparing the two directly doesn’t make sense. VJ’s are probably mostly inspired by passion to tell their story and not by money. The ones who create compelling content prolifically will make a good living, and will probably also not have to go looking for jobs. Probably very many will do it for a while and move on – but that’s true in any industry. I watched 120 trained “wannabe” actors at the 5 Takes New York auditions. Only 2 were chosen. Such is life. Everyone gets a fair shot, and the ones that are good will make it. Can you say to the drama school that they gave their students false hope? VJ students know what they’re getting into.

    Properly speaking, the VJ should be compared to the cameraman, sound guy, editor, and producer (and in some cases, storyboard and script writers).

    Often VJ’s must handle everything from idea to travel plans, permits, finding interviews, scripting, shooting and then final edit – all maybe from a hotel room. Being a VJ requires more than a laptop and a Sony. It requires vision, persistence, quick thinking, a clear voice, a mug for TV (they’re in front of the camera too), and being articulate enough to ask the right questions and come up with a compelling story. I doubt that there will be enough of them to meet the coming demand.

    If I own a media outlet I look at the balance sheet. A production crew will get me my 22 minutes for so much, and a VJ can do a *similar* thing for much less. I’ll then decide how much any difference in quality will affect my revenue. Maybe the crew stuff is prettier, maybe the VJ stuff is more interesting. Whether web, broadcast, or cable, I care about the profitability of my station(s) or sites.

    Web outlets will almost always turn to the TJ model, because attention spans are short, and users want what they want *right now* or they click away. Almost anyone, from grandma to the postman will start taking to the new media if it is cheap enough, has enough content, and meets their needs (think google, cell ring tones, cell phones themselves, iPods, Netflix, TiVo – all have been very successful and are now fixtures in our lives).

    Anyway, the combining of media into a single fiber into your house will create new options, and VJ’s are the ones most readily able to fill the needs. They don’t have to wait for a writer or producer to come up with a story; they just go make it.

    I’ll let others cover the history part, though it still makes for good *analogies*.

  17. 3000?



    do ! have to spell them all correctly too?

    if so, !’m out.

  18. Nice response Jim. I posted something similar on my blog about this very issue. We’re more than just one part of the equation. We try to be as many arts as we can. We have the ability to adapt more quickly to story ideas. We can plan, we can shoot, we can narrate, we can edit. That is the premise of this Solo VJ paradigm.

    I have done a fair amount of research. I have refined my equipment, my editing platform, taken what I have learned over 30 years of visual content creation – applied what is important and removed what isn’t.

    Nino’s work is Professional to say the least – I would never assume to be at his level of expertise – but there are things we as solo Vj’s can accomplish that a crew cannot.

    Will it be as slick and polished as a multi person crew? More than likely it won’t. The kind of work we VJ’s produce is more honest from my POV – it has a sense of realism that is missing from alot of video work today.

    But… We also need to know when to not over sell and under deliver what we are capable of doing in our work.

    There is virtually no information on the business side of being an Indie VJ and that I think is something that needs to be addressed for this Solo VJ Paradigm

  19. pwyll0529 // May 29th 2007 at 4:10 pm
    nino – supposing I was Bill Holshevnikoff. Couldn’t I turn a lot of the arguments you use against Michael, against you? Aren’t you just spoiling the field for people who want to make a living out of selling the advice and info you are giving away for free?
    Not that I can understand the comparison, but I guess it all depends on what level of selfishness you slate yourself in. You could use the same argument with the internships program that I have with local high schools and colleges, I teach these kids for nothing, should I start charging them? I also give lectures to many of these educational institutions, also for nothing. Depriving two million hits on my web site in only four months just to favor one individual would be kind of selfish of me, don’t you think? I’m here to promote professionalism at its highest level and for year I have shared my knowledge with no string attached and at no charge.

    BTW. I met Bill at NAB in Las Vegas and we had a very pleasant talk. He was promoting one of his products at the Chimera booth and I gave him some free coverage. You can see him on my web site under NAB 2007 – Chimera.

  20. I did not think for one minute that BH would complain about your website.

    I did however think that your problem with Michael was based on the fact that you feel he is threatening your income.

    I understand those concerns and they seem totally reasonable to me. But it seems you are driven by nobler motives and I apologize for not realizing that.

    All the best


    PS pwyll0529 is my wp admin name.

  21. [quote=”Nino Said”]Wow Michael, this guy must be a genius. He can write, shoot, edit, direct and do voiceover all at the same time. He can actually put 30 hours worth of work in an eight hour day. You sure get you money worth out of him. I hire him too.[/quote]

    I’m not sure why the condescending statement, Nino.

    If the project is planned out well enough, and provisions are made for a deadline that is reasonable, why can’t someone actually do all these things? I myself am capable of writing, shooting, editing and doing voiceovers as well and it really is about efficiency. If a system is devised to implement each aspect of being self contained, one should be able to accomplish this in a project – depending on complexity. That is the issue from my POV.

    I don’t see the Solo VJ paradigm being utilized for large Discovery Channel projects, although I bet it could be done given the right project and equipment. The mere fact that Michael is pushing the envelope is worthwhile enough. He chooses to tread where no one else dares. Whether he is successful or not is moot – the very fact that he has a vision and is willing to pursue it is good enough for me. If it fails, and I fail along with it – whose choice was it to pursue it? Mine. No one is forcing me to go down this path – just as anyone else who is going down this Solo VJ path is CHOOSING to. Do your own research, ask questions, then make a decision based upon that information. That is life.

    From the postings I read on b-roll’s forums, the very notion of what he is doing has brought out some real ugliness in those who posted in that thread.

    The condescending remarks were a real turn off and TBH, unprofessional.

  22. ! can tell you one thing, nino didn’t make “$1100” today, he spent it posting here.

    rosenblum, you are a genius! you got $1100 worth of work out of a pro for FREE.

  23. “I did however think that your problem with Michael was based on the fact that you feel he is threatening your income”.

    Peter I make a deal with you and with Michael, the day that you or any VJ take one of my clients away from me I’ll buy you the best dinner in town. Fair enough?

    Jim wrote”
    “Often VJ’s must handle everything from idea to travel plans, permits, finding interviews, scripting, shooting and then final edit”

    Jim, what makes you think that we can not do that, take a look at my resume please It hasn’t been updated in years, because I don’t need to. Let me ask you a question, you are an engineer right? What do you make, $40/60 an hour, maybe more? You walk on the floor, create trash and use the bathroom at work right? Do you also clean all this before you go home? Probably not, your company most likely uses a $6 per hour employee to do that. You are just too valuable to do these chores.

    On productions I’m at the top of the food chain, most good cameramen get paid twice as much as an editor, more than the producer and definitely more than the writer. So why would a client pay me to do chores when others can do it much cheaply. I would definitely not lower my rates if I’m asked to do editing and after 10 hours portal to portal my OT kicks in. In business it’s called delegating and the same goes with productions.
    I can also tell you this, while I’m shooting the editor can edit and the writer can write,
    We can get actually do 3 times as much work done in the same period of time as a Vj does. Isn’t that great? I’m sure that the editor can edit better that he can shoot or write, and the writer can do a much better job writing than editing or shooting and definitely I’m a considerably better in shooting than in editing or writing. I think you get the picture. You know what they say “Jack of all trades…….
    Now, if you do it for training then it’s a very good exercise, but by being a Jack of all trades you will never be able to make money for yourself or you clients unless you work very cheap.

    Jim, I asked Michael several times but he never gave me an answer, let’s see if you will. How much are those VJ making on the “5 take” series and how many hours each day or how many each week do they work. You told us that she gets paid well, compared to what. I know that Michael is getting paid $250,000 per episode, or at least that’s what he told us, I just would like to know how the distribution on wealth works on these productions.

    • ! // May 30th 2007 at 12:57 am
    ! can tell you one thing, nino didn’t make “$1100″ today, he spent it posting here.
    rosenblum, you are a genius! you got $1100 worth of work out of a pro for FREE.
    Actually my van and my equipment were working today and they will for the rest of the week. Nothing like staying home by the pool and still make good money.

  24. As take 5 keeps coming up lets look at a similar but much nicer shot type of show.

    “The $20 Challenge – Overseas Success!
    Our most recent success has been The $20 Challenge – winner of the “Best Entertainment Show” here in New Zealand. After scoring exceptional ratings in the local market, the format was subsequently seized by Australia, and is now in production around the world. Developed by Amanda Evans, an executive producer with Pacific Crews, this format follows the fortunes of four young people as they struggle to survive in a mystery foreign city with just $20 U.S. to last them three days! It’s a recipe for fun, drama, exotic locations and high ratings wherever it’s produced.
    The $20 Challenge is distributed by Fremantlemedia. For more information on purchase of this format contact Fremantlemedia.”
    Shot with 5 full sized cameras 5 real camera crews it looks fantastic and was less to make than $250,000 per episode.
    There is nothing a VJ can do that a real camera crew can’t to better, faster and more cost effectively. The VJ model is just lazy TV, a way to keep cameras out in the field for less money in the hope that if they shoot enough stuff maybe they have a show.

  25. So far the only reference I can find to this is on the Pacifc Crews site. (Is this you?) However, I am very curious to see the show – particularly as you say they are selling the format??? Can you send me more information please.

  26. Let me end my involvement on this site with a simple question. How many of you that have replied or made comments here, especially those avid Michael supporters, are currently full time VJs. Are currently able to support a family directly from VJ revenue, buy a home, pay for your kids college education and all the other good things that come from having a good job or from being a fully educated and skilled cameraman D/P. Don’t forget that by now you were supposed to have replaced those like me, according to Michael predictions I should be out of business right now, well, I’m still here doing better than ever. My argument five years ago with Michael was and still is that without a broad knowledge of this profession you will go nowhere and so far in five years VJs got nowhere. Don’t forget that well trained cameramen can step down and do what you do in a heartbeat; most of us have all the equipment already, small cameras and Apple notebooks. But you are stuck where you are, without proper training you can’t get out. Michael told me that I’m wrong. I’ve been asking to produce proof of successes and he has not produced any but found excuses and quoted history instead, but he keeps saying that it will happen, same as he was saying five years ago. Five years guys, people become doctors in less time. I hope you realize that I’m trying to help you. The reason that he has so much hard time on B-roll is because he was under the impression that we were a bunch of inexperienced fools; most of us have been around much longer that he has been in this industry. B-roll is a community that helps each other resolve problems and with suggestion on how to better our profession, we all contribute.
    So in conclusion it was nice talking to you gang, if you need any help, real help not promises and dreams, you know where to find me.

  27. nino – just to be clear I am not a full-time videojournalist. I am a video producer and have supported myself and my family that way for over 8 years. I have a professional background in photography and journalism, and attended film school back in the days when we shot on film. Over the past couple of years I have been getting an increasing number of “journalistic” type gigs, and I welcome the chance to get a crack at your clients. So if you could pass my info along:

    I shoot primarily with a canon XLH1 or a Sony DSR570. Lectrosonics wireless units, Vinten Vision 6, sennheiser 416 with boom. I have a full arri/kino/chimera light kit.

    We are fully licensed and insured and have been in business in Colorado since 1986.

    I look forward to meeting for dinner

    Thanks again

  28. i get tired of matching wallets online.

    good luck finding a hatmaker, nino.

  29. I am a full time VJ. I don’t have to worry about supporting my family since my children are grown and I’m single. I don’t own a home (no desire to at this time), I am at the equivalent right now of being an intern so to speak (remember what that was like – just starting out???), I’m self educated (means I’m informed and continue to be informed), which from what I have seen, goes against the position of getting a piece of paper saying you’ve spent a lot of money to learn something. I prefer to be self educated, learn as I go, and get a real world perspective on what works and what doesn’t – it served me well as an award winning photojournalist and I’m sure will serve me well as a Solo VJ.

    Also remember – this Solo VJ paradigm is still very much in it’s infancy – there is little quantifiable data at the present time to answer your questions on this topic.

    The Solo VJ paradigm is going to areas that have yet to be fully explored. I’m not one to say that all solo VJ’s have talent (I’ve seen more than my fair share of mediocre quality content) but I have also seen so called professionals who are just as inept in their so called craft.

    I’m confident I can do a fair amount of the kind of work you do – and can do it solo – and as a result – reap ALL the benefits of my skills – I share with no one the successes or failures of my work. I’ve done it as a still shooter, and I’m confident in my skills that I can do it as a solo VJ.

    From what I see, you have the advantage of having laid the groundwork for yourself and the success you have made and as such, YOUR perspective based upon YOUR comments, appear skewed. The Solo VJ community would like the opportunity to see what WE can make of this – whether we succeed or fail. Instead, you poison the pool with condescending remarks that imply your way is the only way.

    The moment someone says you can only do something one way, is the moment I look for how to prove them wrong. Michael is doing the same thing.

    If the members at b-roll felt as though they were being called fools – I would be asking myself the question, if I were in their position, knowing what I know about myself – Is there a grain of truth in that opposing view???

    For all we know, you’re right – or you could be wrong – let us discover that for ourselves and take personal responsibility for the outcome of our decision in this Solo VJ Paradigm.

  30. A “full time VJ”?

    I guess you forgot to add “full time blogger” to your resume as well.

    An admitted “self educated intern”?

    I’m sure you’ll make a fine VJ somewhere, some day.

  31. hey, that’s my name!


  32. And your comment is important in what way?

  33. just for clarification, you are talking to the wannabe ! and not the or!g!nal, right?

  34. The wannabe is just that.. 😉

  35. I thought so too!

  36. Pingback: If I had a hammer… : Andy

  37. Two will always be better than one. Mr. Rosenblum, get a grip your VJ idea can only lower the quality of television and create a lower standard. Nino, you shouldn’t waste your time arguing with these people. Those who are true professionals know the attitude it takes to be a professional. Fueling the flame by trying to logically prove a point with an unrealistic person, just doesn’t work. This is the reason why most professionals just do their jobs and let the people at the bottom of the barrel talk and create unintelligent arguments. BTW, nice web site:


  38. Pingback: If I had a nail-gun....

  39. Jeez Mark
    Down here at the bottom of the barrel I thought some of the arguments I made were in fact pretty intelligent. Just goes to show you never know…
    By the way, if two can always do a better job than one, how come The New York Times doesn’t send out its print journalists in teams – you know, someone to hold the pencil, someone to hold the paper, someone to ask the questions…

  40. 1. He admits he’s at the bottom of the barrel.

    2. He ‘thinks’ some of his aguments were intelligent.
    3. The NYT does not always require teams, but would it hurt?

  41. What can still not be denied is 5 Takes, like so many other VJ attempts, can not be done without a real broadcast company footing the bill.

  42. Who’s the painter? Please!

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