DNA2008 Day 1


The first DNA2008 conference starts outside the Brussels Marriott. The hotel rolled out the red carpet for us, (but in this case, it was in black and white, but with our logo on it!) Nice touch.


When we started, we anticipated 150 delegates, if we were lucky.  This morning we had 300. Pretty good for the first time out.


The panels were all well attended and pretty interesting. This one was on newspapers and magazines moving to video  online. On board, the editors of The Daily Telegraph, UK; de Telegraph, Germany; the Chief Information Officer for McGraw Hill (Business Week, Aviation Week, etc..) …nice….




The most amazing thing about the VJ panel was that there was no dissention, (or hardly any).  Not so many years ago, as Pat Loughery (L), Director of BBC Nations and Regions (their national news network) reminded me, we could not even mention the term without people going nuts.  Today. not a single dissenting voice from 300 journalists and media execs.  The concept is a done deal, at least in Europe. What a contrast to the US!

All in all, the first day went great.

Far better than we had even hoped for.  Let’s see what tomorrow brings.


70 responses to “DNA2008 Day 1

  1. Pingback: Christoph Schmitz — Bloggers at DNA2008

  2. Holly shit Michael; you just don’t know how to spell the word “failure” do you? The big worldwide conference that you’ve been bragging about for months, over 5000 VJ that you trained in Europe and Europe going VJ all the way, the future of European Television, they were supposed to come from all over the world at this DNA thing and 300 shows up on opening day, the most important day? Some interest you got there. Hell, B-roll gets those at the beer party in Vegas. A recent photographer convention here in little ole Tampa got over 10,000 attendees. Most likely all those 5000 VJ that you’ve trained can not afford to attend their own conference. Next year make it at a Hostel instead of the Marriott, so with their salary they make maybe they can afford to backpack and hitchhike their way there.

  3. Nino,

    You assume the conference was to be beneficial for a large number of attendees looking to learn about being a VJ.

    It was not.

    The whole point was for those hosting the conference to have yet another free vacation at the expense of others. They were there to honor each other. To pat each other on the back.

    A VJ teacher circle jerk.

    Nothing more.

    As you can see, it was a success in the eyes of those hosting the event!

  4. “The whole point was for those hosting the conference to have yet another free vacation at the expense of others. They were there to honor each other. To pat each other on the back.”

    WRONG, it’s a congregation of TV brass whose sole purpose there is to find a better lubricant to easily shaft the aspiring and inexperience photographer.

  5. BTW Michael, I got your books, thank you. Now I need another book to figure what the hell those books have to do with getting some sort of financial figures or examples on the labor status, mainly average earnings, of Video Journalists. I’m sorry if I don’t share your passion for history, I love history too, heck, the four stories building that I was born in Italy was built in the 16th century, I was born with history all around me, but I’m also realistic and I know how to separate fiction from reality. Coming out with a mortgage check every month and putting food on the table every day is reality and you can’t do that with history books, unless of course you are the one who is writing or selling them. Once again I give you credit for your creativity and skills in avoiding answering crucial questions about you alleged and self-proclaimed successes, positive proofs would go a long way and be much easier than buying books for those who have seen thru all your BS and are now calling for the truth, something that it appears that you are having a bit of a problem coping with.

  6. Nino,
    Ever play chess? You and your 10,000 fellow Tampa photogs are the pawns. The European and American media execs at the conference are the knghts, rooks, bishops, kings and queens. The decisions made by these people will directly affect the survival rate of you and your clones.

  7. Steve, you should have seen my previous post that Michael deleted, it was a very realistic look at what that congregation is all about it. If you don’t understand this then go to this one.
    and look at Mike Sechrist video.

    They main purpose there is to encourage and create a network of independent VJ to go out and create stories on their own, edit them and post them on their blogs or on any other web sites, then call the stations and tell them that you have a video and if they like it they’ll buy it from you, that what you call survival? I call it poverty. That’s why I’ve been asking for years to any of Michael supporter to show me anyone who has actually sold any videos to any station or to any web site, or know of any website that is actually buying videos like Michael is trying to make everyone believe. Anyone who believe in this without seeing any positive proof but getting instead a shit load of runaround and references to history books deserves what’s coming to him.

    So Steve, can you tell me anyone who is making real money or making a living with this VJ thing? Out of 9000 trained by Michael as he said in the last 15 years, a 5% show would be a disappointing result but at least it would be something, but none?

  8. whoa Michael – I am a big fan of your theories – but if the quality of your stills is indicative of the quality of your video I’m surprised that even the investment bankers are still signing up.

  9. Ha ha
    That’s very perceptive!
    I bought the new digital leica M8 and now its in germany being repaired (the curse of the early adapter) so a lot of these are shot with the blackberry curve.

  10. ah ha! that explains it.

  11. WHAT!?!?!? Now because your camera is in for repairs you use that as some sort of excuse for the ever present poorly shot stills on this site?

    Imagine that! Someone who is taking pictures and blaming the lack of quality in his work on the camera available to him!?!?!?

  12. As I doubt you have ever owned either a Leica or blackberry for that matter, you would not understand the problem.

  13. “I bought the new digital leica M8 and now its in germany being repaired”

    Exactly what problem would that be Michael? I understand the problem, its broken.

    Is this the same Leica that broke in England before you went to China, or the one that you sold on Ebay. I thought I heard you once complimenting Leica about the great service. Brand new 7K worth of camera and lens and they can not even give you a loaner? I’m very disappointed with Europe, first the VJs and now Leica? Things are going downhill fast over there.

    You should try an ordinary “middle class” Canon, but that’s not a very “conversational piece” to show off with. I still have the first SLR digital that Canon made and it’s still working. My5D has been coming with me to 27 countries in the last 3 years, took many abuses, and never missed a shot.

    Fifth picture from the top, looks like somebody in the audience has a SLR camera, ask him next time; but it has a light on it, not good by VJ teaching.

    BTW, I take back the deleting things I said before.

  14. The one on eBay is the M7, the broken one is the M8. M7 is film, M8 is the new digital one and it is the same problem since before China. Ken Hansen, from whom I buy all my photo gear had to send it to Germany for a complete overhaul. Seems to be some kind of problem endemic to the whole series, and they are overhauling them all in Germany. You could hammer nails with the M7. I had an M6 before that, which was stolen. They are great cameras but apparently they are having some problems with their new digital line. We will see what happens. They told me that it woul be in NY by the time I got back, which will be tomorrow.

  15. Owned both a Leica AND a Blackberry.

    The Leica was over rated and I dumped it.

    I’d love to get rid of my Blackberry too but it’s a company issue so I’m stuck with it for some years to come.

    So sad about your own Leica experience. I look forward to better shots when you get it back. Maybe it will even provide you with some better shot composition in the future! I still laugh that you, of all people, blame a camera for a poor photo product.

  16. Michael,

    I find it fascinating.

    I am a union member at a U.S. affiliate, so I definately am thinking about the future of our profession and business. I could also freelance with high end gear… but with a family have decided to stay in one locale.

    I find it fascinating…because Europe is definately on board…developing this new style of video journalism.

    Whether or not it is better or beneficial to either business, or society…. has yet to be proven.

    Am I right?

    Certainly U.S. TV outlets, could incorporate more VJ style storytelling on their websites….paying for each video clip…yet still maintain a staff.

    Is Europe doing that or are they going fully to a VJ model.

    Anyway…it is interesting and fascinating. Congratulations on your world wide efforts.
    You are definately trying to educate the media establishment about the new possibilities and potential. Although I still maintain that it is not an either or situation, or win / lose. I think both methods and ALL methods should be utilized.

    The high end, established networks and affiliates throughout the world…. need to take advantage of the new technologies and paradigm.

    But also… the established outlets should also strive for high end quality to set them apart from the mutiplying number of web video outlets. It is better to set yourself apart with higher quality….if you have the current resources and talent on staff…

  17. Eric, let me tell you what I know. The Brits are buying Florida piece by piece; we’ll soon be forced to start speaking English down here. There are thousand of Britons spending 6 months a year here in the Sunshine state, that’s the visa limit, among them are many golf pros and many other personalities, authors, actors and business leaders. They also built resorts and entire developments just for them, Thanks to the weak dollar they are slowly re-colonizing America, or at least Florida. I do on the average 2 jobs a month for the BBC and other British and European broadcasters; I could do many more for them if I had the time. These are full shoots with Sony HDCAM F900, regular set-ups just like I do for ESPN or other magazine shows. They love the Classic interviews look that we have developed here and that’s what they want. Some actually asked me if I would be willing to go to Britain and train their photographers on how to create the Classic look. I’m considering that. With the cost of everything in Europe getting out of control it is actually cheaper for European broadcaster to come here to do productions than anywhere in Europe. In the Orlando area you can get a good hotel room for $100 per night and even much cheaper if you are on low budget, in Europe that will rent you a tent and a sleeping bag. The drop of the dollar value against other currencies might be a financial nightmare for some but has created many opportunities for freelancers in this business, at least here in Florida. Inevitably I always ask these producers what’s the story with VJs in Europe, considering all the noises that Michael makes here about Europe. It is an economical move but not what Michael tries to make us believe. Their answer is that VJs are bottom feeders, they do unimportant time filler assignments, they do the jobs that don’t pay for broadcaster to send a qualified crew so crews can be free to do important stuff. Most of them are young people that still live with mom and dad and there’s no way that they can make enough money to move out on their own. Most don’t even own cars and they rely on public transportation to get around, this is where the backpack is becoming an essential piece of equipment. Of course Michael will have his own way to describe what’s going on there and I have no reason to doubt it, I’m just getting this directly from those that are involved day in and day out.

  18. Good perspective Nino.

    Apples and oranges.

    Do they grow both in Florida?

    I am not arguing one way over the other way.

    I would (personally) prefer to do high quality visual work, and get paid enough to get my kid through private college.

    It is interesting.

  19. Perhaps …. just perhaps…. those pictured in Michael’s DNA seminars…. are working on ways to make THEMSELVES more money.

    Those at the bottom – the students – are making no money at all right now…so they have no where to go but up.

    In the local TV news business here in the U.S. – beginners make very little for the first few years. You can climb to the top, and work for networks.

    The inevitability of the growth of video production for the web is inevitable. 😉

    The economics will follow…. inevitable.

    Managers, and big wigs do need to stay competitive and stay on top of trends….certainly this new technology has spawned a new trend. So it is wise to be on top of the wave, be prepared, stay current.

    You are in the middle. I am in the middle. In the middle of what was past and what will be.

    Middle Earth. Right now, it’s fine in middle earth. We have solid paying jobs.

    If you were 18 and just starting out…. you might have a different perspective.

    What would your advice be for young students?

  20. it’s not just smaller cameras and less skilled operators –

    check out the videos on guardian.com 90% are not produced in house.

    there’s an upside to it though – for the lat 50 years all the media has been produced by middle-class middle aged white people who live in the major metropolitan centers of the US and western Europe – surely that has to change sooner or later

  21. So VJ is a socioeconomic adjustment? Now I heard them all. I make sure to tell the ESPN photographer that I’ve been working side by side for the last few days that he is not supposed be doing this job because he is black. I’m an Italian emigrant coming from a very poor background, should I disqualify myself from working?


  22. More white apologists.

    The claim of all those middle age white folks producing ALL the product.


    Then again, that claim is made by a former print employee.

    Someone definitely on the outside of the broadcast world .

    Just like Michael Rosenblum who clumsily claims his short experience at CBS so long ago gives him a clue of how local tv newsrooms work.

    He, like others, love to make claims about things they have no experience doing. And still can’t do it.

    However they do love to get together at expensive hotels!

  23. FUNNY!

    Take a look at the VJ panel.

    What do you see?

    A bunch of middle aged white people who live in the major metropolitan centers of the US and western Europe!

    Looks like more of the same if you buy into the claims of some here.

  24. Well of course your comments tell me a great deal about you. You are a rather typical ignorant american when it comes to europe, your understanding forged at the “french street” at disneyworld, or a few trips to europe with stays at the holiday inn, no doubt.

    The conference was remarkably multi cultural, but no american such as you would be capable of seeing it. There are not too many african americans in europe but there are plenty of ethnic minorities. The woman from nrk on the panel was a suomi, for example (look it up). The black man on the panel is actually a brit of afro/carib descent. There were finns and albanians and slovakians and slovenians, as well as waloons and flemmish (as this was brussels). Most of these things are dominated by brits and americans. This was truly european…but I can see you are not quite educated enough to get the differences.

    But since you are so clearly american biased, just how many members of the board of directors at your own fox network are african american? How many evps? Would next to zero be a good answer.
    Please, clean your own house first, do some homework second, and then feel free to comment.

  25. Yet YOU couldn’t find space on your own blog to show how multi cultural the event was.

    YOU stuck to showing the typical white folks YOU claim always have controlled the media.

    Seems to me it’s YOU who is blind to their own prejudice.

    Where is the picture of those ethnic minorities again?

    I look forward to your quickly edited blog finally showing someone other than light skinned folks just like YOU.

    If that ever happens at all.

    That panel you are so proud of could use a little color somewhere.

  26. Oh yes, and just to help you educate YOURSELF.

    Here’s a list of our board of directors.

    I’ll leave it to you to see if you can identify the NON white folks on the board that you claim don’t exist BUT DO!

    Not all lilly white as you claim!

    Board of Directors
    K. Rupert Murdoch
    Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
    News Corporation

    José María Aznar
    Former President of Spain
    FAES – Foundation for Social Studies and Analysis

    Natalie Bancroft
    News Corporation

    Peter Barnes
    Ansell Limited

    Peter Chernin
    President and Chief Operating Officer
    News Corporation

    Kenneth E. Cowley
    R.M. Williams Holdings Pty. Limited

    David F. DeVoe
    Chief Financial Officer
    News Corporation

    Viet Dinh
    Professor of Law
    Georgetown University

    Rod Eddington
    Non-Executive Chairman for
    Australia and New Zealand

    Mark Hurd
    Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
    Hewlett-Packard Company

    Andrew S.B. Knight
    Rothschild Investment Trust C.P

    James Murdoch
    Chairman and Chief Executive,
    Europe and Asia
    News Corporation

    Lachlan Murdoch
    Chief Executive
    Illyria Pty Ltd

    Thomas J. Perkins
    Kleiner, Perkins, Caulfield & Byers

    Arthur M. Siskind
    Senior Advisor to the Chairman
    News Corporation

    John L. Thornton
    Professor and Director of Global Leadership
    Tsinghua University of Beijing

    Stanley S. Shuman (Director Emeritus)
    Managing Director
    Allen & Company LLC

  27. You still don’t get it, do you? European minorities don’t come color coded. That is a uniquely American phenomenon. Try telling a Serb from a Croat based on color. You can’t. How very provincial of you. Amusing, but you better stick to local news.

    As for the Newscorp Board, lemme guess:

    Rupert Murdoch, black man…no?
    Jose Marie Aznar, former President of Spain. Black Man? hmm
    how about Peter Chernin? James Murdoch? Thomas Perkins?
    Arthur Siskind – grew up in the hood, did he? Stan Shuman? Son of a sharecropper?
    Yeah, lots of working folks who came up on their own there. Very impressive.
    Any Croats, Serbs, Suomi, Caribs, Slovenians, Muslims? (We had lots, by the way) Don’t see too many Muslims there. No, unless you live in the Old South Africa (we had South Africans, by the way, don’t see too many black South Africans there either), you don’t really wanna start the ‘I identify people by their color’ (which you seem to do), game.

  28. great post Nino – I didn’t know Oscar Wilde was so popular with in ESPNland. The socioeconomic quote came from Spike Lee not MR.

    Here’s another quote regular readers will appreciate:

    “I don’t care where you were born, you belong here: you are the quintessential Ugly American – an arrogant, overbearing, egocentric frightened bully. You are a f…”

    Rest of the sentence lost due to raucous laughter, foot-stomping etc from the capacity crowd. I guess we all enjoy seeing a pompous git taken down a peg or two

    pip pip

  29. When I lived in the UK I was sent to Europe a lot. I was curious about local TV so I watched as much TV in the hotel rooms as I could stand and without a doubt Dutch TV was awful. Not quite as bad as Greek TV, nowhere near the armature Russian productions but really, really awful. So who knows maybe to some of them VJ is an improvement?
    Whatever I wouldn’t be racing European TV for the bottom of the barrel.

  30. How very provincial of you. Amusing, but you better stick to local news.

    well said Michael.

  31. Hey Stephen
    Unless you speak Dutch, I think you might find Dutch TV a bit hard to follow. I sure do!

    In any event, at $1.52 to the dollar, they certainly must know something we don’t.

  32. My bad Rosenblum.

    I should have known the only color you are aware of is black.

    Your all white Euro boy club is obvious.

    Of course only you, and them, all white middle aged folk have the ability to guide the downtrodden to their rightful place behind YOU.

    The only local yokal here is Cliff. He and you are perfect examples of people who can never DO themselves.

    Of course your answer to everything is to open another school!

  33. Just googled a photo of the board of directors of news corp. Looks like t-off at the bedford country club to me. (Are you in the photo? Can’t tell)

  34. The only local yokal here is Cliff…

    yup, I lurk for a bit and then goad you and the other detractors into responding so you show the other readers just how unprofessional you truly are. 😀

  35. How pathetic can you guys be. This entire social, racial, economical status and historical facts discussions are nothing more that clumsy attempts to avoid answering the very simple questions of:

    How much is the average VJ making?

    Show any website that are buying VJ videos

    Show any web site that you’ve sold your VJ videos.

    How f&%&ing difficult is that.

    Cliff, don’t you have any self pride, your ass kissing is getting out of control. Don’t you have anything to say on your own? If I had the time I would love to go back and look of how many times you have typed the phrase “Well said”, try hitting the other keys for once would you?

  36. Ik spreek niet erg goed Nederlands Michael but you don’t need to speak a language to see when the video is bad.

  37. Gosh Rosenblum, you seem focused on country clubs and labeling people as members.

    Is there some long lost personal story of your own that feeds this angst? Were you not allowed to be a member of some club long ago for some reason?

    In one breath you want to act as if owning a Blackberry means something and the next, you eagerly cling to being culturally open. Well, as long as those of the other culture have light skin.

    Your issues run deep and it has little to do with the VJ theories and a lot to do with you so badly wanting to set yourself up as gatekeeper.

    Yes, the gatekeeper of the VJ schools! Where you decide who does and doesn’t get to experience your VJ freedom of working for little or no money so you and your other light skinned business owners can put product on the air and reap the rewards while those who actually produce it, don’t.

    Your 9000 plus VJ students don’t seem too interested in continuing membership in your club if you could only get 300 or so to show up at your latest gathering.

    Then again, a good part of those who showed up weren’t VJs at all! They were other business owners looking for employees who work for free!

    Yep, you’re quite the gatekeeper. But the real secret you seem to have missed is the gate you are keeping doesn’t have as many people wanting in as those who got a taste and have stayed out.

    Even Cliff isn’t stupid enough to want to join you when it counts!

    That says it all!

  38. “Michael but you don’t need to speak a language to see when the video is bad”.

    In film school we learn that a good film maker must be able to tell a story without the sound. “Show it don’t say it” its what the teacher had painted in large letters on the classroom walls.

  39. Guys – the personal attacks are really unbecoming and unprofessional – especially when you’re trying to make a case for your positions. One attack reciprocates an attack in return, and so on and so on…

    Maybe the fact that neither camp is willing to budge from it’s position is well enough to say we can agree to disagree agreeably, as Stephen Covey has been quoted, and leave it at that.

    Whether we see eye to eye on what this profession has been and is becoming is moot. The profession is changing . I saw the same things occur as a photojournalist in the late 90’s. And I wasn’t willing to adapt. Now I have to figure out a way to move back into this field.

    What’s so terrible about that? Or do you somehow feel threatened by the idea of change coming so fast that you don’t have time to think about it?

    It has grown quite tedious reading the blatant slanderous remarks that are akin to adolescent teenagers trying to one up everyone else in their social group.

    If you don’t like what’s being discussed here – then don’t participate. But you come across as somehow having the right to come and pi$$ on everyone else here who doesn’t see things your way. Too bad. Bottom line is, we don’t care what you have to say. We’ve heard the same broken record over and over. No one’s listening to your perspective.

    Those who come here and suport the Solo VJ paradigm do so out of free will – but that appears to annoy you as it means you have no control.

    Get over that notion as well.

    Just as there was a paradigm shift in photojournalism from shooting 4×5 speed graphics to Rollei TLR’s to 35mm. There will always be those who refuse to accept change. Those changes still occurred.

    Bottom line – no one cares who’s right or wrong – the profession will play itself out through supply and demand and that will determine the outcome. For me, if I don’t make it – oh well, thats the way it goes. But I doubt it. I think the profession will find an equilibrium that will be a combination of both camps.

  40. Cliff Etzel: “I saw the same things occur as a photojournalist in the late 90’s. And I wasn’t willing to adapt. Now I have to figure out a way to move back into this field.”

    From what I see Cliff, those of us actually working ARE making the change. It’s why my work appears both on the Internet as well as being broadcast.

    You seem to be doing the same thing you did before. Talk of change but no actual action to complete the change and achieve your goal(s).

    That is not an insult to you Cliff. It is an observation of your words and lack of action on your part.

    Those of us who disagree with Rosenblum are actually working and continuing to work. Those in disagreement seem to be in your camp. Most unemployed. Or if they are employed, it’s as VJ teachers who have no real world experience to back up what they say, other than offering classes in a subject they themselves have never made a living at.

    That is the crux of the disagreement for many here. To make claims but never be able to back them up is hypocrisy. To talk about having to adapt to change but never adapting, or succeeding yourself is no different.

    Bottom line – yes, there are some of us who care about being right. Those that don’t care about being right know in their hearts what they are selling/claiming has no validity and use that “lack of care” to excuse themselves from responsibility of their empty claims.

    There is a place for VJ work. It does not fulfill the needs of many current and future business models. The choice is not all one or the other. However, for too long here the over the top claims made by Rosenblum and others like him have lead to others, like myself, coming here to make sure false predictions and obvious failures after said false predictions, don’t go unnoticed by the uninformed who spend too much of their lives in front of a computer keyboard instead of living and working in the real world with real bills to pay and real families to support.

  41. $ – sigh…

    Well, I tried to find some common ground with others here. I’ll depart with this quote from Dr Wayne Dyer:

    one of the steps to removing ones ego is to “stop always being right”.

    Have fun bickering amongst yourselves.

  42. Cliff I find it really hard to believe you were ever a photographer. If the quality of your work was as bad as the video you post then maybe the reason you were out of a job was not your refusal to change but your inability to take good photos.
    A lot of bitter talent-less people who haven’t made any headway in the industry think VJ will change all that. Well I’ve got news for them. If VJ did ever take off the people who know how to make good pictures will soon dominate the industry again.

  43. Cliff, before you become “unprofessional” you first have to be “professional”.
    As far as the hostility factor goes, it was happening long before my presence here. I decided to participate when I realized that my name was being tossed around here and my posts on other forums were conveniently misquoted to make yourself look pretty. You were badmouthing my profession long before I got here. Now that you are getting your own medicine back doesn’t taste very good, doesn’t it?

    And just like everything else you do, your analogy to photography is wrong. When finer grains film began making smaller format popular such as the twin lens Rollei replacing the venerable 4×5 Graphic, then the Hasselblad and later the 35mm they did not create a new wave of photographers, those were new tools created so professional can do more.
    In the mid 70s when 35mm became more affordable and with more automation there were unskilled individuals that tried to pass themselves off as professionals only because small cameras were easier to use and more affordable, but that did not last long, the cameras did not make the photographer back then and it will not make them now. I was never against VJ, I’ve been saying all along that one-man-bands or backpack journalists existed since the conception of television, what I’m against is ignorance, the idea that a camera and a computer will make a photographer is for unintelligent and lazy people who do not have the drive and discipline to learn the trade, it did not in the past, not in the present and will not in the future, this is why the VJ movement in its present form is stalled. Michael’s teaching just plainly do not work, his method of production is okay for something like youtube but if anyone want to make any type of living they better go back to school and learn it right. Michael failed here in the US and now he is taking his show on the road. There’s no way on earth that somebody can teach something that they have never done it and they do not know how to do it themselves.

  44. pg – again, you prove my point about adolescent behavior coming from a supposed professional.

    My experience includes:
    1992 – 1 of 99 out of 847 applicants accepted by portfolio submission only to the Eddie Adams Workshop attending as a member of the “Green Team”. While there, I was 1 of 15 special merit award winners for my work. This award resulted in the publication of a photo documentary project I had shot over the course of 18 months.

    1993 – Society of Professional Journalists (Willamette Valley Chapter) – 1st place Photo Page, Third place each for Feature Photos and Sports Photography
    1994 – Society of Professional Journalists (Willamette Valley Chapter): 2nd place – Best feature photo.

    In addition, I worked as a freelance editorial/commercial photographer and photo editor for two different magazines and was a stringer for the Associate Press.

  45. Cliff, let me add a few things to your comparison to photography. As new formats were introduced over the years they were never intended or used by photographers as replacements. View cameras taking 4×5 sheet film of larger are still widely used today for high end photography, digital technology and Photoshop have not yet been able to accurately correct for perspective deficiencies of conventional photographic equipment like a view camera can. Roll film medium format cameras such as the old Rollei or the more popular Hasselblad were used as all purpose s cameras for a variety of assignments. 35mm was mainly press photographer’s exclusive tools, although magazine photographers particularly for color photography preferred mostly the medium format Hasselblad and often 4×5 cameras. The 35mm became increasingly popular with all photographers as with introduction of finer grain transparency films and were used mainly for slides and audio-visual presentations. EVERY GOOD professional photographer had all these tool in his arsenal, in addition to dozens of lenses for all these formats and they still do to this day.

    Saying that now there are cameras that can make photographer would be like going to a grease monkey mechanic with a set of new automatic tool and tell him that he can now work on Ferrari. Maybe one day you will understand that the reason that you and all the VJ supporter that think that they can make a living with Michael teaching, but nothing has been happening for year and still you are not making any money is because the work resulting from the low skills from Michael’s teaching is not sufficient enough to be marketable. And if you think that I’m wrong as you’ve been saying all along than prove that I’m wrong by answering those very elementary business questions that I’ve been asking for months, actually don’t’ prove it to me because it doesn’t make any difference to my business, start proving it to yourself by asking yourself the very simple question of “why isn’t anyone hiring me?”

  46. Nino – I originally had a long discourse refuting everything you had stated above, but I realized it’s not worth my time to respond to you or any other detractor. All your egoic pain bodies want to do is continue the negativity regarding this issue, thus perpetuating more negativity.

    Instead I decided to cut your collective unconscious ego’s off at the knees. The Solo VJ paradigm is the future for my work and there isn’t anything any of the detractors say that will change that fact.

  47. Cliff, you are an inspiration to all photographers in the business, not to mention an assurance. Until there are skills like yours representing the VJ population along with Michael’s VJ teaching we can conclude that the financial safety of our professions is rock solid, actually we should be grateful because you make even the worst of us look good.

    Go for it man, don’t change a thing.

  48. Ok Cliff I’m going to try again. No cheap jokes, no put downs, just me trying to understand your point of view.
    You say you did good as a photographer, cool, I’m assuming you trained to get good at that. As well as learn the technical side of stuff you must have picked up that art side. Framing, composition… story telling shots?
    When I look at your video none of that is there… why?
    What is different? If as Michael says any 12 year old can soot great pictures with a small camera why do so many VJ’s shoot awful stuff? What are they missing?
    To me the answer is its very hard to do the work of three people to a good standard.
    Show me I’m wrong.

  49. Cliff Etzel:”My experience includes:
    1992 – 1 of 99 out of 847 applicants accepted by portfolio submission only to the Eddie Adams Workshop attending as a member of the “Green Team”. While there, I was 1 of 15 special merit award winners for my work. This award resulted in the publication of a photo documentary project I had shot over the course of 18 months.

    1993 – Society of Professional Journalists (Willamette Valley Chapter) – 1st place Photo Page, Third place each for Feature Photos and Sports Photography
    1994 – Society of Professional Journalists (Willamette Valley Chapter): 2nd place – Best feature photo.

    In addition, I worked as a freelance editorial/commercial photographer and photo editor for two different magazines and was a stringer for the Associate Press.”


    Buy yourself a calendar.

  50. Cliff, do I have to make another search? Remember that big award from Washington that you claimed you received, and after I did a search of the recipients your name was nowhere to be found and we never heard you mentioning that again? If you are so proud of your accomplishment why not display your work in your blog. If you are looking for credibility then also display your education and training on your resume, not just “call me”. Also you have a 15 years gap that’s a little hard to digest for someone making your claims.

    The problem that have been afflicting VJs, and that’s worldwide, is Michael’s brainwashing. He is no different that cult leaders that seek out weak persons to brainwash. He tried with professional but we saw thru him after the first few words he said, his only hope to make money was to find those who could not make it in any area of TV productions and convince them that they are the future, his teaching and they inner abilities will change television forever. Cliff is the poster child example of all this, untrained, uneducated and convinced that he is the future but can’t even find a place in the present. He, just like many others keeps hanging on to the messiah (Michael) prediction that “take my word, it will happen” only every time that “will” arrives and becomes “now” he has a new timeline and a new “will”, and these idiots still hang to “it will happen”. I can’t help comparing him to those self proclaimed evangelists who keep sucking every penny to poor weak individuals with the promise that the “messiah will return”, and while they keep praying the evangelist goes around on his private jet and drives Lamborghini. And BTW there’s a congressional investigation taking place about these evangelists.

    We’ve been hearing that “we are afraid of them and they are the future” from VJs here in the states, from Europe and even from those TJs trained at the travel channel, this is Michael’s method to get to their wallets, convince them that we the trained and skilled established professionals are washed out and the industry needs new blood. My predictions always were that by the time that these folks realize that they’ve been had and their acquired skills will get them as far as places like Youtube, Michael will be far gone, and as predicted Michael along all the VJ/TJ’s money is off to Europe and Africa to find an all new crap of suckers while looking back laughing and whispering: “thanks for you money and so long suckers”.

  51. pg said:

    When I look at your video none of that is there… why?

    That’s a good question. Video isn’t as easy as it looks. I make no qualms that I have a ways to go. That doesn’t mean I won’t get there. The challenge I have is the three amigo’s that generate 99% of the negative comments on this site seem to forget that at one time, they were first starting out themselves. That is the challenge I have. If the attitude was one of mentorship instead of condescension, maybe there would be acceptance of what you have to say – until that time comes, forget it.

    $ – your response is again an example of what not to be like.

    Nino – Where did Washington come from? In addition – what makes you think a so called “EDUCATION” somehow qualifies anyone to practice a profession like shooting video? That is another part of your archaic mentality and why you haven’t earned any respect from me or anyone else here. If you’d shut your mouth and actually quit filtering what is being said here through your prejudices – and responding as such, you might find that others would be willing to listen to what you have to say.

    I am going to take an extended leave from this venue since it is readily apparent that you three are determined to drive away all who come here in a positive attitude – well, you drove another one away – proud of yourselves?

  52. Video isn’t as easy as it looks.

    My point exactly.
    Michaels VJ model is based on the premise that video is easy. So easy that as he tells us constantly any 12 year old can do it… he used to say a 9 year old but even he gave up on that.
    What you have discovered is the reality doesn’t match the spin.
    That is all we really have been saying. Everything else is fluff and fun.
    If you are going away I hope you use the time to think about promise vs practice.
    Michael preaches promises, we practice what we preach.
    If you really want to learn email me or even Nino, you might be surprised how much help we are willing to give someone who really passionately wants to learn our craft.


  53. Cliff, it’s a simple formula
    EDUCATION=skills=jobs=making a living.
    When the formula gets broken at the start you have no job and make no living and this is exactly what’s been happening to the VJs .

    “it is readily apparent that you three are determined to drive away all who come here in a positive attitude”

    I admire you for your tenacity but may I remind you that you and Michael are the only one here with positive attitude toward VJ? 9000 trained by Michael and not a single one has anything positive (or anything at all) to say about his status as VJ?

    Maybe the reason of failure is not enough knowledge or skills? Try learning more and doors will open for you, but the first step is to realize that you need to know much more that you really do, but when you think that you already know it all and you fight those who are trying to make you understand that you just haven’t got it, it will never happen for you.

  54. Perhaps, Cliff, what we accomplished is to encourage you to actually get yourself employed as a VJ.

    Of course you, like Rosenblum, find it easier to play victim and avoid the truth.

    You avoid admitting you’ve been unemployed as a photographer and VJ for more than a decade. Preferring to talk about classes you took so long ago but never any real full time jobs using those award winning visual talents you claim you have.

    Rosenblum avoids admitting he has never produced any VJ product all on his own that led to a full time VJ career anywhere.

  55. Dear $
    Come on, fess up now.
    You are no journalist.
    But you sure work at Fox News.
    Just like them, you make stuff up, present it as fact with no research and then slander people.
    (Are you Bill O’Reilly, perhaps? Or maybe you just work for him).

    I have,in fact, worked as a VJ for Nightline, MacNeil/Lehrer, Christian Science Monitor (when it was a TV show), CBS News and others. (I did this while you were, no doubt, making coffee at Fox news and xeroxing rundowns.)

    My work as VJ led to my ‘full time VJ career’. (how do think I got here). Your work of coffee making and xeroxing no doubt led to your full time career, (whatever that is – I mean besides posting on my site).

  56. Michael, you took credit for many shows in the past five years that people that worked on those shows never even heard of you, myself included. Why don’t you show us some of the work the you did as a VJ for all there national shows that you are taking credit for?

  57. Rosenblum.

    You are no VJ.

    Your work you site did NOT include your voice on camera, nor YOU doing the editing.

    In other words. NOT VJ.

  58. Running a school for VJs is not a full time VJ career. No different than someone who teaches journalism at a college can claim they are a working journalist.

    You sir have a difficult time speaking the truth.

    Sadly for you, the number of failed VJ projects in your wake speak volumes about what you do and don’t know.

  59. Hey $
    Trust me, I have a full time career. 🙂
    As for the piece I did, you’re a journalist, (I think). go find em. I am all over ’em, including my voice and face!
    and of course, what IS it you do, exactly?

  60. Nino, Pencil God, $ and Cliff,

    I have been following your comments for the past couple of months now and needless to say I have learned so very much. Thank you.

    I took Michael’s Travel Channel class in January and I have to say that it was indeed a good crash course for me. “Me” being an amateur in shooting video. After taking the course, in all honesty – I don’t expect to make huge money with what I have learned from that course, and I don’t expect to start creating amazing pieces for the T Channel. There is no way in hell I am leaving my day job to become a full time TJ or VJ. Nino is right, I need to get food on the table – think Maslow’s hierarchy of needs: in order to attain self-actualization one must be able to satisfy certain categories of needs such as biological need i.e. food. Although this does not mean I will not pursue making travel pieces, and try to get paid for them, this just means that I know where I stand.

    There are two very valuable things I walked away with after that workshop:

    I. It gave me a starting point to address my want and desire to make great travel pieces. I’ve always wanted to create travel stories because I thought that with my background (I’ve only lived in one country for 6yrs max – this is my 7th country) I had content to tell a better story. Not just some footage of a tubby bald guy going around the world to eat insects. With this came the desire to learn and the desire to gather information, assimilate it and incorporate it into what I want to create. Due to this want and desire to pursue something great I listen to everyone; I take no sides, instead I take it all in. I signed up to EFPlighting.com, I read this blog and the posting because it gives me good material to research, I read b-roll, and I subscribe to a lot of online magazines dedicated to shooting on a TON of formats.

    II. The workshop gave me access to an outside critique system. I can submit my stuff to those poor guys who have to sift through my work and give me pointers. This is fantastic and I would love for them to rip my stuff apart.

    These two points were worth the cash I had to dish out. In essence it gave me (an amateur) access to professionals. Having that is so important, I am lucky to have friends in the photography/cinematography/video world – professors, freelancers, editors, writers. They aren’t HUGE names, but they have been in the field for over 10 years and they point me to the good workshops, techniques, books, gear and all that good stuff.

    I think that where the VJ falls short seems to be at the point where he believes that he has all the necessary acumen to become a bonafide journalist right off the bat. In fact I feel that this is where a lot of people across many fields fall short or catch themselves off guard by new approaches etc. In my field, corporate finance, it is very competitive amongst ourselves. Every year there is always a new kid on the block who thinks he is Wall St.’s new Gordon Gekko or Carl Ichan and you see them get chewed up and spat out. The sole reason for this is because they didn’t take the time to asses the situation and mentally note “What is it that I need to know in order to be successful?” instead they spent their time kissing ass and saying they could do things when they couldn’t. Come show time they fold. In the broadcast world it seems to me it is intuitive that crappy work leads you to fewer clients (and eventually none) but you have the chance to get better. In the finance world you get escorted out by security in front of all of your friends. In both fields, and truly in any field, the message is the same: Crappy work gets you nowhere.

    There is a certain amount of humility that I feel is lost here in the US and especially amongst my generation and the generations following mine. It all comes back to the access thing, with technology comes bigger egos – people who think they can do anything, stars are born over night (just type in lightsabre boy on YouTube and see how many hits he got) but they burn out just as quick. Continuity comes from quality and the pursuit of it.

    There may or may not be a future for VJ’s/TJ’s out there but there is always a future for impassioned people who want to learn it all. I am not saying that passion is all you need to become successful in this field, but I believe that if you truly are passionate about what you do, you take every measure to learn the ins and outs, the new and the old, the language of the field and who is who. It just so happens that all of that gets you so much closer to making money in the field. My philosophy as to how I am approaching this entirely new field:

    Aim high, expect less. Keep your ears close to the ground and eyes everywhere.

    Cliff, I am not a ‘detractor’ but these guys are veterans. Instead of running face first into Roman Legionnaires armed to the teeth consider your strategic options. Rage Against the Machine is a great example. A great band that was anti-institutional, what label did they sign with? Sony. Huge, corporate institution, WHY? Because Sony has a great marketing system which allowed Rage access to people and get their message out. I think that you have to know and use the system before you break it. I think we should take in what they say, all of it, continue going to workshops and become better. I’m in the same boat as you, probably on a smaller boat even and there is a lot of rowing to be done. I know for sure that both you and I can benefit from these guys. They may not be here to cheer us on, but at the same time, in reality, who (besides family –hopefully) really is there to cheer us on anyway?

    Nino – your work is great. I can only dream to accomplish that in my lifetime. For someone who has worked extremely hard to get to where you are at now, I can only imagine how it would feel for someone to come out and tell you it will all disappear. Although, I do feel that there is a place for VJs, the amount of content that web audiences demand is significant and at the same time I agree with you that the best quality work will prevail. I think that with new technology (in this case not just cameras but, more so, internet as a new channel) there are always new comers and some old timers don’t catch up. The great ones are the ones that can use that technology to their advantage by fusing new and old. I would imagine that the principles are the same, composition and lighting are always going to separate the pros and amateurs. I am sure I don’t need to tell you this since you have been around and have seen a lot. As an amateur though, I think it is important for me to be able to say to you that not all VJs/TJs are the same. Some of us want to make great work and are 100% all ears and 0% egos.

    Pencilgod, & $ – I’d hate to run into you guys on a good day! Ha. Jokes aside, getting the inside perspective from you guys helps to put things into scope. I don’t expect to go into broadcast journalism and I don’t expect to become a full time VJ. I’m sure you are thinking “Good. It isn’t happening!” but I have questions for you both, and Nino as well. Is there room for people who do want to get into the field without formal training (no journalism/photography degree etc., maybe workshops at the most)? Do you feel that there is a necessity for lower cost crews and how do you feel the industry will address it? Also, does it take a certain type of person to make it in this field, if so what kind?

    Thanks guys.


  61. Rosenblum,

    What you did was no more than what any other local news photographer does.

    You were on b-roll patrol.

    Shot video. Did some interviewss.

    Editing it yourself? No.

    Writing the copy that was read on air?


    Voicing the story?


    Everything you claim about being a VJ didn’t happen with any of those stories.

    If they did, you would have long ago posted them as examples. You don’t and we all know why. You most of all.

    There is a place for VJs in many business models. But your over the top claims have time and again proven you yourself don’t know how to do the job or make it work in the real world of business other than hiring yourself in a school you’ve started yourself. Which you’ve done over and over again.

    You’re your own best employer! You’ve also fired yourself several times too every time a business you start fails.

  62. ST sounds like you have given it all a lot of serious thought. Unfortunately/fortunately most people in the industry have never heard of Michael or his VJ’s so don’t let it color your thinking one way or another too much.
    Now you need to think that deeply about what you want from the industry and how best to get it. There is no one way. Lots of dead ends but no one way.
    My short advice is to look around and find what company is doing stuff you would like to do and have a talk to them about what they are looking for in an employee and go from there.
    I’ve got to run… I’m shooting a Destination New Zealand series so I don’t know when I’ll be back near a computer.

    BTW my presenter, producer, researcher, sound man and cam assist are all different people, being paid professional wages for a professional job.
    And the presenter Kelly Swanson Roe even helps carry the tripod sometimes.

    There is room for everyone. Even a few VJ’s… just a few.

  63. Dear $
    Well, you have certainly proved you are no journalist and that you most assuredly work for fox news.

    Like your network, you just make stuff up and ‘report’ it as fact.

    Actually, I found the stories, pitched em, reported em, shot em, wrote em and cut em. Call tom bettag if you like!

    Meanwhile, you better stop spending so much time screwing around on the web. Your boss is gonna catch you and you can kiss that $35k a year goodbye.

  64. Yet, still, you are unable to prove it by posting the stories you claim as your VJ work for all to see.

    Even if it’s in your very own VJ school classroom.

    That says it all.

  65. I note that your network today reported that gov eliot spitzer was resigning.

    Yours was the first network with the story…and also the last…because they made that up too!

    While the gov may indeed resign, fox news never let’s facts get in the way…and neither, of course, do you!

    Hey! I think the xerox machine toner needs a refill!

  66. Michael, you are back at your puberty deficiency syndrome. What’s the difference what the philosophy of FOX is. Unquestionably you are a liberal and they are conservative. When I work for FOX Sport all I care is that they are good clients and they ask for quality, I don’t ask for their political tendencies.
    Your diversions to hide your failures are getting ridiculously sad. $ can get a job and has a job and your VJs do not and can not, that’s the bottom line, their knowledge deficiency make them unemployable and unmarketable.
    I can’t think of anyone ever who paid good money to learn how to be a failure.

  67. Dear Nino
    Well I can’t think of anyone who paid good money to learn to be a failure either, which is why I have been in the VJ training/consulting business for nearly 20 years now and the thing just keeps growing like topsey!

  68. Michael, I know that you are smarter than that, you financially are not failing by a long shot, your students are. Your teaching skills and your business projections are the equivalent of a permanent pink slip. You are making it by the bucket while creating misery for others disguised as opportunities. To tell you the truth I wish I could do it too, but I couldn’t stand myself making a living that way. It takes a different kind of person that’s for sure and I’m glad I have the gift of self-respect.

  69. Ah Nino
    That is your problem.
    “the gift of self-respect”.
    You are in the only person you respect.
    When one lives as you do, it makes for a rather a limited world .
    Why don’t you start with the Manchester book.
    You might find there are a few other people in the world perhaps as smart as you.
    Maybe…maybe even smarter.
    You never know.

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