Whirled Musings

Across the Universe with Cosmic Connie, aka Connie L. Schmidt...or maybe just through the dung-filled streets and murky swamps of pop culture -- more specifically, the New-Age/New-Wage crowd, pop spirituality & religion, pop psychology, self(ish)-help, business babble, media silliness, & related (or occasionally unrelated) matters of consequence. Hope you're wearing boots. (By the way, the "Cosmic" bit in my moniker is IRONIC.)

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Hustledork Cinema: the hits just keep comin' at ya!

Oh. My. Goddess. Wednesday came and went last week, and I know I had more than halfway promised that I would wrap up the Peter Wink conversations that day, but I didn't. The truth, Dear Ones, is that I had spent the previous few days dealing with some extraordinarily trying family matters, in addition to recuperating from a mystery ailment, and I did not have the brains to write anything even remotely thoughtful and serious. I'm still not up to full speed yet, though the Snark is definitely stirring. So, with my apologies to Peter and to anyone who might have been expecting a Wink Wednesday Wrap-up, let me more than halfway promise to do it this coming Wednesday instead. That should buy me some time to either write the post or come up with another excuse for not doing so.


For now, I have a Very Important New-Wage Moviemercial Announcement. Or several announcements, actually. I Tweeted briefly about this matter the other day, but the topic begs for elaboration.

I first found out about this scintillating film project via a spammish comment I received a few days ago for an August 2007 Whirled post about the hustledork flick The Opus. Over the years I've received a fairly steady flow of comments on that post, most of them supporting The Opus and its creator, a Canadian actor, author, Mormon missionary, motivational speaker, and film producer named Douglas Vermeeren. Doug currently calls himself "North America's Achievement Expert," and is touted by some as being a spokesman for the younger generation of overachievers. These days, in addition to announcing moviemercial projects, he mostly seems to be making his living teaching individuals and corporations how to reach that storied "next level," delivering seminars in places such as Mexico, Jamaica and Fiji.

Doug himself contributed a couple of comments to the discussion on my Opus post, and a few folks have asked me why I have allowed such blatant promotion of his work, in the guise of "conversation." But it's NBD, as far as I'm concerned. I snark. Others defend my snargets, and sometimes the snargets defend themselves, as they have every right to do, and indeed as I openly invite them to do. I snark again if I feel like it. And so it goes. That's the way my Whirled turns, sometimes.

At any rate, here's that spammish comment announcing the next cinematic breakthrough (and I call it spammish because it appeared verbatim on several other forums as well):

Bob Proctor and Douglas Vermeeren and The Opus... There's a new movie coming promises to reveal a message that The Secret left out... That movie is The Lost Message. And it features both Bob Proctor and Douglas Vermeeren. ( You can find it online at www.TheLostMessage-movie.com) It focuses around an ancient message that was practiced by rulers and kings to build and maintain empires, but since then it has been lost. Only a few have even had a glimpse at this grand secret. It is a lost message but it will be reveal [sic] again in this upcoming movie.

When I visited the web site, it was not immediately clear to me exactly who is behind The Lost Message. But on the "About" page I read that the film is "brought to you by the creator of The Opus." That would be Doug V. And if you Google the Calgary, Alberta phone number listed on the site, you'll see it is also associated with Doug.

What seems abundantly clear is that The Lost Message is covering some mighty familiar territory, as you'll see if you follow the link to the home page and take a look at the trailer. A glance at the "Cast" page will also reveal some familiar names. And yes, Scientist Bob Proctor is prominently featured. I'm not surprised to see that he seems to be continuing his campaign to throw The Secret under the bus, as he did a year and a half ago when he and Mary Manin Morrissey introduced their "Eleven Forgotten Laws" frauduct (to borrow a phrase from my pal Salty Droid).

In a "Warning" on the Lost Message site, we are told that The Lost Message is "not just a movie" because it is accompanied by "specific state of the art training materials and tools" that will allow you to "do more with this film than any other that has come before it." But you may be wondering, as I did, just what that "lost message" is. Well, gee, that would ruin the surprise, and the need to buy the movie, wouldn't it? Suffice to say that...

There are few who know what that message is. And now they will present it to you. This message will change everything. You will find greater satisfaction, greater abundance, increased positivity, better relationships and the ability to defeat every challenge you will ever face.

Well, that clears that up.

Following the Anon comment on my blog about The Lost Message, regular participant "Disillusioned" mentioned that James Arthur "Death" Ray's name is listed on the trailer. "Is this a new advertising ploy what with his trial coming up in a couple of months?" wondered Dis.

I replied that I thought the cast list wasn't necessarily current. I surmised that the project was begun years ago, perhaps during the first wave of Secret ripoff flicks, but for one reason or another it didn't get off the ground. "The creator(s) of the flick probably got a preliminary commitment from 'the usual suspects,' most of whom were so high on Secret fumes that they would agree to anything at the time," I mused, adding that in any case I thought it might be a good idea for them to remove James Ray's name for the time being.

Not long afterward, I received this from another anonymous commenter:

Just thought I'd share an insight from someone who worked on the movie although you have to appreciate that I can't share my name. James Arthur Ray has been cut from the final film. Any guess why... and a few other Secret alumni have also been given the heave-ho. Mostly for the reasons you've pointed out. People are tired of seeing this gang try and build another "secret."

Having said that I do think what the film is shaping up to be may surprise many people. It is pretty interesting and there's a lot in there that I didn't expect. The first few scenes I saw rough cuts on were kind of interesting.

I guess we'll see what the end result is....
I guess we will, if the movie ever comes out. Now, I realize that it takes time and a great deal of organized effort to produce and promote a moviemercial, even a highly formulaic one. It also takes money, which – shockingly! – is sometimes in short supply even in the New-Wage universe of abundance and infinite riches. Still, it seems a bit misguided to keep putting up hype-notic announcements and teasers and trailers for one moviemercial after another, when so many of them apparently come to nothing.

The prolonged online tease worked once, very well, for The Secret. But isn't the market saturated with Secret-type movies by now, and hasn't that style of marketing lost much of its effectiveness? Why do people keep churning these flicks out (or at least churning out teaser sites and trailers, if not finished products)?

Those are serious questions, by the way, not just snarks in the form of rhetorical questions. I seriously want to know if any moviemercials besides What The Bleep Do We Know? and The Secret have paid off in any big way for the creators or, equally as important, for the countless affiliates hoping to make a few bucks off of the products.

Doug Vermeeren has apparently also had yet another moviemercial in the works for a couple of years,
The Gratitude Experiment. A commenter mentioned it on the discussion following my Opus post, and it was also mentioned in the discussion following a July 2007 post about The Opus on the Surface Earth blog. The Surface Earth post bears the long title, "Is the movie 'The Opus' the next level of 'The Secret?' Will we have a foolproof plan to elevate ALL of humanity?" From where I sit, the answer to that second question is...um..."No." But one January 2010 commenter to that post wrote:

I loved The Opus and felt that it was very epic. Kind of like the Titanic of personal development film. Very visually stunning and cool. I am looking forward to Doug Vermeeren’s next movie The Gratitude Experiment. If it is anything like the Opus it will be incredible. The trailer is on the official website http://www.Gratitude-Experiment.com

...I am a BIG fan of Doug Vermeeren. I believe his materials surpass Napoleon Hill. I believe the Doug Vermeeren is destined to reshape personal development in the same way that Hill and several others of his day did. There is no one really doing what Doug Vermeeren is doing and all the really well known leaders are not prepared to connect with the younger generations. Sure they are using the internet technology to reach out to us, but their message is still something that resonates best with my parents. It’s time for a new generation that has messages relevant for today! I believe that Doug Vermeeren is leading the way. Keep up the great work Doug!

"The Titanic of personal development film?" Oh, Lord, I'm getting a sinking feeling...

Maybe I'm just getting old myself, but I am having trouble discerning how the "messages" in Doug Vermeeren's moviemercials are substantially different from that of the h-dorks of previous generations, particularly from the past 25 years or so. Near as I can tell, the basic message goes something like this: You can have, do, and be anything you want to have, do, and be, if you just have the right attitude, are willing to do a little work (or not), and are willing to be a relentless hustledork yourself. That last bit is particularly important, for without the ceaseless buying and selling of products and events that claim to show millions of other folks how to have/do/be anything they want to have/do/be, the whole system collapses.

The basic h-dork message is always enhanced by the promise that the product or event being sold is a unique blend of forbidden ancient secrets known only to a few elite folks! – and cutting-edge technology. As it was in 1985, so it is in 2010.

Or am I missing something?

I also think it noteworthy that Doug himself doesn't hesitate to draw on the "wisdom" of previous generations of h-dorks, including, of course, the Elder Statesman of H-Dorkery himself, Scientist Bob. And on the home page of one of Doug's main sites, there is this bit of pseudo-wisdom from baby-boomer Secret star John Demartini: "When you are humble to divinity you get the most powerful certainty for humanity." (I have never really done justice on this blog to Dr. Demartini, who, incidentally, hardly seems like the humble sort himself.)

But perhaps I am being too hasty in my judgment about all of this. Where The Gratitude Experiment is concerned I couldn't say one way or the other, because so far the web site still seems to consist only of a teaser page with a one-minute trailer promising a "controversial" movie that will deliver some answers humanity has been seeking for millennia. (I know...we've never heard that one before.)

But wait, there's more! While the world waits for The Gratitude Experiment and The Lost Message, other movies are in the works. When Googling, I found a link to the Facebook page for The Gratitude movie, and saw an announcement that Doug himself will be starring in yet another moviemercial, The Journey. Motivational author Don Boyer and his lovely wife Melinda are the exec producers of this one, and they are also cast members. And...hold on, because your hands are going to start shaking from excitement, just as mine are now... Scientist Bob Proctor is in this movie too! You simply must follow the link and at least watch the trailer.

If you want a piece of that Journey pie yourself, click on through to the Sponsors page. Besides getting a bunch of copies of the movie if when it comes out, if you fork over enough bucks you'll also get your name on the movie credits, and you'll get to hang with the "stars" during the red-carpet premiere events. Plus your business and your credibility will get big boost. According to the copy, there are numerous good reasons for becoming a sponsor. Among them:

4. Association. The old saying of “It’s not what you know but who you know that counts” is a true maxim when it comes down to creating quantum growth in your business and profits. The right associations can eliminate years off your growth curve and open doors that have remain iron shut for years.

5. Tax Deduction. Let’s face it, taxes are good and needful, however there is no need to overpay in taxes. The fact is, our government allows us to use money in order to grow our business. Therefore you can use money to grow your business using the benefits or sponsorship or you can take that same money and give it to the government so they can give it to very able healthy individuals who refuse to work and rely on welfare for support. What is the best investment for your money?

6. Credibility. We are known by the company we keep and people do business with us on the perception they have of us. When you associate with credible people and companies you tend to inherit their cloak of credibility.

Notice how the copywriter manages to sneak a little bit o'politix there in Number 5, ripping on all those folks who "refuse to work and rely on welfare for support." As for the bits about "Association" and "Credibility," well... those speak for themselves.

On his May 12, 2010 blog post about the new flick, Doug Vermeeren wrote:

This new personal development film features many top personal development teachers like: Brian Tracy, Bob Proctor, Mick Moore, Don Boyer, Melinda Boyer, Dr. Joe Rubino, Kandee G, Nik Halik, Glenda Feilen, Ridgely Goldsborough, Vic Johnson, Judi Moreo, Rollan Roberts, Dr. Dallas Humble, Lisha and Kari Schneider, Matt Brauning, Kimberly Adams,Dale Halaway, Dr. Letitia Wright and of course, Myself, Douglas Vermeeren.

The format of this show, I was told by the producers, will be quite different than any of the personal development films out there so far. I am quite excited to see the finished product.

I am told the release date will be in December of this year...

As I said, the hits just keep on comin'. And each one promises to be "different" from all those others, and full of "surprises." The more things change...

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31 Comments:

Blogger Burned by Fire said...

I don't believe this hustledork cinema is worth much of anything if Mr. Fire Joe Vitale isn't in it. There's no mention of new cars discarded on eBay by half-bit celebrities, for one. Don't these producers realize how important it is to repeat the mantra that the universe is a catalog? And also, where's the one-eyed used laxative retrieval doll... it's just not going to cut it.

Now if these moes wanna get some advice from someone who can fully recognize cheesetastic production, they should come talk to us.

Sunday, May 30, 2010 5:36:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

LOL, BBF. I did notice that Mr. Fire seemed to be absent from the cast list on the three moviemercials I mentioned in this post. Yet he'd recently Tweeted that he had been filmed for yet more "movies" so he must be popping up elsewhere.

I imagine there's a whole slew of these cheesy New-Wage projects in various stages of production, and all trying to be the next "Secret." And the h-dorks are only too glad to be in them, because that's just more exposure. If nothing else, they can add the title to their resume even if the project never gets completed.

Sunday, May 30, 2010 5:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Deb said...

My current h-dork pet peeve is the internet marketer (woo-woo or not) who tries a marketing trick on me to get me to do something, then turns around and offers to TEACH it to me for cold hard cash. Please. There are woo-woo marketing gurus out there who make me offers via email every day and then I find out the real offer is to pay them so I can turn around and do it to others. Pisses me off.

Monday, May 31, 2010 10:38:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

I hear ya, Deb. It's a variation on the old MLM schemes or, in some cases, the illegal pyramid scams. Sort of puts me in mind of "Make money at home stuffing envelopes," but it's marginally more sophisticated.

I guess this is to be expected, though. So many Internet Marketers love to boast about their success, but it seems that selling (dubious) products or services doesn't provide nearly enough of an income stream for most of these folks to support them in the lifestyle to which they aspire. So they have to also sell the "secrets" to selling these dubious products or services. The hook (if you'll pardon the pun, in light of the overused metaphor I'm about to evoke) is that they're "teaching you to fish" rather than just giving you a fish.

I suspect that more and more folks are getting wise to these schemes (and recent changes in FTC regulations have probably put a damper on some U.S. IM'ers), but hope (and greed) spring eternal, so I also suspect that the old scams will continue to pop up in more clever guises.

This is not to imply that moviemercial producer Doug Vermeeren himself is a scammer or that he has nothing of value to offer. At the very least, he seems to be more focused on the more pragmatic aspects of personal growth and success rather than the strictly woo-woo. But the lines between pragmatic personal-growth material and woo-woo are becoming increasingly blurred.(Of course, some say that's a good thing because it means that "spirituality" is infusing all aspects of life.) There's no denying that the same New-Wage gurus keep appearing in these moviemercials, over and over, and many of them do trade in the woo-ish. But, woo or not, the bait-and-switch tricks you described, Deb, are intensely annoying at best.

Monday, May 31, 2010 11:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Dave said...

Welcome back Connie. :-)

I like the good old-fashioned snark.

Monday, May 31, 2010 12:08:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Thanks, Dave. And I rather enjoy the good old-fashioned snarkin'. :-)

Monday, May 31, 2010 12:10:00 PM  
Anonymous disillusioned said...

Not to cast aspersions on these moviemercials--of which I know nothing at all......

A few years ago there was a fad of getting sponsors to invest in a projected self-help book that featured well-known usual suspects as a means to boost credibility and get your name known. For a price you could even get a co-author credit without writing anything at all except a hefty cheque. I had quite a few emails offering this opportunity for various projects. I smelt a rat and declined but also kept an eye on the bestseller lists in case any of the projects ever saw the light of day. Never spotted one. Vanity publishing is fairly well-known but this was a new twist being offered to therapists as a marketing ploy. It left me wondering how much of real deal these 'opportunities' ever were.
Being a hard-bitten cynic I assumed that once the cheque had been cashed the projected book quietly died. I'll never know, but strangely, I was reminded of these fantasy books when reading about the slow gestation of these moviemercials.

Monday, May 31, 2010 5:50:00 PM  
Blogger Karl said...

One of the latest fads seems to be a commentator or author gathers a group of self help and related people, interviews them all over a period of weeks allowing their mailing list to listen in live. The listeners also get the opportunity to purchase a downloadable version of the calls, transcripts and/or cds.
The people being interviewed get further exposure, possibly a share of the income derived from sales of the downloadable calls etc and also the chance to promote special offers: products or services.

More of a try before you buy type of thing

Tuesday, June 01, 2010 6:35:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Wow. I didn't mean to abandon this discussion. I got sidetracked. Anyway...

Disillusioned, I think I know what you're talking about, re those self-help book scams where, for a fee, a person can obtain the dubious privilege of being listed as an author. Generally there are a couple of "big" names attached to the project, which attracts the unknowns who are willing to pay money to have their names attached to something to which the big names are attached.

F'rinstance, there's this publisher named Linda Forsythe, who seemed to have a scheme like that going for a while. Got in a spot of trouble over it too, it seems. Linda is the publisher of Mentors magazine and the Walking With The Wise series. I blogged briefly about her back in December of 2008.

http://cosmicconnie.blogspot.com/2008/12/weeks-almost-overtime-to-snark-again.html
(Scroll down to the item, "Wanking...er...walking with the wise")

One of the links in that post leads to a 2006 discussion on a writers' forum about this matter...
http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=36328

Eye-rolling stuff.

Monday, June 07, 2010 4:49:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Yeah, Karl, there are all sorts of online schemes going on. If people feel they're getting value from purchasing transcripts or downloadable audios or CDs of a "free" call, who am I to argue? And more power to the folks who can squeeze a few bucks out of those calls. I don't begrudge them that.

What I find annoying are the h-dorks who promise that their products or events are life-changing, the "last one" you'll ever need, or "different from all the rest." That's just marketing talk, I know, but to me it is far more aggravating when it's done in the service of self-help/spirituality products than, say, beer or cosmetics.

Monday, June 07, 2010 4:59:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Roberta, I have no idea whether the hustledork moviemercials are doing more harm than good. That's not even the point. I'm sure some people find inspiration from some of these flicks, but I am equally sure that the big draw for a lot of folks is the opportunity to make a few bucks from affiliate programs. What I find so snarkworthy is that these films are all so tiresomely formulaic and that they're all trying to be another "Secret," to no avail. That train has left the station!

As for your declaration that you will "go see" some of the newer flicks I mentioned, perhaps it was an unconscious choice of words, but that almost sounds as if you are going to "go" to a movie theater to see them. In reality very few if any of these moviemercials are theatrical releases. Most of them are sold online from the beginning -- again, provided that they're ever completed and released in the first place. (Yes, I realize that sometimes these things are shown at spiritual centers or other public gathering places, but it's still not the same as a genuine theatrical release -- a "real" movie, in other words.)

Monday, June 07, 2010 5:11:00 PM  
Anonymous disillusioned said...

Cosmic Connie,
That was a great thread on the writers forum that you linked to, it clarified a lot of personal confusion that I have about the increasingly fluid boundaries between books produced and sold as marketing material/tools and books written primarily to inform/entertain etc which subsequently lead into marketing opportunities.
Murky, murky waters.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010 3:37:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Murky waters indeed, Dis. In my opinion much of the murkiness lies in how the products are represented, not only to the reading public but to potential participants or contributors. As long as publishing has been around there have been publishers who engage in deceptive practices. And I'm not just talking about the traditional "vanity presses" that claim to be actively "looking for manuscripts," and then charge authors a huge fee to package their work, with little care to editing and design, or support after the book is published. There are other types of "vanity publishing" too, such as those Who's Who directories where people pay money to have their names and accomplishments listed; and certain kinds of "poetry anthologies" where inclusion in the anthology is based solely on the poet's ability to pay for a spot, rather than on the merits of the poem.

I would honestly like to think that most people these days are sophisticated enough to know that it is not any particular sort of honor to be "chosen" for a fee-based Who's Who directory or a fee-based poetry anthology. Yet just a few years ago Ron and I had to bite our tongues when, during the regular "brag about your book" session we had at a meeting of our local authors/publishers group, one member stood up & proudly announced her poem had been "chosen" for a notorious poetry-scam book. She’d apparently already made the decision to participate and had paid the money, so it was too late to stop that, so everyone clapped politely. No one wanted to burst her bubble. I imagine most of us hoped she learned her lesson and has moved on.

IMO, though, the type of publication being discussed in the writers' thread & on my old blog post seem to add yet another layer of deception, and not just because of the amount of money involved (supposedly the "unknowns" were charged $5,000 for the privilege of having their words appear between the covers along with the likes of Deep Pockets Chumpra). There's also the deception about authorship of the pieces, which seems to be one of the issues with publications of this nature.

Granted, Ron and I make part of our own living as ghostwriters, and there are some sticklers who think all forms of ghostwriting are unethical. But the works we create as ghostwriters are based upon the ideas, notes, outlines, and in some cases the entire body of work of the individual clients, who are intimately involved in the process every step of the way. They don't just write a check and leave us to do what we want. In addition, we strive in every way to create works of merit. While we look upon nonfiction books as marketing tools for our clients (as part of their "branding," if you will), we don't treat them as throwaway products from which we ourselves try to squeeze every last buck we can before racing on to the next one.

That type of attention to merit and detail seems contrary to the way so many of the New-Wage marketers run their own businesses (which may explain why they have the Rolls-Royces and we don't, LOL). The New-Wagers just churn out the products, with a few big names attached, and go on to the next one.

In many cases they let other people do most of the work for them, a sort of gratis crowdsourcing. One of my fave snargets is working on a sequel to one of his "bestselling" books & is publicly inviting people, via a "survey," to share their experiences with the New-Wage method he's writing about. In return they get to have their name and web site listed (woo-hoo!), and, of course, "they will be helping a lot of people" by sharing their experiences. But the snarget's name is the one that will be on the cover, and he's the one who will get the advance and royalties (if his book is published by a trade publisher) or all of the proceeds (if he self-publishes). While not deeply deceptive, it still seems kinda smarmy to me.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010 11:03:00 AM  
Anonymous mojo said...

Isn't "The Opus" the one about the violin player? I've seen and read scads of these things, probably more than most New Agers--part of my job used to entail researching possible purchases for a library, and one must do due diligence before spending other people's money. They've all run together through the years, to be honest. (And no, it didn't make the cut. But for folks who use their local public library, almost ANYTHING worthwhile is available through the magic of Inter-Library Loan. For FREE!)

The one thing I *DO* remember about "The Opus" is, at the time when I was researching it, one of the few people who was talking about it online (at least showing up early in the search engines) was your pal Joe Vitale. So I searched for references on his blog. Everything up to the actual release of the video was typical Vitale hype, but then he actually REVIEWED it on when it came out, and his review was a decided "Meh. It's okay." No shaking hands or anything. To the point where the comments thread actually had Vitale's regular fans (at least I assume--maybe some of them were the same gushing folks that hit YOUR blog at the time) gasping in disbelief and wondering why he wasn't completely RAVING about it. To which he claimed that he couldn't lie--he thought it was okay, but he couldn't rave.

This kinda struck me as being rather uncharacteristic from what I've seen of the man--granted, it's mostly been filtered through this blog, so YMMV--so his decidedly cool review sort of stuck with me until I actually borrowed a copy from another library to preview it as part of my research. Okay, so I wasn't holding a stopwatch or anything, but my vague impression at the time was, Vitale's only in it for maybe five minutes of screen time. They hardly used him at all. Which, I suspect, MIGHT have had something to do with his tepid review, egos being what they frequently are. Perhaps I am wrong, but it's what I remember mostly about the whole thing.

It's no different than publishing, really, with everyone rushing to jump on the bandwagon after a standout hit, and filling the midlist with oodles of derivative works of varying quality. Think--from more recent memory--Da Vinci Code, Harry Potter wizard/magic stuff, and just about anything that involves vampires. Snore.

It'll slow down when either someone realizes that the poor horsie is indeed dead, or something that actually *is* new comes along that they can then mob and bandwagon to death. But not before.

In the meantime ... dear, dear Connie ... friend o' my heart ... do you think maybe you can use your awesome-though-apparently-nonexistent influence to convince them to at least adopt a DIFFERENT TYPEFACE? I am getting SOOOO TIRED of that same grungy-looking Papyrus or Zapfino nonsense. I mean, I used Papyrus once for a nondenominational spiritually-based peacemaking organization nearly TEN YEARS AGO. Little did I realize what a trendsetter I was, but now I am regretting it! Every time I see a New-Agey/New Thought/Natural Food logo done in Papyrus or some other antiquified font I just want to SCREAM.

I thank you in advance for this boon (ask... believe... receive...).

Tuesday, June 08, 2010 1:46:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Good points all, Mojo. The New-Wage moviemercial bidness is indeed much like the publishing business, or, for that matter, any other business where eager competitors flock to be the next big thing. It just seems more exquisitely annoying to me when the product pretends to offer the secret to life.

I never saw Joe's reviews of The Opus but I did hear plenty of his hype about it, including his enthusiastic video promo, which apparently occurred immediately after he and some of his fellow Secret stars were filmed. I don't wonder that he would be less than enthusiastic about the finished product if his actual role turned out to be so small. Perhaps Doug Vermeeren's fans are right when they claim that Doug really WAS trying to make his film different from the hustledork-ridden offerings of which we've seen so many.

In any case Joe still proudly lists The Opus as one of many "movies" he has "starred" in.

At the risk of having you request that I immediately surrender my Font Police badge and gun, I somewhat blushingly admit to having used Papyrus on a couple of fairly recent design projects, because it seemed to fit the task at hand and the client is partial to it. The projects were NOT New-Agey or spiritual, though one did have a bit of a jungle theme. I suppose that the use of Papyrus in "Avatar" really brought it to the forefront of overused faces. (Of note, the projects on which I used Papyrus were created before I even heard of "Avatar," so perhaps James Cameron copied me on that as well as copying my idea about a Whirled of blue-ish people.)

The only other "antiquified" face I use with glee is one I employ mostly in my satirical efforts: a TrueType creation called Blackadder, which I used when creating (for example) my Rhonda Byrne/Gollum comps. Given the essential snake-oiliness of the industry of which Rhonda is a part, the use of that particular font seems appropriate in more ways than one.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010 2:22:00 PM  
Anonymous mojo said...

Since Mojo is magnanimous I shall give you a free pass this once, since your topic matter wasn't spiritual or New Agey--although I must warn you, the jungle theme is pushin' it.

There's even a blog devoted to the many and sundry uses of Papyrus:

http://www.papyruswatch.com/

Some of them are very funny. As for Avatar ... well, we just don't TALK about Avatar. Except to point out that one time when I DID make the mistake of talking about Avatar with a teenaged fan I blithely repeated the old joke about "Dances With Smurfs" and he was MORTALLY OFFENDED. (Strangely enough, the old movie cliché of "mighty whitey"--the notion that the locals are too inferior to fight their own battles, and it takes a good-hearted outsider (teacher, warrior, etc.) to come in, master their ages-old culture in about three days, and then rally them and Show Them the Way--is somehow NOT offensive. Go figure.)

Bear in mind I am not a lawyer, but I think, if your client suggests Papyrus in the future, as a graphic designer you have the legal right to shoot them.

(And if you get bored with Blackadder there's always Grunge Caltek...)

Tuesday, June 08, 2010 3:57:00 PM  
Anonymous mojo said...

Before I get slammed for "hating" Avatar, here is my review when it came out:

http://www.mojocrap.com/craptacular/node/1660

For the folks too lazy to go see, no, I didn't HATE Avatar. Pull quote: "It was pretty good. Nothing special, but not bad.... One Avatar worshipper in some comments section of a review said something along the lines of there are two types of people in the world, those who do nothing but destroy and those saintlike people who try to build, and consequently anyone who doesn't utterly love Avatar MUST be in the "destroy" pile so they will never be accepted by the magical blue people."

Oh, my. There ya go, Connie. I don't think I was even thinking of you at the time, but ... I think I need to go lie down for a while and eat ice cream.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010 4:13:00 PM  
Anonymous surfaceearth said...

Extremely interesting take on the entire concept.

Glad we found your post.

Surface Earth

www.surfaceearth.com
www.surfaceearth.wordpress.com

Thursday, June 10, 2010 4:10:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Oops... got sidetracked again from the discussion.

Mojo, I am so relived that I get a free pass with the whole Papyrus thing. (Grunge Caltek looks a bit like "Thomas Paine" meets "University Roman." Interesting effect, though.)

And Avatar, oh, Avatar. Believe it or not, Ron and I are two of the three or four people on the planet who did not rush to see it while it was in the theaters. We kept telling ourselves we were going to, but we just never got around to making that trip into the Big City to see it. Nor did we rush out to buy it as soon as it came out on DVD. We waited a while and then popped into our local Movietown store and bought a "pre-viewed" copy.

We both enjoyed it, mostly for the stunning visuals (and I especially enjoyed it because of that whole blue-person meme), but neither of us thought that plot-wise or message-wise it was a *great* movie. Not even close, greatness-wise, to the LOTR Trilogy, and IMO, not even close, entertainment-wise, to Harry Potter. Plus, to me that whole "noble savage v. savage noble" motif is a little tiresome.

I LOVE your Craptacular review, by the way.

Speaking of Avatar, it's going to sort of be a theme in an upcoming blog post about my favorite sex cult, Access Consciousness. Stay tuned...

Friday, June 11, 2010 4:54:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Thanks for your comment, Surfaceearth.

Friday, June 11, 2010 4:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your picture of Douglas Vermeeren makes him look like a smurf.

Sunday, August 22, 2010 4:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Blaine said...

I actually enjoyed the Opus and I have to agree with the above comment of less Joe Vitale was better. The guy is a little silly. And to be honest I'm not really sure I believe too much of what some of these "guru" people are trying to sell us anymore or if they were ever as successful as they have been trying to tell us they are.

Having said that there are still a few who I find that I get useful information from. But nothing yet that has changed my life. What are your thoughts on the new movie Mr. Vermeeren is selling How thoughts become things? Will it be something new or same old rehashed stuff?

Thursday, September 09, 2010 7:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually Doug s a scam artist. He has taken Millions of dollars from people and lies trough his teeth about everything. Most of the positive comments you read about him on the net were posted BY HIM. Watch out! and don't give him money!

Friday, May 20, 2011 9:29:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Details, Anon?

Friday, May 20, 2011 10:58:00 AM  
Anonymous C. Patel said...

In regards to this last comment about him taking millions of dollars - How do you figure? You obviously have no idea what you are talking about.

The Opus is certainly not a "Million dollar" hollywood production. Everyone can see that. I was an investor in the Opus and although I certainly didn't make the money I was hoping for I have been treated fairly by Doug. By the way I have seen the numbers and the grand total on creating the Opus was just under $500K.

Sunday, March 11, 2012 11:19:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Thanks for weighing in, C. Patel. But I've heard other stories about some of Dougie's other activities, and they don't paint nearly such a rosy picture. Stay tuned, folks.

Friday, March 16, 2012 2:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Alison said...

You want the story of The Opus and Doug vermeern, here it is. I am an investor in The Opus. I have lost money (quite a bit actually, so I went digging.)

I have since had a full view of all legal and accounting documents related the Opus and money that was collected for that film. I am satisfied Doug Vermeern is an honest person. Doug Vermeern had two business partners (A company called EXITO Ventures) who collected funds for the production of the film and then tried to walk away with the money. (Those who are familiar with this deal know who I am talking about so I don't need to mention their names here.)

In the end a lot of people tried to blame Vermeern, yet they had no agreement with him personally or his companies. They had agreements with EXITO. Exito made promises based on several ventures they were raising funds for. Only a portion of the funds were ever given to the ventures they were designed to go to. They ended up in the pockets of the Exito partners.

Vermeern's agreement with Exito was to complete the film and endeavour to distribute it. Exito was then to be a partner in proceeds form distribution. Google The opus and you'll see that the film was completed and Vermeern has had the film in distribution.

After raising funds (and no one really know how much) EXITO tried to sabotage the distribution of the Opus and take it over. Legal battles followed. Distribution of The Opus stopped and any profits went into legal expenses. Naturally the EXITO Partners have been bad mouthing him ever since to cover their tracks. Vermeern is not a scam artist. He simply partnered with the wrong people in the creation of The Opus.

As an investor I have not made all of my money back, (Maybe I never will) but I have received some money back and Vermeern has been the ONLY one to actually supply independent reporting on what is happening with the film. One last note for the record Vermeern doesn't even manage the Opus or the finances of that film any more. He has given the management of the project completely over to a company in Germany called, Visions Power.

Sunday, April 22, 2012 5:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Don't Trust Dougie said...

I gave him $15,000 as an investment into an online savings site. The story he came up with is that the web developer walked with the money. Upon being called to witness at a lawsuit trial where another investor sued him successfully for $5,000 she had given him to invest, I learned he had paid the website developer $0 and that is why the site was never built. Is the guy a scam artist? You be the judge. He had the gall to ask me if I wanted to invest in a sequel to the Opus and make my money back. I declined of course.

Lawsuit records are public information by the way. So you can research that I'm telling the truth. He was sued successfully in Calgary, Alta Canada.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013 6:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I invested in the same website and have made money and the site is still up and running. Www.bigsavingssource.com by the way Doug facilitated the introduction to this company he didn't take a dime from it and I have been dealing directly with the owners of this venture. Not quite accurate reporting.

And by the way if you look into this lawsuit the web developer had been paid. The reason that Doug was involved in that suit is that one of the website partners was upset that they didn't make more money and sued because they felt there was money owed to them. The truth of the matter was that they had been removed from the company by their own inability to perform and felt that they should receive funds from the investors money. Ultimately they were awarded only $5000.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013 10:42:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Douglas John Vermeeren charged with Fraud. http://calgaryherald.com/business/local-business/monthly-millionaire-teacher-faces-fraud-illegal-trading-charges

Alberta Securities commission orders a cease and desist against Douglas Vermeeren

http://www.albertasecurities.com/Notices%20Decisions%20Orders%20%20Rulings/Enforcement/VERMEEREN%20Douglas%20John%20ORDER%202013%2003%2014%20%204457903%20v1.pdf

First Hand account of a Doug Vermeeren fraud victim
http://uscomplaints.com/miscellaneous/664796-the-monthly-millionaire-mentor.html

Tuesday, December 08, 2015 3:18:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Anon Tuesday, December 08, 2015 3:18:00 PM: Why am I not surprised? Thanks for the links.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015 3:53:00 PM  

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