Rob Adams and Adam Forgione

Wow. What a 24hrs it has been. I have been getting private messages all day. “Sal, what do you think of the Rob and Adam situation?” I have to admit, I first found out about it last night from an old friend and colleague in the video industry. He emailed me privately letting me know that shit was about to get real. If you are still unclear as to what is going on, apparently Rob Adams has lifted, copied, stole, (insert adjective here) from Adam Forgione. See video – password “stolen”

Let’s get a few things out in the open. One, Rob Adams writes for Shutter Magazine. Two, I consider Rob a friend. And finally, we live in a dog eat dog world. Trust me, I get it. The world of teaching, education, workshops, and the associated drama, is big big business. We have had recent flare ups with other big name speakers and whats been happening is just sad, frustrating, and just downright dumb. (See story) There are no excuses.

I am not here to take sides or inflame the situation. It is what it is. For those of you who know me and know my brand, I am one of the most logical people you will ever meet. I am definitely blown away by the pitchfork mentality of some of the other sites running this story, in some cases, less than 12 hours after it happened. Not because of its validity, but because its less than 24hours of this hitting and Rob has not had a chance to respond either way. Something I have learned over my life, there are three sides to every story, yours, mine, and the truth. I will acknowledge that the video is without a doubt damaging and incriminating. Personally, I felt I owed it to Rob to at least give him a chance to formulate a response before I wrote a single word or weighed in. The same opportunity I offered to others in similar situations here recently. (See story) Regardless, it is what it is.

I get it. I understand Adam’s frustration. Adam is a brilliant film-maker. As a speaker myself, I do get it. I would be FURIOUS, if someone took my material and regurgitated it in any way. That’s the point, its my material. Not that business concepts (which is what I teach) are unique to me, but the way I teach it IS. And I truly believe that is where Rob got in trouble.

I had the opportunity to speak directly with Rob this afternoon and he told me it was not with malicious intent that he did this and I believe him. I am not justifying it. I am not endorsing it. I am merely highlighting people make mistakes. And I believe this was one of them. However, when mistakes are made, there will always be backlash. As speakers, we have to be held to a higher standard, I am 100% for that. I am not perfect, but I try every day to make sure me and my team do the best job we can. And when you screw something up, the best thing you can do is try and make it right. A standard we should all hold ourselves to.

Below is Rob’s response. This is from Rob directly.

So, based on Rob’s response you be the judge. What are your thoughts?

>>>>>>>

I thank you all for your patience while I read and took in all of your comments and this situation. I wanted to respond with an answer as best as I could and in less than 24 hours and I believe I have done that.

When I first saw this video post, I thought to myself “What did I do? Did I do this??” I had to take a good look at it, myself, my intentions and my entire presentation to find answers as I took Adam Forgione’s course years ago and taught that specific class over a year ago. It wasn’t easy, but I was ready to be honest with myself if I did make mistakes.

From what was shown, more than 90% of this is basic filmmaking concepts…..

The comparisons address universal video principles like time-shifting (first brought to wedding cinema by David Robin in 2006, and a part of movies for years before that) and facetime (so generic a term that Apple uses it), that are taught the same way no matter who teaches them. It is much like if you were teaching in photography how to expose for ettl off-camera-flash – “expose for the background” (you’ll hear that exact phrase every time) or industry trade-secrets that are as old as the day is long (like walla-walla since the “early days of radio” and music theory and timing which we can trace back to the BC era —- For the record, I am a guitar and bass player and have been for years and learned my music theory from that), regardless I think that as speakers and educators we’re called to a higher standard. Forgione didn’t invent those basic concepts that I spoke about; neither did any other educator teaching those concepts today.

The editor of this video, (said to be… (NAME REMOVED BY SAL), malevolently took a skewed microscope to 18 hours of one of my workshops on creativeLIVE, and then had to search through three separate workshop video and audio bits of Adam Forgione’s in order to pull up about 6 minutes or .005% of similarities. 80% of which is attested for above in basic cinema or worldly concepts, so that the only thing that can accurately be said to have been regurgitated from his workshops was about .001% of my entire workshop. Anyone could make a mash up like that from pretty much any two speakers speaking on the same topic because they’re teaching THE SAME TOPIC and the same basic principles need to be taught. To say that my entire workshop and educating career over the past four years is all fraudulent and fabricated based on .005% of debatable material is a gross exaggeration and a purposeful insult from those who already had a vendetta that they were looking to validate and who typically thrive on stirring the pot whenever they can as seen in this “warning” message I got earlier in the day:


As I’ve mentioned numerous times in other forums like this one, I’ve clearly been influenced and inspired by Adam Forgione, Ray Roman, David Robin, Joe Simon, Dave Williams, and many of my other industry peers. I have nothing but respect for them. Their teaching and work continue to impress me because their concepts work and I use them in my business alongside with concepts I’ve come up with myself and others I’ve learned over the years from my Video Production College education. It’s the cycle of learning: You learn, then you do, then you teach.  I’ve implemented their concepts along with many others through out my 15 years of education into my business, made it my own, adapted it to work for me and now teach what works for my business and me. I’m sure some of their presentations style and vocabulary have leaked into my presentation and way of explaining things because it’s how I was taught it and how I remember it subliminally. But to say that I am now at fault to complete plagiarism of all of my educator works is absurd; and all over not mentioning in that workshop instance that I learned things from a Forgione workshop two years prior (as I did mention I learned from Ray Roman in that workshop). It’s a wild overreaction and an illogical exaggeration.

However, regardless of how miniscule the percentage of seemingly copied verbiage and jokes that were in my workshop, I do believe that as educator’s we are called to a higher standard. I should have, 100%, quoted or given credit to Forgione for anything even partially resembling his workshop material. I could have easily done so while teaching and this entire thing would have been completely moot, but I failed to for a variety of reasons including not realizing it was so similar or simply forgetting to credit where I remembered it from in this particular instance, even though I have said it before. It was absolutely not my intent to plagiarize or rip off any of his material, but only to give good information. I am truly sorry for this and all of the hurt it caused Forgione and others. I only wish that Forgione had come to me first rather than seeing the video that someone else made and taking it as a representation of my entire education career. I do hope that others will not be so fooled.

In the future, I plan on working to regain the trust and respect I have lost, first with my family and friends, and then with my peers.

Again, I am truly sorry for the happening and will be happy to make any public, in-person apologies as well. I do, humbly, ask for your forgiveness and understanding, though seemingly undeserved.

Rob Adams

This Post Has 85 Comments

  1. Sean

    “I went to a company, and I showed them some edits that I had, that I didn’t shoot, and I told them that I did shoot it. So I did fib on that, but I knew, you gotta do what you gotta do to get ahead and I had full confidence that I could pull it off better than the guys who shot it”. Adam Forgione speaking on The Wedding Jeannie by C&G podcast in 2011.

    So this is the moral compass we all look to when it comes to wedding cinematography? So what if Rob took some of your teaching points…ya gotta do what ya gotta do to get ahead right Adam??

  2. Sean D.

    Wow, what a great response.

    I purchased and went through the CL course and thats not only where I learned of Rob and Vanessa, but the first time I heard about the idea of wedding cinematography in general. Loved it, and I’ll content Rob is the top of his field (at least here on the East Coast).

    Throughout the course I got a feel for Rob’s personality as a bit cocky, very confident and somewhat controlling, I also got the sense that he had an intense passion for wedding cinematography. Almost every photographer and videographer I’ve met doesn’t want to do weddings, Rob does, and since this is the biggest day in most people’s lives, its a shame that they have to deal with “professionals” that only do it because “its where the money is”

    With that said, I don’t think Rob had to give any response. I don’t think he has anything to apologize for and definitely doesn’t own anyone anything. The fact that he did, and did it so elegantly really shows a lot about his true character and is a GREAT example for anyone looking to get into arts professionally. I personally was moved by it and will continue to follow his career.

    Look at his work, it speaks for itself. Honestly, I think is pretty arrogant to discount all the value Rob brought to the course from his personal experience, as if without this other guy’s teachings, it would have been worthless.

    Have you been to collage? I paid good money for my education, My professors quoted books, articles, other mentors of theirs, sometimes gave them credit, sometimes didn’t. I used to teach guitar lessons… did my students know who my teachers were? Nope, not really, they didn’t care.

    And yes, ever since I saw that segment on choosing a mic, I’ll drop it when someone asks me why does everyone use SM58s. I don’t give Rob any credit, and he’s yet to sue me or accuse me of stealing (sounds like I should be careful tho, this other guy might).

    Bottom line, you can’t own ideas, you can’t lock them up behind an add to cart button and publicly shame anyone who repeats them.

  3. Larry

    After watching both unedited workshops, I have come to the conclusion that at the very least, Rob Adams was a lazy, unoriginal Adam Forgione wannabe and at most, a thief. It’s sad that his laziness cost him and his wife’s reputation. My father used to tell me always to protect your reputation because it is hard to earn and even harder to get back if lost. Two other things my father used to say was that it’s human nature for someone to do anything if he thinks he can get away with it but it is a man of character to make the right choices; and lastly, that if you don’t have any talent, you’ll be forced to steal.

  4. Larry

    The poster, Cal may have a point. I used to be of the opinion that Rob intentionally and maliciously lifted his presentation from Adam but right now I’m not so sure.
    I’ve watched Adam’s videos and actually thought that I’ve heard the same rehashed concepts before from other presenters at audio seminars , books and online.
    As a matter of fact, Adam’s presentation at times was a rehash of Rich Topham Jr’s (Pro-Sound.com) audio presentation. I did learn a lot of new concepts from Adam however and thought that he put a lot of his wealth of experience into his lecture.
    The editing of the video does play a huge part in convincing the viewer that it was stolen. I did come to that conclusion after watching it the first time.
    What made me think that maybe, just maybe, Rob didn’t steal it is that makes a clear mistake in his presentation. Rob’s Audio Pipeline graphic mistakenly puts Source – Line – Microphone – Recorder (Since when does someone speak into a cable) whereas Adam get his graphic and info correct with the sound source then the microphone etc. If Rob was just outright plagiarizing then his graphic would be correct and exactly like Adams. Right now, this juror is still out on this subject. I think that some egos may have been bruised here and some people have definitely jumped to conclusions.

  5. Syd

    Correction to my comment. Not to disparage the guy who wrote the point by point rant as crazy, just crazy that he took the time to write it. Sheer madness that he had the time in the first place. I’m thinking that’s what people meant when his comment was mentioned. No reason to be mean to a guy who worked so hard to state his opinion.

    I mean, since you’re allowing corrections, right?

  6. Syd

    Someone told me to come and read the crazy point by point lunatic rant of a photographer with a damaged frontal cortex and then go look at his website.

    A picture does speak a thousand words. The music screams the refrain.

    We make films. We learned about Ray Roman and Adam Forgione with this public breach of integrity. Looking forward to learning more about them, but we want our money back from the Rob Adams cL workshop we paid for out of his pocket.

  7. David Allen

    I can only say one thing. Someone needs to look into other training seminars of Rob Adams and see if he has ripped off (copied) other presenters.I am sure he has. I am not a college graduate like Mr. Adams. but this is my opinion. I think his degree was in acting, Not “film making”. An to hold his partner (wife) Vanessa Joy blameless is a mistake. Who do you think is his director and helps him write the scripts ?

  8. Sergi Yavorski

    @Cal
    Thanks for the write-up. It’s good one. But I have to tell you you are wrong if you think photography just amounts to showing up 15 minutes prior with a small bag, etc.

  9. Sergi Yavorski

    @ Jim Malmstrom

    I’m surprised that someone as foul-mouthed as you is given the time of the day here. You should go and frequent gossip columns somewhere. You hardly make any sense.

  10. Joe McDonald

    Is this the THIRD SIDE

  11. Cai

    I´ll admit, at first I jumped to the conclusion that the video was an accurate portrayal of expropriation. Upon further critical examination (damn you frontal cortex!), the facts may be very different than the conclusions many of us seem to have initially jumped to.

    I have over ten years of film/video experience and have written extensive formal curriculum on the subject. Hopefully the following helps other photographers, who may not have extensive video experience, better understand why this video appears to be edited out of context. In other words, intended for all the photographers, with no formal/informal training, who don´t know jack about video and simply believe the video function on their camera makes them an expert in all visual media. The differences between photographer and videographer/cinematographer go far beyond similarities of what is produced by either. For video, it may take truckloads of equipment and several hours or days to set up. Of course, the photographer´s job is just as difficult: show up with a small bag, fifteen minutes prior, then find a strategic location between the videographer and essentials. OK, fortunately these asshole photogs aren´t the norm, just wanted to establish that my video experience, at a minimum, qualifies me to point out a few things I noticed in the ¨stolen¨ video.

    The video is taken from two video workshop instructors, one by Adam Forgione and one by Rob Adams.

    1. Anchor (00:12 and 00:23)

    Everyone has heard the term News Anchor. What does it really mean? ¨Anchor¨ is a common video/broadcasting term meaning dominant.

    Context: Furgione and Adams are talking about having an underlying theme. Like a book or any other ¨story¨, video works best if it has an underlying theme. If you have no video experience and your friend gives you three hours of her wedding video, what would you most likely use to try and create a story with? It just makes sense to put B roll of the wedding over the A roll of friends and family telling who the couple is and why they are special (i.e., their wedding ¨story¨).

    2. 4/4 time signature (00:34 and 00:40)

    ¨Most songs are in fact 4/4 time¨…yep, sure are. Also referred to as ¨common time¨…because it´s so common! BTW, from now on you can no longer say: f8 and be there, use the rule of thirds, move in closer, the sky is blue, etc.

    Context: common musical reference.

    3. Waltz (00:51 and 01:11)

    Context: Seems like they are both trying to relate to their audiences with common references. Tom Waits or Fiona Apple may have some 3/4 songs but are a little more abstract in comparrison. Off the top of your head, can you name one waltz or example of 3/4 time?

    4. Song Climax (01:32 and 01:38)

    ¨the song will grow and climax.¨

    Context: Yeah, songs tend to do that. From now on musicians are not allowed to instruct other musicians on any of the following:

    ▪ Breaks create a tension that lead power to the next section
    ▪ Have most elements come in and repeat every 8 or 16 measures
    ▪ Have the breakdown around 50% in the track
    ▪ Have the climax after the breakdown or around %50-%60 into the song
    ▪ Create change and interest in your song by breaking it up a little with melodic changes or drum breaks
    ▪ Most pop songs are 3:30 and electronic songs can be any length, but to keep a really tight song that keeps interest try and keep it on the shorter side.
    ▪ There is a difference between the dance floor and the bedroom. On the dance floor and live take out mostly intros and have songs last around 5-8 minutes to keep the beat and audiences attention. Bedroom is much more fluid and shorter attention span.

    So that´s why music is awesome! Dance floor.. bedroom…climax!

    Work Cited: Parts That Make a Song Structure, https://www.subaqueousmusic.com/production-articles/music-theory/86-dubstep-and-electronic-music-song-structure

    5. Emotional Moment

    ¨those are big moments and that´s what I´ll put on the chorus ones.¨

    Context: Ever made a photo slideshow and noticed the timing was off with the photos (cuts) and music? Once you have that process down, the next thing you might notice is how crappy pics hitting musical peaks are pretty annoying too. What ARE the best shots to accompany musical climaxes in a wedding video? OK, not a fair question since there are just tons and tons and tons of great highlight clips available to a wedding videographer.

    6. Ceremony Audio Grid

    Audio is a key area that many photographers just don´t understand. If anyone thinks this is an indication of ¨stealing¨, then the basis for saying so is extremely ignorant. In photographers terms, a source, mic and recorder is like saying a camera, a light and a subject. Hey, let me rephrase that: camera(™), a light(™) and a subject(™). Use these terms in your workshops at your own risk!

    There´s a lot more content that I would address in the same way. If you are ignorant about audio, video, music, editing, etc. then don´t be so quick to judge. Oh crap, I take back everything since I just noticed they both dropped the microphone in a similar fashion. Oh wait, is that a Shure-58 which has a reputation of repeated demonstrations on how tough it is? It Shure is! ( Shure SM58 – the world’s toughest microphone? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33QPLbQi9FI )

    The ¨stolen¨video is simply edited in a way to make it look like Rob Adams stole a workshop. Go to the NAB workshops, walk out of one workshop and into the workshop in the next conference room and you´d be amazed at how similar they sound. Go to a Photoshop conference, record a week of instruction and then you could probably make your own inaccurate accusation video. The bottom line is that neither of these videos address anything other than common practices among experienced videographers. Show this to your friends with extensive video experience and ask their opinion on this ¨stolen¨workshop video.

  12. Matt Kennedy

    Wow, I am amazed at some of the comments people are putting in here when they won’t even put their own names down. I think you’ve navigated a tough situation with grace and humility Sal, and I would also say the same for Rob. It seems like a no-win situation here, but I’m glad Rob is taking the bull by the horns and not backing down. I would love to see a live video interview with these guys…it’s easy to craft responses and fight over text…but we all now that it’s way too easy to misread something written and skew it to the bias that the reader already has. Surely two level headed individuals like Adam and Rob could be cordial and shed some light on here. Perhaps Adam has done the same thing in his teachings as Rob is being accused of now. It’s sad that our industry is so sinister to itself, but I’m glad that you’re putting your three cents in Sal. Keep it up!

  13. Diana

    Look, as I posted on another website (thus plagiarizing myself), Adam taught a workshop on wedding videography techniques. What he didn’t teach was a workshop on how to teach a workshop on wedding videography techniques. The similarities are beyond coincidental. If Rob only practiced what he learned in Adam’s workshop, no harm, no foul. That’s what Adam was teaching.

    My opinion, and of course everyone has one just like that other thing they also have, is that perhaps Rob should take a break from teaching and do a little reflection. I don’t think this should harm his career producing wedding films. He obvious has learned a great deal from Adam and others and does nice work. His clients don’t care about the workshop.

    But I think this serves once again, superstahs, that you are on notice that we really don’t like it when you appropriate something that belongs to another. Sue Bryce didn’t invent the classical portrait and glamour techniques she uses; what she did was create a workshop, a style, and a method that really isn’t like anyone else’s. Adam Forgione didn’t invent cinematic or musical techniques. He did create a workshop, a style, and a method that isn’t like anyone else’s. Sal Cincotta didn’t invent business and marketing. He pushes it forward in a way that people can understand and hear in a way that’s different than anyone else. That’s the difference. Rob isn’t ready to teach; but please, by all means, keep making videos. Even though I have never liked his persona, I have no desire to punish him to the extent he can’t make a living with wedding videos. Just don’t teach workshops.

  14. Jim Malmstrom

    This guy Rob is an obvious thief but it’s worse than that; he’s lazy and dumb as dirt too. I mean he couldn’t even take the time and effort to re-work the material to give himself a chance at getting away with it? This is verbatim stuff – wow!

    And why would this website give him a forum to go public with his lame-ass excuses and half-assed apology? ISN’T THAT FOR YOUR OWM WEBSITE ROBBY ??

    JJM

  15. steven

    This non-apology is what is classically known as the insert foot into mouth while the other foot is already in your mouth trick.

    Rob, be a man and own up to your mistake. Don’t pile lies upon lies. Drop out of WPPI so that Adam can rightfully go. Move on. Change your career because you’re done in your current one…

  16. Embarrassed

    I am not going to comment on content that this article is about, as it is not my place. What I do want to comment on is how embarrassed I am to be part of an industry where a single person or group of persons encourages witch hunts that result from an ‘outting’. I am even more outraged to see people that I previously respected participate in them. How does public humiliation and threatening a person and their families make this right? How can we even call ourselves PROFESSIONAL photographers acting the way we do? Would we want our clients to see these actions publicized? There has to be better and much classier ways to resolve these issues.

  17. Sergi Yavorski

    Jenny, Adam has no case whatsoever. That’s why he dragged this into the public court so to speak. For him to have a case, all his teachings word-by-word have to be copyrighted — which can’t be done.

  18. Sergi Yavorski

    Jess, nothing was damaged for CL. There’s no case of copyright infringement. Specific wordings in teaching are not subject to copyright. You can’t patent that.
    Just because you personally dislike Rob, does not mean he deserves your attack on his character.

  19. Sergi Yavorski

    People, what damage are you talking about? Now that everyone knows some Adam’s working have been used, where’s the damage. Do we not have better things to do with our time than blowing up this little incident?
    IMO. Rob has nothing to apologize to the public for. He haven’t stolen anything from the public. This is/should be entirely between him and Adam. Stop this silliness!

  20. Sergi Yavorski

    Adam, you have made a big mistake dragging this into the public. It was your private issue with Rob and now you have made a mess out of it. There will be people who will loose respect for you as a person. I know I did.

  21. jess

    Creative Live has to take some responsibility for this. They must have copyright wording in their contracts. And what’s with Chase Jarvis and CL promoting yet another content thief? Bad judgement on his behalf and the CL brand has been damaged.

    CL should pay Adam any income made from Rob’s workshop and then collect that from Rob. There’s no excuses for this type of behavior. The PDF will be the damning document if it goes to lawyers. Rob has always struck me as a sleazy sales type, there was just something about his delivery that wasn’t sincere.

  22. Matt

    A student becomes a teacher and teaches what he learned? Say it isn’t so.

  23. Jenny Lens

    Ooops, I meant [Sal], typo. I have NO problem with anyone asking Sal to edit comments. I edit my posts and comments on FB all the time. I’d fix that typo if I could. Ppl are allowed to review and edit their posts and comments. IMHO.

  24. Jenny Lens

    PS I gotta add: Rob’s statements are weak. I understand [Say] saying you are being neutral, but you are going easy on him. But ya know, you took some serious action (removing his column) and responding to all this, during the very busy holiday season. I applaud you for that. As for Rob’s statements: grow a pair and own up. Rob’s words are VERY childish …. he’s throwing a temper tantrum. Anyone around young kids would recognize this style and where blame is placed. On the very person he damaged. Believe me, ppl are much more forgiving when ppl are honest and cop to their deliberate, malicious acts. When you ‘repurpose’ so much of someone’s else’s work, it’s is VERY damaging to the creator and therefore malicious. Own up to it. Study the law before responding. In fact, talk to a lawyer and learn just how much wrong was committed and how strong is Adam’s case. Not just an apology to Adam. Do something to make it right. Stop acting like a baby. As Joey Grey as the Wizard of Oz sings in Wicked: “the most celebrated are the rehabilitated.” But mean it. Don’t do it just to move on. Learn from it.

  25. Jenny Lens

    Thank you Sal for always behaving prudently and with integrity. It’s very tricky to build a business and then find out one of your contributors is getting heat for something controversial and damaging. As Adam said, don’t blame WPPI, CreativeLive, etc. Same goes for Behind The Shutter and Sal Cincotta. Sal’s prompt and thoughtful words and actions are a great example how to respond. Didn’t take a petition or heated comments. Bravo Sal. I DO feel that a certain online teaching site should offer refunds to those of us who bought from ppl later revealed to be lacking integrity. Oh well … at least Sal leads by example. Happy Holidays to you and Taylor, and your expanding multi-media empire. You rock, and I mean that nicely. You truly are a rock star in photography. I hesitate to use those terms, cos I truly photographed and knew major rock stars. It’s become a trite saying. Let’s say you are a beacon of light and inspiration.

    1. admin

      thank you jenny!

  26. Ron

    Sal,

    I just wanted to add one thing about what you said, since some of this has been directed toward you. You acknowledged that if someone did this to you, you would be furious. You even used all caps to make your point. But in talking to Rob, he said that it wasn’t with malicious intent that he did this, and you believed. That’s the only place where I think people may have been put off. How does someone deliberately copy someone else’s style — and worse, their material — and not have done it maliciously? What other way is there to do it? Was this one of those things where copying one’s style should be equated with flattery? I just don’t see how Rob could have done this in a friendly, gracious manner. You take someone’s material, claim it as your own. Copy their style. You yourself said you would be furious.

    I agree with all that you’ve done, it’s just that one comment that bothered me.

  27. Travis Cossel

    Hey Sal, I just wanted to clarify that I should have said I disagree with editing an apology, not that I disagree with allowing someone to edit an apology (my beef was not with you). Can I edit my previous post? lol … kidding. d;-)

    1. admin

      🙂

  28. Travis Cossel

    Just my opinion, but I really disagree with allowing someone to edit out part of an apology (after it’s been posted) because it makes them look bad. It really invalidates the entire effort and it’s authenticity.

    1. admin

      I dont disagree with you. however, keep in mind, we are not the ny times. 🙂 it was a decision rob made and i honored it as it made sense to me at the time – 5min after we posted it. at this point, i would never adjust something once its been out there, but 5min after it was posted seems reasonable to me. sorry if that taints anything for people – clearly not my intent.

  29. Mama Dog Photog

    Sorry I did not preface my comment by acknowledging the stand you did take with your business in canceling his column. That was a difficult and admirable thing to do, the right thing to do. But just a piece of a bigger picture…the perception of what’s real in this situation.

    1. admin

      thank you. a very hard decision without a doubt.

  30. Mama Dog Photog

    It’s a pretty hard place to be in to have a friend be involved in a bit of a scandal in an industry where you are working so hard to be a strong voice. The things we value in human relationships…loyalty, friendship and love are not qualities that get thrown out because a friend does something stupid. Healthy friendship means the friend is autonomous with their own lives, feelings and dealings. I understand that. But I think your friend should have crafted his apology on his own web space and you could have linked to it because you are letting your business that is more than just you, Behind the Shutter stand behind his stupidity and his lame apology, giving it the support of your business. But it is what it is. Your blog is your personal forum.

    Maybe if his apology wasn’t so weak. His apology is a non apology. I am once again disappointed and my team of young photographers/film makers are disgusted and want their money back for his creativeLIVE we purchased and have Ray Roman’s. We’re not stupid, we can see the workshop had too many similarities and we’ve heard Joe Simon and others speak, bought the Hailey Bartholomew workshop. What was it Zac Arias said to David Jay about standing on the shoulders of the giants before him and just crapping on what came before him? This feels like the same thing. Only he personally knew the guys that came before him and taught him so well. I hope your friend takes some time and talks to some people with life experience because believe me, anyone who has run a business successfully got there by getting past stupidity and mistakes. Good people make stupid mistakes, they prove their goodness with how they own up to them. Perception IS reality sometimes.

  31. Helena Hanbasket

    Of course it’s a ‘conspiracy theory’. Classic catch-all response when you can’t come up with any sort of coherent argument.

    Of course I read your slanted fluff piece. How else would one be able to gauge your sympathy for your friend(s) (see the article on Doug Gordon’s similar infractions) without slodging through them? You claim to be unbiased, but see fit to include ‘friend’ or the inference of friendship more that four times in a 5-paragraph piece. If that isn’t a misguided attempt to draw sympathy, I’m not sure what is.

    Hence the reference to duality in your ‘stance’, for which you claim to have none. Hyperbolic much?

    You seem to think you’re above reproach because you can talk out of both sides of your mouth. Congratulations, but all that proves is that you can eat the hell out of an ear of corn.

    At the very least, admit you’re biased. You DO have a horse in the race, and at whatever cost, you’re casting your vote. But maybe you don’t even realize you’ve done so. It is possible, I suppose, that your subconscious mind inserted certain words and phrases to alter the readers perspective and garner at least a small vein of sympathy for someone so obviously rattling off the rails. Either way, you’re more vested than you think.

    So your trite and condescending response to my comment is unnecessary, and I’ll be tapping out here. I’ll watch for details elsewhere.

    1. admin

      thank you for tapping out. makes me very happy. we are all stocked up on crazy here… no need for any more. not sure if you read… Robs column has been cancelled. I can definitely see my bias in that. You have exposed me for the fraud I am. Sympathy? I literally just spit my coffee out of my mouth. I was being transparent in my relationship with Rob. Should I not mention that? You know what would happen then? People like you would then accuse me of hiding the fact that I am friends with him… launching yet another conspiracy theory. If there were any bias on my part… not sure how you address the cancelling of his column yesterday? If disclosing my relationship with Rob has garnered sympathy from anyone… I am pretty sure thats been lost on both me and everyone commenting. Pretty sure I could have altered my language tremendously to get that sympathy you accuse me of looking for.

  32. Helena Hanbasket

    How do you allow someone to edit their apology?

    It really speaks volumes that Rob was allowed a large forum to speak his peace, but Adam had to wait for ‘approval’ for his side to be voiced, and only in the comments section. Why not give the same courtesy to Adam to voice his side?

    Quote- “Let’s get a few things out in the open. One, Rob Adams writes for Shutter Magazine. Two, I consider Rob a friend.” So that gives carte blanch to rant like a lunatic, and then edit portions of it, carte blanche, once Rob realized he was sounding a little ‘fringe’?

    You can’t have it all ways, Sal.
    “I am not here to take sides or inflame the situation. It is what it is.” ” I am definitely blown away by the pitchfork mentality of some of the other sites running this story” & “So, based on Rob’s response you be the judge. What are your thoughts?”

    You castigate ‘other’ sites for creating a ‘pitchfork’ mentality, allow for comments on the situation, and then attempt to take the high road? You’re doing the same thing you accuse others of doing, and it all comes down to driving traffic to your site. By Rob being a ‘friend’, it entitles you to a certain proximity to tell a story, and this statement speaks volumes as to where you sit in all of this, despite your thinly-veiled attempts to state otherwise.

    “I had the opportunity to speak directly with Rob this afternoon and he told me it was not with malicious intent that he did this and I believe him.”

    Really? There’s something I have taught to my own children, and in light of your proximity to several of these offenders, you might be wise to take under advisement.

    You are barreling down the rail, and know that this train you ride is heading for the cliff. It’s precarious, life-threatening. You have two choices; while it’s admirable to want to stay on the train, you need to collect your own baggage and escape with your life. There’s not much point in going over the cliff, as well, when your own fate is attached.

    At some point, you have to be able to detach from friends, and stand on your own when you know things are not right. When someone is hell-bent on self destruction, the common thought process is to never abandon your friends in their time of need, but at what point do you assess your own role? There is not one person in this world that can save someone that does not wish to be saved, and upon reading the facetious attempt at an apology from Rob, it should be obvious that he is willing to go over the cliff. Especially in light of claims to the contrary that no sides are taken, it surely seems to the contrary.

    Anyone can see what Rob did, and now we know from Adam that there was more plagiarism left on the cutting room floor, but not shown due to trying to be prudent with time. Adam is clearly upset over this, and rightfully so. And to add insult to injury, Rob blathers on for a good bit about how it’s everyone else’s fault but his.

    There’s a clearly defined pattern emerging here, and it’s time we stop allowing it to happen.

    1. admin

      Helena – I would love to turn this into a conspiracy theory, but they have this new crazy blog technology called “approval”. Lets not get overly dramatic. Adam posted his comment at 12:30am. Sadly, I was sleeping. Adam was given the same courtesy… was his post not approved? Do you not see it? Adam had his voice on over a dozen sites. I dont think we needed to hear any more of it. Adam made his point. I offered to Rob a chance to respond just like I did others before him.

      I cant have it both ways? Did you read my article? Or are you one of those people who pick and choose what I write to fit your needs? This EVENT was posted by Adam and every major site carried it in less than 12hours without getting all the information and without giving Rob a chance to respond. THAT WAS MY POINT. Nothing more nothing less. That is in fact a valid point. Rob has been hung in the court of public opinion. Again, another fact. That, again, was my point. I am not supporting or condemning what Rob OR Adam did for that matter. It is what it is.

      Speaks volumes to where I sit? Are you being serious right now? This is Rob’s apology. Not mine. It is not my place or prerogative to tell Rob how to feel or how to say it. He is his own man. He has his own version of events. I merely gave him a place to communicate that. Something every person is owed. I make no apologies for that. His column was cancelled yesterday in the magazine. So, tell me, what does that tell you about where I sit? Don’t try to make things up that dont exist.

      Helena – thanks for your worldly advice. Please understand, I am going to pass on it. I think I will be ok. I am perfectly ok with this and my response and position. If cancelling someones column doesnt clearly show my separation of friendship and what I believe to be right and wrong, I am not sure there is anything i can do to make you happy here.

      ***NEW*** How do I let someone change their post? Kinda like I just did here. I posted something and wanted to add or change something. Crazy. I know. ITS ROB’S APOLOGY! Literally, 5min after it was posted, he read it and didnt like the way it read and wanted to change something. I changed it for him.

  33. Fernando

    Great! A man´s career and life destroyed. Are you happy now guys?

  34. inta g

    When J Star and mister Gordon was cought they got very upset, then they vaguely apologized ….now this? why BIG names in industry think its is ok until they get caught? STOP Photo Stealers is doing great job…

  35. Chris

    I wonder if Rob would feel offended if the situation was reversed? If he was the one that provided a course that Adam attended and then provided “at a cost” to others to learn the craft of wedding photography? It’s one thing to pay homage to a mentor, it’s totally another thing to blatantly rip off line for line and word for word in some cases the material that you have heard in someone’s class. Just because you paid for it or it is “industry standard” doesn’t mean you can pass it off as your own and expect to get away with it, no matter how “intelligent” and articulate your “response” to the crisis is. If there was no intent as to how this happened, why is there SO MUCH activity and backlash in the community in response to what Rob Adams seems to think is “a coincidence” because it is industry standard information? Call it for what it is, don’t try to spin it to suit yourself….”geez I am sorry I used the same phrasing as everyone else would” doesn’t cut it when you are talking to educated people who have a brain in their head. Don’t be so naive! If I took your course material Rob and sold it as my own, I am sure you would have your lawyers banging on my door before I could cry “industry standard material”. What a crock of shit.

  36. Rob, all you really had to say was “I AM SORRY”. When you are explaining, you are losing. I was with you until you started over analyzing (.001%, 005%, 90%, etc) at which point I was done. Just issue a statement with about four sentences and make sure to include the last two sentences and be done with it.

    Admit you are wrong (no matter what degree of culpability) and move on. Americans love to forgive, if you show truly show amends.

  37. Photographer

    If Rob has nothing to hide, why is he blocking people from his facebook? All I did was “like” a question (not even an accusation, just a request for information) and I -along with anyone else who referenced this issue – was blocked from his page.

  38. Eric Sartoris

    Sal… Did you allow Rob to edit his “apology”, and then repost the new version?

    1. admin

      I did. We posted the apology and then there was something he asked that we removed. I honored that request – since ultimately, this is his apology.

  39. Adam Forgione

    this is my public response :

    1. I worked really hard on this stuff and I am mad at Rob for what he did to me.
    2. I believe he was fully aware of what he was doing
    3. I wanted him to stop teaching my style and I would never know for sure unless I exposed him to the industry
    4. I have no problem with him or any attendee copying the style I teach at my workshops if they are just using it to make wedding films, although I always encourage and hope attendees will take what they need and create their own style
    5. What rob did greatly affects my business and that is personal to me and my family.
    6. I would be fully willing to speak at a public event with Rob Adams covering both our workshops and proving his .005% theory is a lie (this statement from Rob mad me very mad), lets all watch hours together then. I edited the 12 minute video because it proves the point in 12 minutes and it shows the exact moments that made my jaw drop while watching.
    7. A screenshot was shown (and then removed here, why I have no idea). Rob seemed to imply I was planning something mischievous all along. It was me saying that I want more drama and it was taken off a popular wedding cinematography and photography Facebook forum. If anyone knows me, they know I’m a wise guy and that it is common for me to horse around with my peers in this group. Many of us do it for fun. The post he was referring to was obviously something I said out of fun before I found out.
    8. I always thought Rob as talented and I have no idea why he would even need to do this. I hope he cleans his slate and I am willing to forgive him one day, as I hope others do too because we all make mistakes. Right now, I am mad at him and I hope for a personal apology someday with no excuses (ex. Adam I am very sorry….)
    9. I do not want to be affiliated with anything he is affiliated with so I will be contacting any 3rd party companies and organizations to remove me if he is attached.
    10. Lastly AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, anyone who blames or bashes organizations like WPPI, CreativeLIVE, Exposed Down Under, etc are 100% wrong. Don’t even go there. These organizations had no idea and in my opinion owe NO ONE an explanation for Rob’s actions, Rob does. They are probably waiting for contact with Rob and are just as shocked as you. They are not to blame so please do not bad mouth any of these EDU programs that help us grow as an industry. Please respect #10 please.

    For everyone involved remember time heals


    additional responses to this site :

    From what was shown, more than 90% of this is basic filmmaking concepts…..
    I AM NOT DEBATING, IT’S THE STYLE, APPROACH, AND WORDING OBVIOUSLY

    you’ll hear that exact phrase every time) or industry trade-secrets that are as old as the day is long (like walla-walla since the “early days of radio” and music theory
    DID YOU SEE ME DO THE CROWD WALLA? DID YOU EVER SEE ANYONE ELSE DO IT? DID YOU DO IT BEFORE ME? THESE ARE THE STYLES I AM OBVIOUSLY TAKING ABOUT. THERE IS NO REASON TO COPY SOMETHING LIKE THAT. TEACHING WHAT WALLA IS, IS FINE

    The editor of this video, (said to be… (NAME REMOVED BY SAL), malevolently took a skewed microscope to 18 hours of one of my workshops on creativeLIVE, and then had to search through three separate workshop video and audio bits of Adam Forgione’s in order to pull up about 6 minutes or .005% of similarities.
    I EDITED THAT VIDEO JUST TO SHOW THE THINGS I THOUGHT CROSSED THE LINE. THATS ALL I CARE ABOUT. YOU COULD HAVE TALKED FOR A YEAR AND I COULD HAVE MADE THE SAME 12 MINUTES. LETS SHOW MORE RAW TO THE PUBLIC SO WE CAN SEE IF I “MALEVOLENTLY TOOK A SKEWED MICROSCOPE” – IT WILL JUST BE LONGER AND PROVE THE SAME THING, BUT I’M GAME, HOW ABOUT YOU?

    Anyone could make a mash up like that from pretty much any two speakers speaking on the same topic because they’re teaching THE SAME TOPIC and the same basic principles need to be taught.
    REALLY? IVE NEVER SEEN SOMETHING LIKE THIS IN MY LIFE. HAS ANYONE ELSE? I WOULD LOVE TO SEE THIS DONE JUST ONCE MORE WITH TWO DIFFERENT SPEAKERS.

    To say that my entire workshop and educating career over the past four years is all fraudulent and fabricated based on .005% of debatable material is a gross exaggeration and a purposeful insult from those who already had a vendetta that they were looking to validate and who typically thrive on stirring the pot whenever they can as seen in this “warning” message I got earlier in the day:
    I DID NOT SAY THAT. THERE IS PLENTY IN YOUR WORKSHOP THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ME, I ONLY CARE ABOUT THE STUFF THAT DOES AND THERE IS WAY TOO MUCH

    But to say that I am now at fault to complete plagiarism of all of my educator works is absurd; and all over not mentioning in that workshop instance that I learned things from a Forgione workshop two years prior (as I did mention I learned from Ray Roman in that workshop).
    I DID NOT SAY THAT AND I DO NOT UNDERSTAND THE LAST PART. I DID NOT HEAR YOU MENTION ME ONCE BUT IF YOU DID THAT DOESN’T GIVE YOU THE RIGHT TO DO WHAT YOU DID IN THIS SITUATION

    I could have easily done so while teaching and this entire thing would have been completely moot, but I failed to for a variety of reasons including not realizing it was so similar or simply forgetting to credit where I remembered it from in this particular instance, even though I have said it before.
    IF YOU SAID MY NAME EVERY TIME YOU DID SOMETHING I DID, YOUR ATTENDEES WOULD SAY “WHY AM I LEARNING FROM YOU THEN?”

    It was absolutely not my intent to plagiarize or rip off any of his material, but only to give good information.
    THIS I DO NOT BELIEVE, ESPECIALLY AT THE END. THE END IS WHAT REALLY DID IT FOR ME ROB AND YOU KNOW THIS. YOUR PDF IS EXACTLY WHAT MY METHOD IS. I CALL IT “BLUEPRINTS”. YOU SAID YOU MADE IT FOR YOUR EDITORS AS YOUR WIFE LAUGHS AND SAYS SHES GOING TO GIVE IT OUT FOR FREE. DO YOU KNOW HOW LONG IT TOOK ME TO COME UP WITH A FORMULA I WAS HAPPY WITH. ITS A VALUABLE METHOD TO MASTER SHORT-FORM THAT WAS THE SLAP ON THE FACE FOR ME. THE MIC DROP AND WALLA PARTS JUST MADE ME LAUGH BUT THE PDF KILLED ME. HOW COULD YOU, YOU KNEW THAT WAS NOT YOURS TO SELL AS AN INSTRUCTOR.

    In the future, I plan on working to regain the trust and respect I have lost, first with my family and friends, and then with my peers.
    Again, I am truly sorry for the happening and will be happy to make any public, in-person apologies as well. I do, humbly, ask for your forgiveness and understanding, though seemingly undeserved.
    MEANS NOTHING UNTIL YOU APOLOGIZE TO ME PERSONALLY WHETHER PUBLIC OR PRIVATE, TO ME…NOT TO ANYONE ELSE. TO ME

  40. Ron

    I shot wedding videos in Phoenix from 2002-04, and then started up my wedding photography business in 2011. Now I offer both. I didn’t know Adam or Rob before this, but I did watch the video and I don’t care what Rob says, he was undeniably copying Adam. And he was doing it in a stupid, blatant way, as if he was daring people to call him out. Rob says that everyone teaches the same way, uses the same verbiage, but Ray Roman disagrees.

    I think the thing that bothers me the most about this is that Rob wasted his time defending what he did and basically accepted only .005% of the plagiarism accusations, then ends by apologizing, asking for forgiveness and understanding — but saying it is undeserved! You’d only do that if you feel like you’ve done something horribly wrong, but everything he wrote before that was to say he was not wrong at all. Well, .005% wrong. This is ludicrous. I don’t know Rob, but I don’t have any respect for him now… just due to his response, if not for his plagiarism.

  41. Mind Twin Media

    Wow. This is stupid on so many levels. I’m an outsider on this. I don’t know any of the people involved. Adam is not original so I don’t get what the fuss is all about. Rob’s presentation is actually a lot better than Adam’s. Remember good artists copy, great artists steal. Also, remember that we are talking about wedding videos.

  42. Celine

    It’s unfortunate the “stop the cyberharassment” person is trying to hijack this topic, but it doesn’t seem to be doing much good, as no one is taking the petition seriously. People respect what Photo Stealers does, except those who get caught out by them. The person behind the petition is one of them (see Eric’s comment above).

  43. Helena Hanbasket

    I believe Eric to be 100% correct.

    The lady doth protest too much.

  44. Eric Sartoris

    I am getting the distinct impression that this pathetic “Stop the Cyberharassment” shill is probably the Jennifer Boswell Photography person who was BUSTED for stealing photos, and has been spamming everyone with her whiny “please stop bullying me!” messages ever since.

    If you don’t want to be called out for stealing? DON’T STEAL.

    Check out the Photo Stealers website for more details about the Jennifer Boswell Photography thefts…

  45. kursad yonet

    Hey Rob! Can you mail me your workshop video for free.i will do exactly samething what you did.i will take .005% and teach others.How about that?

  46. Suzie Chilliwack

    Alrighty then STC. #1 .. to take ‘you’ seriously, disclose yourself and stop hiding behind a monker. #2 .. the sites you mention ‘never’ post, unless they can 100% backup their assertions with proof. If a newspaper reported a wrong-doing in your country, would you petition to close it down?

    Answering Sal’s question on what do I think? I think what Rob did was wrong. I’ve taught, and I’ve written articles. Nothing harder than taking knowledge and expressing it in your own words. One thing I learned was that until I could explain something in my own words, I really didn’t understand it fully myself. What stuck me most about Rob is the aforementioned Rangefinder article where he states that it was the draw of the money that got him into video (his words, along the lines of: $1200 for one days work, that was more than he made in 2 weeks — he was hooked). I think the same logic holds true for his workshops — what a score financially workshops would be for him. Unfortunately, with it’s global market, creative live has spawned some people with dubious judgement and the lure of all the money is too great for them.

    From what I’ve read in his interviews, Rob appears to have got into it for the love of money — and that’s never a good thing.

  47. Helena Hanbasket

    Jeebus StC, grow up. That page and others like it aren’t going any where. Go back t bed sweetie, school starts early in the morning.

  48. Glenn Orion

    YES! I second Ray Roman’s challenge for someone to edit a video of his workshop overlapping with someone else’s. Since Rob makes it sound like it’s so common and the burden of proof is on him, maybe he ought to give it a try.

    Also, if Adam chooses to release a longer cut of the side-by-side comparison and the same is proven, what will Rob say then?

  49. Helena Hanbasket

    Why are people STILL making excuses for this hack? What he did was WRONG. What Jasmine did was WRONG. What Doug did was WRONG. There are not enough excuses in the world to make up for the EXTREME lack of judgement here and I am 1000% agreeing with Ray’s comments. That’s the problem with the industry; too many people willing to give a pass to someone because they make a half-hearted (if that) attempt at an apology, and then attempt to take everyone and everything down with them, all the while trying to pretend as if they did nothing wrong, ‘it’s those people over there!’. This is not a witch hunt, nor is it a blood sport. This is about fixing our industry that most of us love. That some let their egos fall in love with fame instead is part and parcel of the bigger picture. And that others put these ego-maniacal sociopaths (yes, they fit the description) on a pedestal is not only gross, but extremely ill-informed.

    Way too many are willing to sell their souls to come in contact with a ‘savior of the industry’. And these self-appointed ROCKstars will do anything to get their comments liked, tweets re-tweeted, workshops attended, blogs read, and have been hysterically laughing all the way to the bank. When these schmucks wake up and realize that there are NO SHORTCUTS to this business, that these people who they elevate are just about as clueless as those they teach, that they are selling you pipe dreams most times, then maybe the industry can get back to what made it what it once was.

    It’s our own fault, we watched as this happened, thinking that eventually the balance will shift back, and all will be right with the industry. We waited for the MWAC’s to realize this industry is too strenuous and time-consuming to sell CD’s for 50 bucks, that the actions they purchase won’t work if you don’t have the right image, that NO ONE is worth FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS AN HOUR for their knowledge of a cheap parlor trick, and surely the word would get out. That you can’t just get a camera for Christmas, start a FB page, and TAHDAH!! You’re running a business! But it’s not happening. Why? Because these mouth-breathers keep telling them “IT IS POSSIBLE! YOU CAN DO IT!! IT’S EASY! JUST WATCH ME AND DO WHAT I DO!!”

    STOP. STEALING. PERIOD. How is that hard to understand? My GOD people. Start figuring out that there are no shortcuts to a successful business, and despite what these GODS are telling you, it takes AT LEAST 3-5 YEARS to have a successful business and keep it. If you can hold out that long, and keep learning, improving, and building, you’ll get there.

  50. Lisa

    Well, I guess in this article in Rangefinder of him and his wife’s business he states:

    Rob has been interested in visual arts since childhood. When he first entered college, he took art classes, but soon realized that was not for him. In the transition, he discovered radio and television broadcasting and filmmaking and ended up earning a BA degree in Radio/Television Communications. For a few years, Rob worked as a TV producer, a production coordinator and was even an on-air radio talent for a while. However, his career in cinematography began quite by accident. “At the time, I was living on the cheap in Manhattan and needed to find a way to supplement my income. I went to a wedding with a DJ friend to check out that job. But, while I was there, I began watching the guy shooting the video for the event. It occurred to me that I could do that job and probably better than him. So, later in the evening, I started picking his brain about his profession and how much he made. When he told me he made $1200 per wedding, my interest was piqued. Back then, that was more than I earned in two weeks on my day job. So, I began shooting wedding videos part time. Soon, that part-time job ballooned into a full-time occupation, so I quit my day job and opened my own business in 2006,” Rob says. – See more at: https://www.rangefinderonline.com/features/wedding/Vanessa-Joy-and-Rob–5962.shtml#sthash.Ya3ZXtrI.dpuf

    And in his comment to the plagiarism he stated that he has 15 years experience. REALLY????? Start filming in 2006, it is now 2013—My math must be off? Keep back-peddling Rob Adams.

  51. Jennifer

    A mob mentality is never productive. I commend Rob on stepping up and responding in an intelligent and respectful manner. That being said, plagerism should be taken just as seriously as it is in other fields. Live and Learn.

    The industry needs to take a step back and give the pitchfork and burning at the stake mentality a rest.

  52. JJ Kim

    I can’t agree more with what Ray Roman said above. Well said, man, well said.

  53. Todd

    So…When I read all that is going on, I needed to see what everyone was talking about. I did see the video. I am a photographer and have nothing to do with video.
    When it comes to teaching, we all have had to go to someone to learn. Before a person becomes a teacher in a school, they have to go to college to get a degree (learn). When they graduate, they take what they have learned and implement that into the way that they teach their students. So basically they are taking what someone else taught them and going out teaching it to students.

    Is Rob not doing what he was taught and sharing it with others who will then go out and do the same thing?

  54. Stop the Cyberharasment

    I think you do great work! Photo Stealers does nothing by harass people and their sites should be taken down. I watched the video and found only a few moments where you stated what you “LEARNED” in a paid workshop! And then they want you to come out an apologize and when you do, it’s never good enough. And they won’t stop with their insane comments either. Someone needs to petition to take these sites down!!! They will always find something to complain about because they feed off drama and tormenting others. I wish you all the best of luck. Sorry this happened to you!

  55. Ray Roman

    I’m sorry, but I’ve been teaching in the video industry for over 4 years. I, like anyone learning their craft, have been inspired by others and attended workshops and seminars. I also recently taught for 3 days on CreativeLive. I challenge ANYONE to try and edit together even a 2 second video or .00000000001% clip with ANY similarity (much less word for word delivery) to any other speaker in the video industry. It’s not gonna happen. You know why? Because, people like myself, Adam Forgione, Stillmotion, Joe Simon, Kevin Shahinian and others are LEGIT and come up with workshops that have been built on hard work and experience, not theft. No one is reinventing the wheel with their workshops, but mimicking the presenter’s delivery of the content is just flat out theft. Not everything taught at workshops is common knowledge that’s been around for ages. These presenters have come up with the best techniques, methods and workflows based on their own experience in the field and in the edit. Just because Rob takes great notes and can study workshop DVD’s, doesn’t give him the right to present it as his own. And just to be clear, that clip was only 12 or 13 minutes because it was edited down to a shorter length to make a point. I don’t think Adam has to sit there and waste more time producing a longer sample just to prove a point that’s obvious within the first minute of watching the video. Rob says he was teaching the same topics and principles. That’s not what’s in question here. Where Rob went south was when he undoubtedly mimicked the manner in which Forgione presented that same information. It was clear that Rob solely relied on information he copied from Forgione, making no attempt to deliver the content in a manner that could not be tied together with Forgione’s original workshop. No credit is ever given to Forgione. What hasn’t been released yet is the checklist for producing short form films that was given to Rob as part of attending Forgione’s workshop. Rob offers this checklist as a download incentive for purchasing his course. In the video, Rob takes full credit for this checklist. Rob, everyone makes mistakes and we’ll understand your poor judgement, but please don’t try and point this back at Adam because you’ll sink faster than a turd in water.

  56. Angela G

    Sal I can appreciate that this is a colleague, contributor to your magazine, and friend but the “we all make mistakes” response was not the same when the other three photogs had engaged in presenting stolen material earlier this year. This video is outright disturbing. As artists we are all impacted when things like this happen. When you make a good portion of your living speaking, motivating, and standing up in front of groups of people as an example of the industry you must be held to an even higher standard. People are paying to hear what you have to say. Authenticity is an even greater responsibility. Rob’s response was less of an apology and more of an attempt to back pedal and deflect this as coincidental. The explanation that industry standards are part of every presentation leads me to believe he should have taken a little more time to formulate a response because this doesn’t make me think he’s accountable for what he did, just that he’s embarrassed someone called him out on it.

    1. admin

      Angela – I am speaking truth. And if you read my posts about doug and jasmine… my tone was the same. I did not attack them and there is no reason for me to attack rob. Friend or not. In fact, we have retired Robs column in the magazine. So, if I were showing any favoritism, I think I am lost on that point.

  57. Virginia Smith

    I’m glad you got on this so soon. I tweeted about this to several including Rob with a question (since I was once subpoenaed over a similar circumstance many years ago and lots of people lost in that lawsuit). There are so many people involved in the long run but in reality it seems like the bigger deal is the money.

    What’s with the non apology? “I am sorry people have been offended”. It’s like “I wish you would be thrilled that I make this look so good, I fart rainbows and unicorns inspired by the great teachers I have surpassed even when I copy someone else’s curriculum that pretty much every one else used. But you got offended and that hurts me Blame the editor”.

    In the end maybe just let everybody shoot it out like Iron Chef. I don’t know. I think it’s time to have an industry wide discussion on plagiarism and what constitutes intellectual rights. Let everyone own up to being reckless in pursuit of their ambitions. Its a part of the human condition and we would have no greatness without it. But there are kids following you, photographers are starting careers pretty young. They need real leadership, real role models, real ethics and integrity to emulate. Otherwise we have a free for all of hypocrisy…kinda like it feels like now.

  58. Celine

    Adam posted on the Wedding Cinema & Wedding Photography Facebook group that he is the one who cut the video, and it could have been much longer. So Rob’s naming of someone else as being the editor is incorrect. Is it possible to redact that other person’s name, Sal? This what Adam wrote:

    “I cut the video. I watched his whole video.” and “I made 12 minutes because 1 hour would have too long.”

    I would provide links, but it’s a closed group. Thanks.

  59. Travis Cossel

    Wait, Rob has now edited the ‘apology’ letter? I notice the screenshot is gone .. as is the rant against Adam. Is it standard practice to edit apology letters after they have been posted?

    Also, thank you Sal for posting the link to the video so everyone can see what this is all about.

  60. Brian

    This is sad, I don’t know either of these two speakers. I am a photographer not a videographer however when you teach you put yourself out there not for personal gain but for the sake of teaching people. I think this “hey you can’t say that because I did” attitude is stupid and disheartening. Personally i think if you put yourself out there and teach something then its not your anymore it is everyones. Now I am not saying that someone should go out and word for word reverberate what someone has already said, what I am saying is that it becomes a part of everyones education and you should be proud of that simple fact. It makes me sick that people are whining more about this because of the money they think they have lost which makes me believe that they are just doing this for the money. I think the minute you sold your 1 st seminar or cd of that concept you have sold your rights to it because you are teaching someone who will take that basic concept and make it there own and use it in a way that works for them. Being a teacher is to inspire someone and ignite ideas. If you are afraid of someone using your ideas to better themselves and make more ideas that are tougt to people then you should have just kept your mouth shut and not tought anyone. But they do teach and I hope they teach to better the community but it seems to me they teach more for the money and personal gain and thats sad. I have been photographing weddings for over 10 yrs and would one day love to teach which has gotten me where I am today but not for the money for the joy of seeing someone else prosper with my ideas. I personally take on interns for the simple joy of helping someone succeed at what I love to do myself. I think its sad that this is all becoming more about money and ego than the simple fact of helping the community succeed. I have seen a ton of speakers that say things I have heard before. I have seen speakers that say things that only I have said to myself and not learned from anyone but that just means to me that people think alike and not that they some how go in my mind and stole it from me so they could make a seminar.

  61. J Chin

    Sal, thank you for the post and a neutral venue for Rob to respond.

    Rob, I’ve watched you work. I’ve worked along side your team to learn. I’ve seen you teach first hand. I’ve bought the CL programs that was used in the mash up. There was so much more content there, some of the information was in context of other teachings. All of the time you’ve been one of the most genuine and giving person I know. I’ve never seen you turn away and not answer anyone who wants to learn from him. As you’ve said and taught many times over, we all are artists that learn from each other by taking bits and pieces of what we learn to incorporate to make “our own”. It really saddens me to see someone mash up some sound bites and to call you a fraud, all without knowing who you are and what your intent has always been “to teach the next generation of cinematographers” (basically, and I quote you, “teaching your competition”). Rob, please continue to teach, you make things simple to follow and understand the “why”.

    Adam, you as a professional peer in the industry, I feel you should’ve at least extend a little courtesy to Rob before taking a third party’s mashed up video to outright call him a fraud. At least contact Rob to confront him about it or demand that he adds credit to the CL program. I agree you should be very angry that credit was not given. However, that doesn’t constitute outright fraud on Rob’s part, especially since the CL workshop was days long with lots of other material. As an educator and speaker yourself, you should be somewhat flattered that a student of yours remembered your material and has learned it well enough to begin teaching others in the industry. Adam, I would love to see you on CL one day and learn from you too.

  62. A[manda] Gosselin

    I agree with Travis here –

    You Rob Adams should have contacted Adam Immediately after finding out about the video not vice versa. You used exact verbiage and examples that Adam has been using for years which is inexcuseable.

    To call out Dustin for bringing this to light is utterly classless.

  63. Mike McCaleb

    Thank you, Sal. I am glad that the photographers are going to get a chance to see what us cinematographers all saw yesterday. Regurgitating material is one thing. Word for word, detail for detail is something else entirely.

  64. Celine

    I have read through Rob’s response twice. A few things…

    1. He doesn’t explain how he came to use portions of Adam’s workshop nearly word for word, which doesn’t happen accidentally. That takes studying the source, taking notes, etc. He also uses the same songs to demonstrate his points, and uses Adam’s checklist. That shows intent.

    2. Did Rob really say he thinks this all happened because Adam said he was bored? If Adam had found a hobby to occupy him, would it have changed what Rob did a year ago? I’m confused.

    3. Rob tries to separate the time between Adam’s workshop and his, but I think it was from 2011 to 2012. Someone please correct me if I’m wrong.

    4. He also names who he believes is the editor of the video, but from what I understand, he has the wrong name. I do not know who did edit it.

    Overall, Rob says he is sorry, but takes pretty much none of the blame. I have no dog in this hunt. I didn’t know who Adam or Rob was before last night. But that video certainly seems to show who is in the wrong.

  65. Joe McDonald

    Rob

    Nicely said.
    Now let’s see how it is received

  66. Travis Cossel

    Also, a correction for the ‘apology’. Dustin Blake had nothing to do with editing the video in question. Not sure why his name needed to be dragged through the mud on this. Not classy.

  67. Mike McCaleb

    Still waiting for the video link. I have seen it, and it is painfully obvious that he stole word for word. Sal, did you really investigate this?

    1. admin

      just updated it with the link…

  68. aaron lee

    This guy is a fraud, and Ms. Feuza’s sucking up to Rob is making my skin crawl.

    Total embarrassment to the industry. Deserves all the flak he’s going to catch as a result of his actions. No blaming the victim is going to work here…

    I hope Adam rakes you over the coals in court. See your weak ass at WPPI…

  69. David

    This is a very well worded, thoughtful response to a bad situation. Rob, I applaud you for providing us with detailed information into how a speaker formulates his thoughts as well as the potentially malicious intent by others. Your apology is accepted and I look forward to seeing more great work from you. I only hope others will drop their pitchforks and critically examine a very complex situation.

  70. Travis Cossel

    Anyone who knows Adam personally, who knows what a stand-up and giving guy he is, will be outraged by this response. It is a sad day when someone is exposed for using someone else’s hard work to build their own image and create a profit. It is an even sadder day to have that same person attack the originator of the content/delivery. You should be even more ashamed now than you should have been before, Rob.

  71. Mike McCaleb

    Sal,

    Please post a link to the video, so we can all see it for ourselves.

    Thanks!

    Mike

  72. Feuza

    thank you Rob for the response, there is always two sides to the story and I thought it was wrong right before Christmas to start a hate war on line and people are prone to that and today I got an online beating myself, comes with the game. I have taken your course, purchased CL as well and when I saw video I did not think oh he stole it, because I know of your character, this will be rough road ahead and humble pie sucks some times but you have done the right thing by replying publically since they publicaly bullied and butchered you. I also don’t get why only now this has come up as you teach nationally, it is just hate in my opinion and tars our reputations so easily, people feed on bad news and hate, its sad, Just remember this too shall pass, it is not the end of the world and you have done alot for the community. thank you for being vulnerable, prayers to you and your family at this time. I understand Adams frustration especially if it was presented in such away but I pray it all gets resolved so we can continue learning from the greats such as Adam, Ray and your self. Merry Christmas
    Sal thank you for this post.

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