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.

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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

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Rob Adams and Adam Forgione

with behindtheshutter time to read: 8 min
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