A Note From Pye, Our Editor-in-Chief
In the past, I have shut down any and all articles that essentially “outed” those in our industry for poor behavior and business practices. In most cases, I felt that while the offending parties were wrong, I didn’t want to use our influence to essentially make mountains out of mole hills.
Despite receiving monthly notifications of photographers stealing and using our own images, I have resisted the urge to make a public example of them. On one occasion, one local photographer was using our images to advertise their services in a wedding magazine. On another occasion, someone had completely copied every bit of text from our studio’s website in a poor attempt at SEO.
I have always believed that these people would eventually get what they deserved. When one of our writers stumbled onto this Rob vs. Adam story, I felt that it was on a completely different level than anything I have seen. I began to feel that we aren’t doing the industry any favors by continuing to stay silent on these topics. Those that know me, my business partners, and the writers behind SLR Lounge should know that we are about creating an uplifting platform with solid education. We are against non-constructive criticism and openly moderate rude and abusive behavior as it creates a negative environment for learning.
We have absolutely no desire to gain traffic and visits from dirty tabloid-like articles that are written for shock value and slander rather than for inspirational and educational purposes. We want to create the best educational community website built on a solid foundation of inspiration and great educational content.
My decision in approving this article was simply to call attention to things that aren’t right in our industry in the hopes that perhaps we can change and better prevent these things happening to others in the future. After all, who exactly would we be helping by not bringing light to these stories? If these stories are seldom reported and discussed, wouldn’t that be all the more reason for other individuals to perpetuate this type of behavior?
I am truly sad for both Adam Forgione and Rob Adams. For obvious reasons, I am sad for Adam Forgione. Preparing and creating educational content is extremely difficult, and to not be rewarded or even recognized for those efforts would be absolutely crushing. I am also sad for Rob Adams. Rob has an extensive body of work that is extremely impressive in its own right. His work clearly demonstrates that he has the ability and knowledge to be an educator. Yet for whatever reason, this costly mistake will forever negatively punctuate his work and reputation.
We won’t be perpetuating each of these dramas with ongoing articles and debates to fuel each fire. This final article has been approved to allow both individuals a platform to speak their story. Afterwards, we will bury the hatchet and move on. Going forward we hope that making you all aware of such stories will foster more mutual respect for your peers and dissuade others in the industry from such behavior. As always, please feel free to let us know if you think bringing light to such stories helps or hurts the industry in the comments below.
Rob Adam’s Response From Behind the Shutter
Yesterday, we posted the following video showing Rob Adams, a former student of Adam Forgione’s, using an uncanny amount of examples, anecdotes and verbiage from Rob’s original workshop while he taught the same subject on CreativeLive. You can read the original conversation by clicking here.
Since Rob is a friend and a writer with Behind the Shutter, Sal Cincotta wrote his thoughts on the situation prior to posting Adam’s direct response to the situation. Both can be read in full on the Behind the Shutter website by clicking here.
Here was Rob Adam’s response:
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 Dustin Blake), 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.
Adam Forgione’s Response to the Situation
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 made 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, why I have no idea) on the Behind the Shutter article. Rob seemed to imply I was planning something mischievous all along. The image implied that it was me saying that I wanted 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 Facebook group. Many of us do it for fun. The post he was referring to was obviously out of context and something I said out of fun before I even found out what he had actually done.
8. I always thought Rob was 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 his name 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
— Adam Forgione
As always, your thoughts and discussion is welcome below in the comments.