The movie The Difference

February 17, 2010 by  
Filed under Wendi's Words

I am going to take a deep breath first. Now- I have to make a tough decision about whether I am to be careful about what I say, or if I tell the absolute truth. Yesterday I drove 2 hours to San Diego for an opportunity that was offered to me to be part of a movie called The Difference. In their email and phone call to me they described the opportunity- perhaps vaguely- to be in the movie and that they are looking for people to be involved in the movie. Did I misinterpret the offer, or follow the carrot when they discussed their movie being produced as similar to the Secret and What the Bleep? Sounded like a good opportunity, worth a drive to San Diego. They also assured me that I had been carefully chosen for this. I arrived at the room, there were about 7 other women. Jaqueline assured everyone that they had been carefully chosen, that they were there because the staff had researched their work on their website and liked what they saw. After the website comment 3 or 4 of the women said they don’t have a website, and 3 of them don’t even use a computer. CLUE #1 No one was chosen. More likely is a boiler room calling a list of therapists- massage therapists, counselors, hypnotherapists, etc. The offering, the emails, the phone call— no mention of it being any type of a sales presentation or offering to invest or buy anything. The set up was that it was to be “in the movie”. Jacqueline began her speech by talking about her vision, her dream, her mission to open the hearts of all the people in the world. She asked us how many people there are in the USA (she is from Australia) and apparently had no clue about the number of people- I was the only one who had a remote clue, at 300,000,000. CLUE #2 A project of this proportion with a person doing a world tour to find her participants in the movie has no clue how many people are in the USA, even though she is planning to reach 6 billion people with her movie. She drew some circles on some paper and showed that this would certainly affect the lives and open the hearts of 6 billion people. Hmmm. “What is this movie about?” I asked several times. Her answer was consistently, “I don’t know yet” “What is the concept?” I queried. “We won’t know that until it is made”, she replied. Hmmm. Ok, well so far we have air. Nothing but air. And some circles on a paper on an easel. At this point my spidey sense was tingling and I decided to make the most of this and pay attention. Nothing had been mentioned about money, this was obviously not an investment opportunity (there are disclosure laws about that) and so far it didn’t feel like a ponzi scheme. Heads were bobbing up and down. Yes, yes, yes. People were really on board, feeling the need to be part of something that does not exist, but will certainly open the hearts of 6 billion people in some magical way. CLUE #3 Excuse the hell out of me, but if this is a business you better have a plan. What is your product? What is the content? Why does this have potential? What possible reason is there for the impact this movie will have on humanity? Zippo. Heads are still bobbing which is getting annoying to me. One woman in the room is a shill I am pretty sure. She just adds all the right words and enthusiasm. I know, better than most, that people want to be part of something. I get it. And I know how easy it is to get excited about something that hits your hot button. By choosing people (women) who are therapists and new age types, she has found a group that has a similar hot button. She has the key to their lock. In addition to movie you will have the opportunity to make a 6 minute video that will go on a website that will be seen by billions of people. This was a big part of her presentation. You will be exposed to millions or billions and your 6 minute video will make you wildly successful. CLUE #4 Big claims for a business a product that does not exist, a website that has a lot of blank pages and no track record in internet marketing, film production or websites that have performed well in the past. You can’t just say it and make it true. Saying that you will expose people to millions of viewers is simply lying to them. Putting a video on youtube is exposing it to millions of viewers. Last time I checked that is free and you can do that today. Not in 3 years from now. My curiosity is building. She is going to ask for money soon… she is stirring the pot. Heads are still bobbing up and down in agreement with everything she is saying. Why does this bother me so much? I am a business person. I’ve created and run a business from the ground up, 3 times. Each one very successful, my current one successful in doing millions in sales annually. I know my stuff. I am not so much a skeptic as I am realistic. She says she has 750 people in Australia who are already signed up as collaborators. To cut to the chase- She wants $2000 for you to participate as a collaborator. For this you get a nice list of things, like the right to use the logo, an online training class to help you make your 6 minute video, some teleseminars. Of course each of these things shows a price attached to it with an exact (and ridiculous value) like the online training class to learn to make your video, worth $3028. HOLY FUCKING SHIT- that is such an interesting number it must be true! And your six minute video being posted on their site, is worth…. wait for it… $1540 (and to think… I can put a video anywhere on the internet for free) And you get your profile on The Difference website, and that is a value of…. $434 Another spectacular number. How did she come up with this? Not $433, not $435, but Four Hundred thirty four dollars. It must have taken weeks to crunch the costs to arrive at this number. After all… this woman stated she was an accountant. But here is an interesting comment from the accountant- “I am going to give 10% of the money… ummm, from the amount that is ummm… before taxes… what do you call that… (she puts her head down and thinks for a moment) … the gross, I think that is what it is… that will be given to…” (whatever the fuck she said at this point was lost on me. Charity, new shoes, number crunching fees, markers for drawing her 6 circles…?) Hello! Ladies in the chairs, please stop bobbing your heads up and down. If you give her $2000 you will get to share 10% of the profit of this non existent movie with 6000 people. But then in a another sentence she said something about keeping 50% of the money for herself (called it future projects) and the remainder would go to produce the movie, and your 10% that you share with others comes from that. MATH- do the MATH. She is an accountant? OK, quick math- 700 people so far = 1,400,000 My calculator is about to blow a gasket. Right after I do. 6000 people she is recruiting? = 12,000,000 REMEMBER- she is offering you 10% of the profit of the movie, NOT of the money she is taking in from you! Well, this should be some kind of movie! You get ONE stake in the investment scheme for your $2000. BUT WAIT, you can earn another stake if you… wait for it… wait…. yes…. if you RECRUIT your friends! Oh wait, the math. This means that there are more than 6000 stakes. hmmm. Accountant girl, something does not add up. Forgive me for being so blunt, but if each 6000 of your warm, fuzzy recruits, finds 1 more person, that is 18,000 stakes, and those lucky girls get to split 10% of the profits, of which you keep half, and produce a movie with the rest and then offer 10% of the profit left. Hell to the Yeah! (and you can get more stakes by working for her for free as well. Yippee!) Remember- not the profit of this VENTURE, the profit of the movie- oh wait there is no movie. There is air. I’m sorry. But that is ok, because she has a refund policy. refund- OOPS, that page is blank. Made over 700 people pay you $2000, but that page is “coming soon” Also coming soon (blank pages) include, well, most of them: EXCEPT THE ROBUST SCHEDULE that apparently there is time and money for, and at each presentation she will get 2-3 people to fork over their credit cards to invest in AIR. 6 meetings in each city- how is she getting so many people to come to these meetings? Even if she only has 8-12 people at each one, and sells only 2-3 people out of that, it is still a daunting task to email and call enough people to recruit the butts that land in the seats. There are other teams, by the way, doing these presentations in other cities. OOOOhhhhoooooohhhhhh. I got it! I just remembered- if you donate 10 hours of your time, you get another share in the profit. Holy shit- the people who just paid her $2000 are now doing the phone calls to the lists to get people into the presentations. WAKE UP PEOPLE. Please do not buy into something that does not exist. The SEC will shut this project down in a heartbeat. By the time you decide to pull out, your credit card time limit for a chargeback will have long since passed. Jacqueline- I am very sorry if this is truly your dream, your vision, your passion and your mission. I am sorry if this is your way of opening hearts and you honestly believe you are going to make a movie. *************** It costs less than $50,000 to make a simple docu-drama in the style of The Secret. *************** GO MAKE YOUR MOVIE, get millions of visitors to your website, show how much this has benefited your recruits with their 6 minute video. THEN let people invest in something real. Oh, and remember to get your Securities and Exchange Commission filings done. I am sure you thought of that already, since this is an investment that requires full disclosure and a lot of paperwork. But your refund policy is clearly stated. Oops, that page is blank. (Cooling off period is 3 days, not 48 hours as you stated on your paper you handed out. Whoops, must the the accountant brain working again) I know that you are aware of the potential for this project to make you millions of dollars, and if you are ummm, an accountant, you have also done the math to see that your recruits are simply out $2000. Seriously? This is going to change humanity? As a business, it doesn’t fly. As a scam, it is brilliant and you obviously have an aggressive schedule. But I actually do want to help humanity. And for me to NOT stand up and speak my mind about this, would be as big a crime as yours. Wendi Friesen