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A s k   R o b

 

Rob diligently studying the
human endocrine system

25 years of hormonal
enhancement later

Below is a letter from an NHE reseller to Rob, unfavorably critiquing his newly released training video (The Extique Video Personal Trainer). Following this letter is Rob's response.

Due to the personal nature of this correspondence, the name of the sender and his company have been changed.

 

 

From: Stanley Burrows, president, ABC Fitness Supplements

Dear Rob,

Thanks for the sample Video Personal Trainer. I checked it out and decided not to carry it.

The information presented is very good, but I don't think the video used the medium very well. Video is not a good medium to present what could be read. So much "talking to the camera" tempted the finger on the fast forward button. Most of what was said could have been voice-over demonstrations. A greater variety of models would have helped as well.

The above is for you to ignore or consider in your next video. Books and videos work very differently! Good luck on this and your future projects.

Sincerely,

Stanley

 

 

From: Rob Faigin

Dear Stanley,

Thank you for your feedback on my video. As an initial matter, I wholly respect your discretion to carry or not carry a given product. I will continue creating products, some of which you may embrace others of which you may disclaim.

I am keenly aware that I broke nearly every rule of TV with the Extique Video Personal Trainer. My father used to work for CBS, and currently (and for the last 15 years) runs a prosperous and well-reputed video production company. Also, both of my brothers have impressive videography resumes; and my brother Rick currently works in Hollywood in the television industry. All of my aforementioned kinfolk strongly advised against the format I employed in the Extique Video Personal Trainer. Hence, I am cognizant of the conventions of the video medium, and my decision to depart from convention was deliberate and premeditated. I doubt I'll make another video (despite the fact that the Video Personal Trainer says "Volume I"). But if I were to, I would use the exact same format (except I would beg, borrow, or sell my car to raise the money for a teleprompter).

Video is a uniquely difficult medium, because TV-watchers expect to be entertained. Through the wisdom of hindsight, I realize that I was in a no-win situation - which is why I'll probably never make another video. If I had given people more of a "dog and pony show," the Extique Video Personal Trainer would have been attacked on grounds that much unlike NHE, the video lacked substance and depth. Instead, I took a no-nonsense approach and sought to pack as much substantive information and instruction into the video as possible. Consequently, the video is attacked as "misusing the video forum" or "boring."

Before I continue, I trust you watched the entire video. That being the case, you know that the first half is approximately 70% "talking head" and 30% voice-over/demonstration; whereas the second half is approximately 30% "talking head" and 70% voice-over/demonstration. Thus, on balance, the video is 50% "talking head" and 50% voice-over/demonstration. Since it ran a few minutes under an hour, that means that a total of 30 minutes of the video was "talking head." Interestingly (like most people who critiqued the video), you thought the information was good, but you found that the segments in which I "talked to the camera... tempted the finger on the fast-forward button." Boiled down to its essence, your objection to the Extique Video Personal Trainer can be stated thus: it wasn't amusing enough. Granted, the amusement quotient was low; but I'm interested in empowering people, not trying to upstage Austin Powers.

Boiled down to its essence, your objection to the Extique Video Personal Trainer can be stated thus: it wasn't amusing enough... I'm interested in empowering people, not trying to upstage Austin Powers.
 
It is a source of consternation and sadness for me that people are willing to spend an hour or more watching and listening to a stand-up comedian on TV telling dirty jokes, but unwilling to spend half as much time watching and listening to an experienced trainer/author disseminate crucial instructions about how to work-out.

It is a source of consternation and sadness for me that people are willing to spend an hour or more watching and listening to a stand-up comedian on TV telling dirty jokes, but unwilling to spend half as much time watching and listening to an experienced trainer/author disseminate crucial instructions about how to work-out. More than any other single fact, I believe this explains why the United States has become the home of the fattest and sickest people on the planet. In law school, I served as a teaching assistant and gave 3-hour lectures on hyper-technical legal matters, standing behind a podium in front of a packed room of law students furiously taking notes. The videotape of these lectures was in high demand - there was a waiting list. The only reason why the law students wanted the video was because they felt it would help them get a better grade on the exam. So I guess people are willing to watch somebody talk for a longer period of time in order to get a laugh or score higher on an exam, but unwilling to watch someone talk for a shorter period of time in order to improve their health. I refuse to accept this fact, and I'll go to my grave refusing to accept this fact.

I predicted some resellers wouldn't pick-up the video - and I was right. Others are not only carrying it, but promoting it. You were frank with me (which I appreciate), so I'll be frank with you. Kjell and I were speculating about who would sell the video and who wouldn't. I predicted that you, a pro-substance, anti-fluff, health educator would support the video. But I was wrong (if I had a dime for every time I've been wrong, I'd be able to buy a teleprompter).

 

I am an idealistic nonconformist and always will be. Because I feel that the Extique Video Personal Trainer conveys vital workout information, I will continue to supply it to whichever resellers wish to sell it. And I will provide the following guidance to those considering buying or selling the video. If you want to learn how to work-out, invest 55 minutes and $23.97 on the Extique Video Personal Trainer. If you want to be entertained, watch Saturday Night Live or professional wrestling. Furthermore, I pose the following question: What's more important, special effects or making your workout especially effective? If the former, then spend 2+ hours watching Luke Skywalker. If the latter, then spend less than half as much time watching and listening to Rob Faigin. Either way, may the force be with you.

What's more important, special effects or making your workout especially effective?

Sincerely,

Rob Faigin

 

A viewer takes issue with Burrows' criticism of the Extique Video Personal Trainer, and advances criticism of his own.

  I was not impressed with the unfavourable critique of the video from the distributor. As a keen resistance trainer, I found the video to be extremely useful in covering the fundamental biomechanical elements of the various body parts. However, there are two criticisms I would make of the video:

1)     It is not available in a PAL format - Australian/European standard (only NTSC). Therefore, I cannot watch it without going to my friend's place who has a NTSC playback system.

2)     If it is the only video you produce, as it was alluded in the Ask Rob section of your website, then you have only covered arms, chest, back. A similar video covering legs, abs and shoulders would be ideal as a volume 2.

Andrew Cairney
Melbourne, Australia

 

ROB'S REPLY: 

Thank you for your letter; both your words of approval and criticism are equally appreciated. Your positive assessment of the value and usefulness of the Extique Video Personal Trainer is representative of several letters I have received from Video Personal Trainer viewers taking exception to Mr. Burrows' critique. Apparently, Mr. Burrows' letter - in which he affirmed the value of the information contained in the video but refused to supply it to his customers because of its cinematic shortcomings - has touched a raw nerve among those individuals who are sick and tired of health vendors' elevating form over substance. In light of these encouraging letters and growing demand for a Volume 2, I am rethinking my previously stated position that I will not make another video.

Regarding your PAL/NTSC-related criticism, I regret that we may have overlooked the needs of our international viewers. I will look into the feasibility of rectifying this problem. 

 

   

 

Trevor Beairsto, Canadian personal trainer and co-star of Casey Viator's High-Intensity Video Series, offers his assessment of the Extique Video Personal Trainer.

I watched your personal trainer video, and I have to say that it is very solid, both from a motivational and instructional standpoint. I really don't understand that gentleman's comments about it in your Ask Rob section of the website. I found your one-on-one segments both necessary and entertaining.

Your physique is awe-inspiring. Keep up the great work!

ROB'S REPLY:  

I appreciate your compliment on my physique. If I ever enter another bodybuilding competition, would you mind being a judge?

 

Thanks, too, for your evaluation of my video. I would have thanked you even if your assessment were negative, but I'm glad it was positive. It seems like a self-serving statement, but I have found that there is direct correlation between the degree of a viewer's desire to learn how to train and the degree to which he/she appreciates the Extique Video Personal Trainer. It is probably for this reason that the video has garnered the most enthusiastic reviews from trainers like yourself who crave knowledge not merely to facilitate their own pursuit of physical self-improvement, but also to heighten their professional competence.

. . . I have found that there is direct correlation between the degree of a viewer's desire to learn how to train and the degree to which he/she appreciates the Extique Video Personal Trainer. It is probably for this reason that the video has garnered the most enthusiastic reviews from trainers like yourself who crave knowledge not merely to facilitate their own pursuit of physical self-improvement, but also to heighten their professional competence.

 

One women (a friend of Kjell's who evaluated the video at his request right after it was produced before we started selling it) who has no interest whatsoever in resistance training, bluntly assessed the video as "awful." A couple other people with an aversion to iron expressed a similarly unfavorable opinion of the video. Kjell (president of Extique) was a bit unnerved by these early reviews, but I reassured him that if I were forced to sit through an hour-long instructional video on the subject of gardening or sewing I couldn't possibly have anything but a negative opinion of it because I'd be bored to tears. Since then, feedback from customers has validated my far-from-brilliant (but nonetheless elusive to some people) theory that an informational product cannot be meaningfully evaluated by someone who lacks the slightest fleeting impulse of curiosity concerning the subject matter to which the product pertains.

. . . an informational product cannot be meaningfully evaluated by someone who lacks the slightest fleeting impulse of curiosity concerning the subject matter to which the product pertains.

 

 

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