Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Catching Up

A sad update, much belated, about my previous blog from last December. My friend and colleague Carmine Curto passed away suddenly last March 12.  Carmine knew hundreds and hundreds of people in the direct response business and his associations go back decades. Talking with Carmine was a walk through direct sales history.
I am still at a loss for words.
He is greatly missed. He was my friend. My heart goes out to his family and loved ones.

Mark O

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Gaff Master

Already, another year has zipped by and I've been sadly delinquent on postings. However, I got some inspiration yesterday and am going to put down a few thoughts. The inspiration came from Monica Kroeger at Medallion Industries in Chicago. Monica was trying to locate one of my favorite people and a great friend, Carmine Curto. And so thinking about Carmine, thought I'd say a few words about him and his specialty.

Carmine's specialty is "gaffing" which means Carmine is the man who makes kitchen sinks looks filthy, makes bathrooms look absolutely disgusting, who puts stains on rugs, dirt on floors, who in short, is the master of creating filth, dirt, stains and spills. In fact, Carmine was the man who helped me realize the shot of comparing cleaning methods using black light,which is the image at the top of this blog site.

Gaffing may sound like misleading advertising, or trickery, but in reality when anyone shoots a commercial it's never good enough to just have a single wine stain on carpet, one ketchup stain on a shirt, or a grass stain on shorts, because you have to be able to create that same effect again and again, from different angles to get a better "take", a better version, or the perfect result.

If we're talking about grass stains on shorts, Carmine will have 10 different pairs of shorts, with all perfectly matched grass stains, ready to go.

After all, if you're spending thousands, or tens of thousands of dollars a day shooting a commercial the last thing you want is to have an entire crew standing around waiting, while someone is trying to create a second grass stain on a pair of shorts, all because the camera jiggled during the last take and ruined it and so "gaffing" is an absolute must.

Trying to get Carmine to share his secret techniques is next to impossible, but in the end, you don't want to know his secrets, because what you really need is Carmine there...standing by with carpet, clothes, wine, tile grout and all his tricks. There is no one out there like Carmine, the gaff master.

So the next time you see that bathtub go from disgusting to perfection, those grass stains disappear, think of my pal Carmine Curto, he might of been there!

FYI, if you're in need of Carmine's talents, drop me an email, I can put you in direct touch with the master himself....believe me, I never shoot a cleaning shot with him.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Whatever you do...

I've been in contact with several different companies about DRTV. Some have found me via twitter, LinkedIn, facebook, my website, or as always, many referrals from business associates. The one thing I always emphasize with them all, is that if you're interested in DRTV, please read the book, "The Infomercial Goldmine..." by yours truly.

Use my services, or not, but once you've breezed through "Goldmine", you will have such a clear understanding of this business and all it's pitfalls, that you can get through it all and keep millions, instead of losing millions because of unnecessary, easily avoided mistakes.

Read the first 40% for's an ebook. Then if you want, buy it, download and it's yours forever. Don't do it for me...the couple of bucks I make is not why I wrote's for you, so please take advantage, read, learn and profit.
Mark O

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Been a long time, been a long time

Well much has happened since I last made an entry....been way too busy to even sit down and collect my thoughts.

Of course in the middle of all this racing around, came the passing of Billy Mays which was brought vividly to mind yesterday, when I happened to be visiting Block Island, RI, one of my very favorite places on earth. Several of my pals on the island, particularly Kate Atwater-Butcher of Block Island Realty and John Sweinton of Twin Maples Bait and Tackle commented on Billy's passing. They reminded me of Billy because one of the infomercials I did with Billy for Orange Glo and Oxi Clean featured a segment about Block Island and the wonderful, "full-time" islanders. We cleaned up a lobster boat (only Orange Glo would remove smelly pogy oil, a favorite lobster bait) and then we interviewed a restaurant that loved OG and on to a bunch of rental homes, where the cleaning crew loved OG products.

And so Billy has been on mind a lot since yesterday. He was immensely talented and had genuine charisma and likability both on TV and off. I'm always on the lookout for new talent and the ones like Billy that have it all going on at once are extremely few and far between. When I first met Billy, he was working as a presenter for Orange Glo at HSN. Over the years we went on to do three half-hour infomercials and a lot of 90 and 120 second "spots" for Orange Glo International that put both Oxi Clean and Billy on the map.

In one of my favorite segments we shot in an appliance junkyard outside of Tampa, Florida, with Billy running around cleaning old, disgusting, grimy, moldy washers, microwaves and refridgerators....wonderful stuff. Hats off on that whole idea to Carmine Curto a close friend to both Billy and me and a great collaborator. We also did a segment in a public laundromat, with Billy cleaning everything in site, from loads of clothes, to the washing machines themselves.

Think I'll end here. Life is precious, don't waste a minute.
Best to all,
Mark O

Friday, June 12, 2009

June in San Diego

Well, I'm attending the San Diego County Fair in Del of the great shows/fairs/events anywhere. And the climate??? San Diego, in my opinion has the best climate anywhere in the US.

This is a great place for new products: to look for them, to test new ones and meet lots of folks. Last summer we premiered Smooooth Legs here, which now appears on TV as Smooth Away in a very successful 2 minute spot, written/produced and directed by yours truly. My client learned some rather expensive lessons with the project and I refer to them very discreetly in my book, but that's all water over the damn dam.

Different subject; if you, or your company does a lot of printing, don't do any printing without at least dropping me a line. I can turn you on to a company that can save you a ton of money!!! A ton!!! Yes, I am involved with this group, but that doesn't matter, the quality, pricing and service will make a believer out of anyone. I'll post more on this later, but for now, drop me a line. This is also an amazing biz op for those interested...but no need to go into that now.

And finally, I've dropped all advertising. Not my thing for many reasons...but advertising on this blog is not my purpose. This is a tool for people interested in getting the most out of DRTV.
Over and out,
Mark O

Monday, June 1, 2009

My disclaimer

Happy June 1, 2009 to all!
Just want to state that while I do allow advertising on my blog (guys gotta make a buck) be mindful of my advice in my book and in this blog...if you intend to use any of the advertisers, please, please, please, check them out carefully before jumping into any agreement with anyone. And just because they advertise, in my blog doesn't in any way suggest I am referring anyone.

The waters of DRTV are filled with, at worst, very unscrupulous and at best, very sharp-minded business-people who will prey on your hopes and dreams while picking your pockets at the same time. The chapter on the litmus test for "real" producers pretty well covers it all.

I'm off working on two projects at once, we'll see who gets to the barn first. Beautiful day here in Rhode Island, along the waters of Pt. Judith.
Mark O

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Planting the Seed

I had a call last week from a great voice-over talent that I've worked with for years. He had read my book and it reminded him of a project that he had done some work on a number of years before. He asked me to give him an evaluation on the project and I agreed.

Without disclosing too much, I'll say it was a music collection in a very strong genre, the songs recorded, all packaged and ready to go. The group had taken it straight to WalMart, who of course, offered them the worst terms in the world and so they let the whole project slip off the burner altogether. That was a few years ago.

Reading my book and especially the part about starting first on TV as the best way to get to retail, and making sure WalMart was the last stop on the retail line, Mike got fired up, called me and we talked about it at great length. I listened to some of the songs yesterday, Mike and I spoke at some length and I think there may be something there. The music is done, I think it would be a charming 90 second, or 2 minute DRTV spot, selling a couple of CD's for $20 or so and it should go, if handled correctly, almost directly into retail.

The big catch there is if it's handled correctly. You see, what needs to happen with a product like this is the TV commercial becomes the "retail driver". People see the commercial and if they don't order, the chances of converting them when they see it in retail are much higher and of course, the retailers all know that!!

Naturally, we'd love to have the TV spot make money, but it would also be fine if it just made enough to pay for itself running on TV and "driving" those retail sales.

The point of all this is, if you put your time and passion into creating something you love, you may have an opportunity to do something substantial with it, like make money from your passion.

Of course, there are no guarantees, but these folks have taken what could be a very exciting step into turning this project into something. And the investment on their side?? They don't need to put up any money, if they are asked to put up money, then there's a good chance they're getting scammed, one of the most common rip-offs in this I need to see if we can put this together and who will want to put it on the air..
I will keep you posted on progress...
Keep your eyes peeled for ideas, products, new angles on old ideas...the next better mousetrap is always out there..
Mark O