You Have Mail
As days go the past few were not unusual except for an email from a Mr. McSorley. Normally emails include an assortment of ubiquitous spam identified by their suffixes such as .ru. Appearing a few mornings ago email of a different sort arrived. Its suffix was .nfb.ca. Why in wonder, would the National Film Board be contacting me?
Piqued with interest the mail was opened to reveal the following:
“Hi Mr. Yatkowsky,”
“I thought you may be interested in this new short documentary for your blog. ‘Dressing for Success’ is the first short film in a web documentary series looking at the economic crisis through the eyes of Keith, a young Vancouver real estate agent trying to make his name during tough times. …”
“The project looks at the human impact of the economic crisis. Over the next year we’ll be following the stories of over a dozen Canadians from across the country and from diverse backgrounds, and producing over 250 films and photo essays looking at how we are collectively coping with the financial downturn.”
Curiosity demanded a look.
The story as noted by Mr.Mcsorley in his email, is about a Vancouver REALTOR® named Keith Roy. Mr.Roy is an salesman with MacDonald Realty in Kerrisdale. As Mr. McSorley suggests we are supposed to learn something about “how we are collectively coping with the financial downturn”.
As if to emphasize Mr. McSorley’s words the film’s bold title appears – “Measuring the human side of the Canadian economic crisis”. Combined it is expected that the story will be worthy of the price of the film and its cost to the public purse.
The first few frames concluded that in keeping with the nature of the National Film Board – the film matches the board’s long standing credentials of quality production. However, when reading the sub-title, ‘Dressing for Success’, a warning sounded. Could this be yet another variation of spammy How to Make a Million dollars in a Recession fodder? Nah, not possible! The film, produced by the NFB would maintain tradition and deliver something insightful and or entertaining. In this author’s opinion, ‘Dressed for Success’ proved neither – like spam, the film came with a jacket but no pants!
Doesn’t Measure Up
Aside from obvious faux pas, of which there are several, the most notable occurrs at 1.22 minute minute mark, Mr. Roy in discussing property values in Vancouver’s Marpole neighbourhood, serves up a sample of his market knowledge in commenting on a home priced at “$1.3 million that is a large 1 bedroom”. Not to be picky but, really Roy, shouldn’t you have asked for a retake? With that as mark in time, the remaining vignette falls into manipulative misdirection as we are repetitively blasted with this REALTOR’S® unabashed, advertising campaign. Transported are we to a some place and left with anything but a Measuring of the human side of the Canadian Economic crises.
Cut of Your Cloth
Searching for substance in the intent of the title premise and finding none, one is left to ask if this film faithfully communicates that in some way this REALTOR® represents an economic crisis in any way? Pointedly, what measurement are we to judge this REALTOR’s® depth of despair? Was the message subtly buried somewhere in this REALTOR’s® derisive claim that citizens of Vancouver only speak of “politics, real estate and weather”? From this statement does one extrapolate an assumption that Jacques Rogge and the IOC committee based their decision to hold the Olympics in this city because we are narrow minded times three? Surely the measure of this city and it’s peoples can not be validated by the cut of REALTOR® Roy’s cloth for his words imbue farce!
Hoped for is that the true intent of the NFB was to leave us to wonder from which rock does this man’s voice claim such inflammatory bunk. Listening to his words, is one presumptuous to suggest that those Canadians out of work and suffering – those who truly are experiencing the measure of the economic crisis are to believe someone who seeks “gravitas” via a $2000 custom fit suit?
Less than casual observation, might conclude that the subject of the documentary is more about Mr. Roy establishing himself as a “go-to-guy” rather than leaving a viewer with insight into our economic crisis. That same observation sees this film smacking in disproportion an all-about-me blatant self-serving piece of advertising avarice. Measured, it seems there is little to do with the Canadian economic crisis?
A response was sent to Mr.McSorely’s first email with my concerns about having this NFB production in this blog. In retrospect, the response carried incredulous tone.
“With due respect – I must ask why you think I would waste band space promoting another realtor’s efforts?
Your request implies that you have not taken the time to read my blog in order to deduce that I am a REALTOR®. This leaves me to conclude that your request amounts to little more than spamming. Thanks for letting me know that the NFB was into that form of broadcasting.”
There’s Mail Again
Mr. McSorley responded with:
“I did read your blog and saw that you are a Realtor. At the same time, I thought the documentary speaks to current issues in the housing market that may be affecting all realtors; I therefore thought you may be either interested in sharing the documentary, or posting your thoughts about your own experiences on the site.”
Back At Yah
To Mr. McSorley:
“I appreciate your response to my concern but, I don’t think you get it!
The film in question featuring Keith Roy is in my opinion, a slick bit of advertising for that specific REALTOR®. From my perspective, it is in essence, a blatant electronic self promotion flyer – one I assume that was paid for by the NFB. In that NFB would do this without considering this implication is either extremely odd or beyond my scope of understanding the NFB’s mandate – I accept either.”
“While you and yours might artistically view it as a project that constructs a series of vignettes featuring “a day in the life of ” episodes it is important to understand that what you have built is as proposed – a piece of self promotion for that individual, nothing more! One is left to presume this is a reflection of your inability to understand this business called real estate.”
“If in fact if you did, you might then understand that from a competitive viewpoint, I would be reticent to include such advertising on my blog.”
“To simplify – it is equivalent to GM advertising Ford automobiles.”
“What remains disconcerting is that substantial public dollars were used to pay for this individual’s advertising. Is that a normal practice of the NFB?”
“This single aspect remains contentious.”
Ahh the Controversy
There are many REALTORS® who are avid self promoters – sorry folks it’s part of the business. No doubt you know one or two and you like them or you don’t. As to their efforts to curry your favor you are entitled to criticize, chastise or despise. Ian Watt is one of the kings of video blogging. So is Kye Grace and Tom Everett. Others such as Peter and Susan Clayton-Carol, Norm Flockhart remain traditionalists who have worked market areas plying your mail box with flyers, knocking doors or hand delivering free pens calendars and flowers to entreat your favor. They are a few of the hard working REALTORS® in our city.
Call them what you may, like them, dislike them, employ them, dismiss them – that choice is yours. However, to my knowledge, not one of these real estate professionals have ever made use of any public funds directly or indirectly vis a vis an entity such as the National Film Board to prop their individual advertising campaigns. While the go-to guy Mr. Roy may have conquered that mountain, anticipated is that the fall of being associated with using public funds for his personal promotion may bring him unwanted “celebrity status”.
Remaining unanswered is a contentious question for the powers at the National Film Board. Why was Mr. Mcsorley allowed to spend public funds in this manner? Do the powers at the NFB and Mr. Mcsorley in particular, not understand the optics? Does the oblivious production of this particular film failure strike as another reason Canada is in an Economic crisis?
* Disclaimer: Unknown is the real cost of the suit. Apologies to Samson’s if it was undervalued.
**Logo Courtesy National Film Board
***Film Courtesy National Film Board as per T.McSorley’s request