Sunday, January 1, 2012

Formula: Storage Wars:Texas + Moe Prigoff = Storage Wars: Barry Weiss

So, with STORAGE WARS:Texas hitting the tube, we now have another "professional storage locker" buyer who has that antiques/collectibles buyer sort of slant.

I realize these programs follow a "formula." Thus, the plan seems to add Moe Prigoff to the Texas crew to create that vibe that Barry Weiss gives to the original Storage Wars.

I like junk TV programming, I is my business, after all. I am also intelligent enough to see it as "entertainment" and not "that is REAL LIFE" is a polished, edited, buffed up, TV representation of life, but not real life. Heck, for one episode of AP they film about 50 hours of OVER 49 hours worth of footage is edited out! It is entertainment, and I like it, usually.

I have to admit, I am already a little tired of the way the spin offs seem to be going....ALREADY.

Though, I guess if I got a call to be a buyer featured on what would undoubtedly be called "STORAGE WARS: MANITOBA" I might consider it.

Cash is cash, after all.

However, I have substantial doubts it will get to that I really doubt that following the "formula" they have will really work for long.   Unless you really change things up, and make the next "spin-off" its own program, independent from the parent, the formula based clone is destined to fall to the wayside...some quicker than others. The offspring might well bring down the parent into the pit of cancellation, also.

Reality TV hasn't figured out what producers of successful fictional TV program franchises have figured out.
Let's take the Law & Order franchise, as an example.

They are all DIFFERENT.  Yes, they target a similar/same audience, but, their STAYING power lies in the fact they have very DIFFERENT characters, a DIFFERENT formula for each series, and DIFFERENT settings.

Yes, there are some crossovers in characters, even the odd plot, and they are similar in a some ways. However, in other ways they are VERY different from each other.

 Many of the reality TV franchises can not lay a legitimate claim to their shows being VERY different from each other. Some of the spin-off programs have had the embarrassing misfortune to have hosts that even opt to use the same lingo used by the parent show's hosts!

That is just, well, tacky.....I find those TV moments down right painful...I cringe.    It makes it a little too obvious that the hosts are not "legit".... 

That is, unless you are unfamiliar with the trades they are depicting, and you assume that the lingo used on the parent program is the common lingo used right across the trade. Yes, we have trade terms used right across our business...some examples:

Mint condition
NOS/New-old stock

Let's take some lingo yanked from American Pickers as an example.  "Honey hole" is not a term I had EVER used  (nor use now) to describe a great picking spot.

From what I have been told by a few veterans of the metal detecting hobby, the term is used in the metal detecting world...and has been for as many years as the hobby has been out there. That actually makes more sense to dig holes when you metal detect, usually.

 The first time I had ever heard it related to picking was on AP....and I have been in this biz for just as long as Mike (Wolfe) has. (Though I am younger than Mike....might not look it, but it is true! Hey, I've earned my grey hair and weathered features, damn it!)

The first time I heard Mike say "honey hole" on American Pickers I did a triple take...

 If you weren't aware of the fact already, "honey hole" does have some other definitions that were far more commonly meant when those words were spoken.

As you see, neither of which relates to the antiques business...well, directly, anyway...but any of those sorts of stories are strictly kept amongst a group of pickers, sitting around a bonfire, and after several bottles of beer have been consumed....

Wikipedia nails it down as a mainly hunting & fishing term, though they add American Pickers as a "Popular Culture" notation.

The power of TV is pretty strong in the popularizing of terms and their uses, eh?

I am betting that there will be a "UK PICKERS" or "BRITISH PICKERS" or "PICKERS IN KILTS" or whatever, that is almost inevitable. A change of country can potentially work as a twist that may well hold viewers, if the casting is right.

I have to admit, I was initially a bit excited about "Canadian Pickers" being produced.....until I saw the first episode....and the rest of the episodes.  I was very hopeful....I am an optimist, believe it or not.
Their 2nd season is going to air (finally) in January 2012, so I will save you from any rants, critiques and least until after the new episodes air.

 Though, I would really like to hear YOUR opinions of the show....

Actually, comments on ANY of the junk biz TV shows are welcome!

I'd also like you to honestly note how long you have been a professional/making a living/supplementing income/etc in the "junk biz", if you are a long time junker but not pro, or if you are a rosy cheeked fresh newcomer, inspired by the programs you have seen.  I actually think it is GREAT there are newcomers, fresh faces, etc, so do not feel shy that you have become hooked on "junk"...there are MANY of us "addicts" out there.

I have found one thing, in analysis of the last couple years worth of Junk TV programs. The take on things in the "junk biz" by Reality TV seems to have a focus, or at least a "chunk" of attention is paid to, one basic thing..

It includes "getting a deal"..."negotiating"..."appraisals"....."how much"...."it could be valuable"....which are all connected to:

Making MONEY.
The almighty buck and its children (bastard and otherwise), get tossed up on our screens to the point of near absurdity when it comes to those programs.
That is all fine and dandy,  with the economy and all, they are trying to lure people in to watch.

However, too much of it can really make this biz look like a bunch of money hungry folks whose focus is just on that dollar sign...or Pound sign, or Euro sign...whatever.

Ok, I admit that we do like the cash aspect of it, sure, but that is not the appeal for most of the "players" out there in this field.  We have personalities beyond the almighty buck....and reasons we are in this that go beyond  that. Mike shows that in AP...he goes batty over bicycles. Frank goes owly over oil cans. They are legit in their passion when it comes to "old junk", and it shows.

Me? I LOVE the thrill of the hunt. That is my addiction!

Hell, pay me a realistic wage for what I do, the experience I have, education I have accumulated (etc), back me with $$$ for buying and I will PICK antiques and other assorted cool/neat/weird/odd sundry items on a salary basis! Will have your shop filled to capacity in a matter of weeks....heck, under a week if you have no particular category of vintage items you want.

Problem is, I need cash to buy the cash, no hunting for dusty paying too much doesn't work....keeping stuff does not work....

Yep, a true addiction...and I am doing what I have to in order to feed my addiction.

I need, not AA....I need:

Antiques Addicts Anonymous.

My name is Bear, and...umm......I am self-employed...I am an entrepreneur....

So, um, now when do we get to have that coffee & those cookies? I haven't had lunch...spent my last $20 on those tin cans over there by the door......say, what is in the basement of this building?

All in all, viewers who are even just on the fringes of "the junk business" are smart enough to realize that Reality TV's take on the "Junk Biz" thus far is not realistic.

SO, now think of those who are newbies....just how long is it going to take for them to figure out it is just not like it is on TV...and some/many of the things said, done, experienced, etc, is not the day to day reality of that they themselves have experienced the "junk lifestyle" first hand?

And what happens after they have expressed this to ALL their friends, and relatives...who tell all their friends and relatives, who tell all their friends and relatives, who.......)

Got the picture?

Even the "good" junk biz programs will start falling in popularity. Reality TV is crying wolf.

No pun intended....if I had intended a pun, there would have been an E on the end.

That said,  I'd think that Mr Wolfe's original premise (which I believe was to focus far more on the people, especially the real characters we pickers encounter) is actually a more long term survivor, in my opinion.

What do most of us do with an antiques/collectibles price guide once it is a few years old?

Compare that to your other reference books in the bookcase...the many "book of silver marks", "pottery marks" or other books we use for research purposes? And that favourite novel you read and reread?

What about the spin-offs that are pure "follow the formula" of the successful parent Reality "Junk TV" show?

Well, they will be the first to fall....if they didn't hit circular file called "cancellation" after their first season....or first few episodes.

What I clearly recognize that is needed for "junk TV" keep a grip on the audiences long term is simple...non-formula based spin-offs.

Fans have clearly and loudly expressed this about other programs.

 Danielle Colby-Cushman of American Pickers is a PRIME example of this. 

She is founder of a BURLESQUE troop for crying out loud...and a former roller derby queen.... ....she makes/remakes/designs CLOTHING, is an ARTIST...and a, COME ON, can no one (in the production company) not see "SPIN-OFF MATERIAL" flashing in bright orange tubing of a huge (but of course rusty) neon sign???

No, I am not a fanboy of Danielle's. She seems to be a cool person and all, but so are many folks I know in this biz, who think for themselves, and are "eccentric" in some ways...and are not on TV, nor ever will be. Frankly, many SHOULD be...they are certainly all far more interesting than some of the folks that have been cast in these shows.

Don't get me wrong, there are lots of interesting & simply cool folks out there that have been cast/given shows (some current, some gone) that are certainly quality TV characters, but some are just NOT...and who ever cast them is not doing their job well at all.

AH, that is IT, I know what the next big Reality TV blockbuster will be!


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