On Stealing Content

 MODA News  Comments Off
Apr 072010
q How much of MODA’s proprietary work gets distributed in the fashion industry? How much of our content has been plagiarized by agencies and modeling schools?

Internet content theft is so common that most people don’t even consider it a crime. It really isn’t a crime unless the thief uses it for the purpose of making money.  Kind of like prostitution;  it’s a crime but who’s going to catch you, right?

a 100% All of it, all the time, and yes, we know about it.

So true.

All MODA materials are copyrighted and the original files have been properly documented to prove that what we wrote belongs to us. There is a legal Affidavit affirming me as the originator of my own published words and when they were written.

Because if I don’t,
can claim them.
So when I see my work used in other people’s content, I do get a little irritated but I just assume there is

nothing original about that agency and they will soon go to most of them go rather quickly anyway. agency where

When I see my very words

used to promote a new school or agency, I feel the need for petty revenge. When I see my class descriptions used nearly word for word on another school’s information sheet, I do get a little bit miffed. After all, it’s hard work developing a curriculum that works so I suppose stealing is what people have to do thou when they lack creativity and are motivated by the few lindens they will make from my work. I’ve even been sent photographs of my training platforms and notecards full of the same exact wording, even, that I developed when I wrote the classes for MODA three years ago.

Here’s a tip:  Ctrl+C Ctrl+V is not the same as creating.

<<MODA WILL NEVER FIND OUT>> You see most people who enter our doors usually stay with us a very long time. So when someone does leave, and suddenly there are modeling classes that mimic ours, it’s not difficult to know who’s alt it is.

Besides, For the most part, the fashion industry thrives on drama and gossip and spying, and is not especially loyal unless there is promise of fame, fortune and future lindens.

If people are telling our trade “secrets” they are telling yours too. The difference is, you will not find my staff spying on anybody’s work because MODA has a strict policy against such tactics.
MODA doesn’t have a Spy Department.
MODA doesn’t have a Spy Department. We don’t send people to attend modeling schools, or agencies, to bring back information.

It’s nice that so many people have that kind of time and extra lindens to spy and copy and steal, but quite honestly, I’m really glad that I don’t!  Besides, we wrote the words, we created the classes, the slogans, and the curriculum, and we are too busy creating, developing and writing new things.

Yes, I know all the new stuff will be plagiarized just like the old stuff was.
We’re not going to make it easy though.

Those non-compete agreements are serious, as is our word and our business, and we will protect what we have, and what we do.  What we will not do is scream and fuss about it, airing our dirty

laundry in public.  We will not name names or finger_pointing in the media. And I will laugh out loud the

next time I see a content thief screaming to the media about stolen content.

We might even thank them for doing our dirty work while we play with our new toys.

Fashion Show Math

 MODA News  Comments Off
Apr 022010

Fashion designers today have it pretty easy when it comes to marketing their work via fashion shows. Most fashion show producers don’t charge anything and they do all the work. This means the models don’t get paid, the announcers don’t get paid and there may or may no be any writers. Graphic design is usually at the hands of someone who just learned how to use Photoshop and you get what you get. I have to say, though, most of them out there do a better job than I do. Really what it comes down to though, is that a lot of hours are being spent on marketing someone else’s work and apparently, nobody gets paid.


I feel a little guilty about that. Admittedly, when MODA first started, I couldn’t justify charging designers for showing their work, since they did us a favor by giving us wardrobe to model so I could teach the students how to produce a show. We always say we raise the bar when it comes to perfection, quality and professionalism but I think we missed the cue when we passed the point of training new students. I can still understand the schooling shows being free. I mean really, designers are doing us huge favors, and just because we now have a full staff of talented writers, photographers and producers, we are still in the business of training models. Once we graduate them, though, they are no longer trainees, and someone needs to start paying them.


Many of our models aspire to work on Spotlight. Trust me, it isn’t because of the high salary they will earn. It’s the challenge, the thrill of being “on” 100%, all the time. They are adrenaline junkies at heart and Spotlight is a perfect opportunity for them to prove just how good they really are. On Spotlight, the models don’t get paid by me, I ask the designers to tip them. Some do and some don’t. The average tip ranges from 500 to 1000 lindens per model. Not bad…. when they do get paid. I recently discovered that most weeks they don’t make anything. In fact, for 2010, January to April, the models have averaged a total of 2,200 lindens, total. Divide that by the 11 episodes we have produced so far in 2010. That means the Spotlight models have made an average of 200 lindens per show this year. That might have covered the cost of their eyelashes


The models buy hair, shoes, lashes, nails, skins and minimal, no-bling accessories out of their own budgets. They are typically wearing 2500 lindens or more for each outfit they show, not including wardrobe. In addition, they are required to spend time shopping, self-promoting, modeling for other people in order to keep their skills current, styling for each item they show and rehearsing for each Spotlight episode.  Really they don’t expect a return on their financial investments, they know the things they shop for will help them in their career. In reality, a generous tip is nice because it can help them to purchase more beauty.  When the designer pays them nothing, however, it sends the message that they did not do enough.  And honest “I’m sorry, I’m broke but thank you for doing a beautiful job” will go much further than simply ignoring the fact that tips are actually expected here.


It’s true, I pay my staff each week. Pretty much everyone except the models gets a small part of my budget. They deserve much more but I can only do what I can. I pay them as a way of thanking them for helping and for being so much a part of our team. The models not only work for me, they work for the designers, and I want to encourage interaction and feedback between models and designers. The models stay after the show to meet the designers and thank them for the opportunity to model. Spotlight models are genuine and they love what they do. They never ask for anything and I agree, they should be paid.

I don’t charge designers what it costs me to produce their Spotlight shows each week but if I’m going to start paying the models what they deserve, then I will have to charge designers to produce their shows as well. Why should I have to pay for it all, right?


Remember, it isn’t only lindens that we spend on Spotlight. Time is still a commodity and this team spends it like tap water. Just how much time are we talking about?

I’ll just do a little more math and make my point a little clearer:

Writers: 24 hours
Models: 48 hours
Modeling Coach: 12 hours
Assistant Coach: 7 hours
Wardrobe Coordinator: 4 hours
Creative Director: 2 hours
Announcers: 4 hours
Pre-show Advertising: 2 hours
Post-Show Advertising: 3 hours
Film Crew: 2 hours
Post Rendering Service: 6 hours
Post Episode Service to Designers: 2 hours
Total Hours per episode: 146 hours

Paid staff and expenses: 15000 lindens.

If I pay the Spotlight models what they are really worth, I value them at about 5000 lindens each episode. Without them, we have no show, and they honestly put endless hours perfecting their craft just to be able to perform on the show.

Eight models at 5000 linden each is 40,000 lindens.

Paid staff and expenses: 15,000 lindens
Spotlight models: 4,0000 lindens
Total cost of production: 55,000 lindens


The cost to have a machinima created is about 50,000 to 100,000 lindens for a 1 to 10 minute production. Designers who participate in Spotlight walk away with a 30 minute production that dedicates the entire time to promote their work.

Cost to designers = Pay the models

All I ask from designers is that they pay the models. I suggest an amount because it answers the question “how much?” I call it a “tip” because my suggested amount is only that: A suggestion. The actual amount of the tip is up to the designer. I’m not trying to break anyone’s budget, I just want to the models to get some love from the people they work so hard to please.


Either designers will tip the models, whatever is affordable and reasonable to them, and show them the courtesy they deserve, or they can pay me 55,000 lindens to produce their Spotlight episode and I will pay the models. Then maybe the models can remove their “Will Work For Manicures” tags and I can afford to put gas in my car and stop riding the stupid Metro bus.

Mar 302010

gossip – drama – confusion – issues = laundry

Every business has its share of dirty laundry. Sometimes its gossip, sometimes money issues, lack of a solid mission or business plan, sometimes it’s just plain and simple personality conflict, or a poor system for information management. The reason we call it Dirty Laundry is because inside the washing machine, laundry is despoiled without too much damage, and laundry comes out clean.  The washing machine is the equivalent of the organizational structure and its ability to manage diverse teams. Just like laundry at home, dirty laundry requires attention from inside the machine so that people on the outside never have to experience it.

Rather than have it fester and become a much larger problem that it really is, all laundry, otherwise known as  “bad information,” becomes “drama”  should have a prevention plan.  

  • Plan Information
  • Manage Information
  • Share Information

Deal with dirty laundry by preventing it.

cleaning laundry extinguishes gossip before it starts

More importantly, having a well written, honest Mission Statement and business plan will take care of most laundry in advance simply by clarifying your purpose. 

Answer these questions before opening your door

  • Why Are You Here?
  • Who Are You Helping?
  • What Are You Doing?

At MODA, we make laundry duty everyone’s job. Not because we have no plan for fire prevention, or extinguishing gossip, but because it’s important to all of us that our models and other family members are comfortable here. MODA is a safe place for those who want to take their careers seriously and to make a difference in their community.

“MODA is a fashion-based entertainment and marketing company that promotes fashion in Second Life with the purpose of providing quality creative content that can be enjoyed both in virtual and in outside life.”

Ok, I made it sound easy:
Make a Plan, Add People. 

Not exactly

  1. Earn Trust
  2. Be Sincere
You can lure people with shiny things but when your structure fails for lack of preparedness, you end up at the bottom of the lake with the rest of the shiny things. People will come when they trust you.

THE most important traits in a leader is sincerity.


“While our mission is to provide a safe and exciting learning environment for fashion marketing and production professionals, we enjoy the ambition of introducing tangible products to the realm of virtual marketing, education and entertainment.”

There is a lot of new talent in virtual worlds just looking for the shiny lure.  Unfortunately, most find themselves in an empty group, on an inactive team, or having to build what they thought would be there for them.  We try to screen for people who are too attracted to shiny things in the first place.  MODA is a symbol of quality and stability, and finding like-minded members is how we intend to remain this way.  Our screening methods alone have created dirty laundry, as people who were not admitted need to feel justified in their disappointment.  Really though, many of those people have moved on to do great things so why bother with the drama?

We are sorry for those who do not make the cut, and we are sorry for the dirty laundry they sometimes create. All of that mess and drama, however, does not belong to us and we don’t have time to clean other people’s messes. We make laundry duty everybody's job.

The bottom line is, as much as we are in the business of training models, we are also in the business of entertaining. We have chosen the path of cleaner laundry, which for us means more emphasis on quality control and training good leaders than on being spun in the media and generating dirty laundry. So if you happen to see soiled personal items laying around, please pick it up yourself or return it to the owner because it won’t belong to MODA.

Mar 222010

In case you didn’t already know, MODA is in the business of training models. Training models is our primary focus, and that is what we do better than anyone else.

The fashion industry is serious business, especially when Lindens turn to dollars or Euro, for fashion designers, that is.  For shoppers, fashion is an obsession. As clothing wearing people, we take pride in the way we look, we dress the way we feel, or want to feel, and we change clothes often. Ok, I don’t change clothes often but believe it or not, I am not stuck on fashion. My focus is on the business end of fashion.  I change clothes about every two or three weeks or whenever I see something I really must have.

Let’s talk about that for just a moment.  Being that nothing is really one of a kind fashion in Second Life, what inspires me to finally change clothes; to spend lindens on something new, and precious time on styling it?  What I look for summed up in two words:  unique and quality. My time is valuable so I won’t waste it styling something I think is second rate work. It can be expensive or not, but it has to be perfectly orchestrated, original and different.  It has to scream “amazing!” Q


The same goes for my business. I hold MODA to the same high standards as I do fashion

designers and fashion agencies. I expect them to develop their own unique look and to exploit it well. I demand quality in every way. Starting from the basics, I expect a positive, confident attitude I EXPECT
that is kind toward others yet strong with healthy boundaries.  I expect adults, not children, so the term drama is vague and is strictly not allowed. I expect our models to be finely fitted

down to the minute details and I expect a perfect performance every single moment. Performance on the runway is well rehearsed and perfectly executed. Performance backstage is prepared and calm. Performance after the show is cordial, professional and inviting. Performance as a MODA model is dependable, nurturing and considerate at all times. I ask for a lot, and I get it, because that is my business. MODA is my passion, and training models is what we do.

The fashion industry is serious business, especially when Lindens turn to dollars or Euro, for fashion designers, that is.

Here’s how it works:

Out of a hundred or so applicants to MODA Modeling School,  a handful will be selected to join our modeling school.  Criteria for acceptance is based on research, reputation and sometimes interviews.
From the beginning we ask for dedication to learning.

  • We make it clear exactly how that translates in terms of time, effort and money for each student to achieve graduation.
  • We tell people in advance that perfection is not something you can get from wearing a HUD or listening to lectures.
  • We don’t allow fancy shortcuts, so students either understand it now, or they continue working with us until we know they understand it.
  • We understand that life does get in the way sometimes and classes have to be postponed, and we understand that for some, rules are meant to be broken and that quitting happens.

However, in every class, there are always those few who persevere and graduate looking, acting and working like MODA-trained models; educated and groomed to perfection.

What’s Next:

MODA graduates are automatically eligible to work on any of our non-televised fashion events. They are eligible to work at MODA as mentors, print models, graphic designers, assistants and many other capacities, based on their interests and what MODA needs. MODA graduates are also eligible to apply for a place on the MODA Fashioin Spotlight team.

S p o t l i g h t  m o d e l s  a r e  e l i t e

Spotlight is not intended for the meek, nor for the unrehearsed or lazy. Spotlight models are elite not because they are on television each week, or because they are specifically trained to do live film work. Spotlight models are available, dedicated and active in the modeling community. They work under constant pressure, and they work as a team. They are dedicated to providing the best in entertainment, in showmanship and modeling perfection, week after week. Each is trained to be a leader should the need arise. Each model is trained in ways to improvise in case of emergency. There are no “re-takes” or do-overs on Spotlight so knowing what to do and being able to do it, no matter what, is an absolute requirement. That is why Spotlight models are elite.

Training elite models requires a strong and dedicated team. The MODA team has worked together for more than three years and we make it our mission to provide the quality training methods and experience that we know our students expect from us. Our experiences over the years have taught us many lessons about working with virtual teams, fashion agencies and designers, and real models. We have learned how to meet our own high standards, and we have learned how to set them higher. We understand that we will never know it all and that we are still learning from our students and from our work. As technology improves and lags our systems, our pocketbooks and our time, we know that our job is never truly done.

We also know that we train the best.

If you are interested in attending MODA Modeling School, our next session begins in April/May 2010. You can visit us in SL or you can fill out the form here. If accepted, you will receive an invitation in-world, to join the MODA Modeling Students Group. This is a private group where you can find out what’s going on at MODA, and when your classes will start. You will be required to attend the Introduction to MODA meeting. Time and date for that will be announced only in the MODA Modeling Student Group.