What inspired you to make a film about yourself? ^ In August 2001, I had taken a trip to California and decided to videotape it. It was my first time in California. I had been competing in bodybuilding since 1996 and I had done really well. I had taken two years off from competing to get really big and I wanted to show people how big I had gotten. I went from 230 pounds to 290 pounds in about a year and two months. I gained all that weight naturally. But don’t get me wrong, I was not 290- pounds ripped; I looked more like the guys you see on “World’s Strongest Man” competition. When I went to California, I was almost in shape, enough shape to get noticed, and I knew something was going to happen. So I competed in the Iron Man, a natural NPC event. I finished in third place, so I needed to be a little leaner. During the competition I had talked to many people and two companies that were there showed some interest in sponsoring me: Dorian Yates’ company, and ProLab. I ended up signing with Yates and they helped to sponsor the movie.
What was the budget for this production and in what format was it produced? ^ The video was shot on small digital cameras. The full budget was around $8,000. Dorian Yates’ company basically helped with the budget, but a lot came out of my pocket, too.
Did you attempt to get the video picked up for distribution by companies like GMV or Repetrope, or did you always consider self-distributing? ^ At first I considered selling it to television, but when I went over all the footage that we shot I thought about doing it differently. I wanted to use this movie as an appetizer–this is just a glimpse of me. I know that I can make a much better video with a bigger budget and more help. So I wanted to produce something that gave you an idea, but not the big picture, of what I am about. That’s why there is no real one-on-one interviewing. At one time I did consider selling the video to GMV Productions, but I know that once the second video goes out and is sold that people will want to see the first video. In fact, nearly everyone who purchased the first video wants to see a second.
How and where do you sell the video? And what is the suggested retail price? And where have most of the sales come from? ^ The video is sold from both my websites. It is also sold on eBay, on occasion. I produced a special version of the video that is limited to only five copies; at the moment I have three left and they are being sold for $100 a piece. The video itself is sold for $28.00 and that includes shipping. I sell to people all over the world as long as they have an NTSC-capable VCR. I do not produce copies in PAL, though I could, but it’s just too much of a pain in the a*s. California, and New Jersey are my biggest selling states, with New York and Pennsylvania not too far behind. But if someone cannot afford a video and really wants one, I sometimes send them one for free.
I first saw the video being marketed on eBay. Why did you opt to release your video there and what has the response been from eBay shoppers? ^ Actually, everyone who got a copy on eBay loved the video. I think there was only one person who did not like the video because he said there wasn’t enough talking. But I have gotten amazing e-mails from some younger viewers who told me I have inspired them to compete and get in shape. I really love those e-mails because they help me to “keep the eye of the tiger.”
How many copies have you sold to date? ^ So far I sold around 100, but I’ve given away about 100 so there are around 200 copies out there somewhere! That’s not a lot of videos, but if one person watches the video with some other people it really gets things going.
Get the rest of the interview in part three of PAUL DESIMONE: THE NEXT VERY BIG THING>>>