Lessons Learned 01


“We don’t know what we don’t know”. A cliche – yes, but true none-the-less.

During the late 70’s and early 80’s I owned and operated 4 video retail stores.
We sold video equipment and rented video movies – VHS and Beta.
I call these times the “Wild West” days of video. My stores were called Video Central.
I worked everyday and I was burning out. I needed a diversion.

My wife Donna and I had a miniature schnauzer at the time named Maggie.
We were blessed because Maggie was a great dog and very smart.
She had done really well at dog school and we were encouraged to try competing in the local dog obedience trials.

Donna signed us up for an amateur dog competition and she took Maggie to the groomers. Clipped her short and Maggie looked beautiful.

The weekend turned very hot but beautiful. The location for the event turned out to be a farm a short drive from the city. There were at least a hundred dogs there. There were rings set up for the different classes of competition. I was hooked. I could feel the excitement in the air.
Dogs and their owners everywhere – they all seemed to know what the were doing.
We had no clue. Someone pointed to the registration desk and we followed.

Each dog and their owner complete two sessions in the ring following a set of guidelines that are reviewed by a panel of judges. Start with 100 points and deductions are made for each error.

I was nervous and I was sweating from the heat. Maggie was cool and enjoyed socializing with the other dogs. I notice she was not sitting down and resting – but she was young and excited.

On our very first run in the ring we scored 99! Many of the other dog owners took notice and congratulated us. Our second run was not so successful.

The second trial included the long sit and the long down. The dog must remain stationary and not move while the owner walks away and waits for the judge to “release” the dogs.

Maggie would not sit still – she was fidgeting the whole time. I looked on in horror. This was her best trick. The long down was worse. We only scored a 76. As I walked out of the ring, three veteran dog handlers pulled me aside and asked me if I knew what had just happened.
Again – I had no clue.

Bottom line – Lessons learned – this is what you have been waiting for.

(I use these lessons learned in my video production business every day.)

They laughed and told me what should have been so obvious.

ALWAYS check the location of your event. We were outdoors – things happen. The grass had recently been cut short. It had burned from the heat.

ALWAYS check your equipment. Maggie had been recently groomed. She had no protection – cushioning – from the sharp burned grass. It was poking her exposed skin. Her stomach and her tush. She didn’t want to move but it hurt to sit and lay in the sharp grass.

ALWAYS seek advice from the more experienced professionals. We didn’t ask anyone about the ins and outs of dog competition. I could have avoided this situation and won the competition.

NEVER give up. Learn from your mistakes. Keep practicing and success will come.

JOIN a group that will help you and encourage you to achieve your goals.

Maggie and I continued training. We took weekends off from my business and traveled throughout the Midwest. In 1981 Maggie became the Number 1 Miniature Schnauzer in the country and the Number 3 Terrier in obedience competition in the country.

Allan Block, video producer, allanblockvideo@gmail.com

I encourage you to check out the MPVA – Minnesota Professional Video Producers Association.

Welcome to the MPVA

by Allan Block allan@mpvblog.com
 visit our www.MPVA.net website for more information.

This is my first blog post to the Minnesota Professional Video Producers Association blog.

I think it is important to offer some insight into why the MPVA actually exists.

Not so much who we are , but why we have been meeting as a professional organization since 1989. Do the math. That’s 26 consecutive years. I know we are one of the oldest video oriented professional associations, if not the oldest, in the country.

Groups, clubs, organizations and associations start and fail on the strength and commitment of its members.

I believe “You are what you share”. The members of the MPVA share information, tips, tricks, equipment reviews, business techniques and experiences.

“Ok Allan, but I can get all the information I need from the internet. All I have to do is Google and I can get everything I need from the World Wide Web. Why do I need to join a group and commit to attending meetings in person. My time is valuable.”

That is a true statement – with a few important exceptions.

Why Join a User Group?

User groups offer many benefits — regardless of your skill level and interest level.

Make new friends.

Meet people who share your interests and passions. Make friends – face to face – with whom you can talk about all things video. Production, equipment, business practices, troubleshooting, problem solving and more, or just hang out. Go to a monthly meeting or to special events.
On-line forums and chat rooms lack the personal interaction, the camaraderie, the help you may need in an emergency. 
Above all, you will learn that you are not alone, that others share the same success and failures that you do.

Get support and enhance your skills.

You’ve got questions. The MPVA has answers. Enhance your skills so you can take yourself to a new professional level, or create projects for your family or hobbies.

Learn, Teach, Mentor.

Maybe you’ve got some of the answers. A group like the MPVA is a rewarding way for you to share your expertise. Someone may have helped you learn about technology; now you can repay the favor while meeting new people and making new contacts. Learn and benefit from the experiences of our MPVA members.

Find local resources.

The Internet provides many answers and resources. However, nothing beats the personal connection of meeting with local video producers and exploring the resources that are available locally — from resellers to technical support to community activities.


Need a freelancer, an editor, a sound man, a voice over pro, a grip, a secretary – a date. Find a mentor. Find a business partner. There are so many networking opportunities.

Make business contacts.

Maybe you’re not looking for a date, but you could be looking for professional contacts and networks. Meet people who run and manage area businesses, law practices, and medical centers and discuss ways you can build relationships that are beneficial to all parties.

Volunteer in the community.

The MPVA can help you use your video skills to help community charitable and non-profit organizations. Help create awareness about important causes and help make a better world.

It’s just plain fun.

There’s something about the MPVA and user groups that makes members come back time after time. We love it. We love the people we meet and the opportunities that the MPVA creates. Being a member is just plain fun.

And on a final note,

I want to put something out there in the open.

There a many, many experts and “gurus” on the internet. They love to claim they are giving away a “free” training. I have watched many hours of training. Much of it has a valuable tip or lesson.

But, I want you to understand that there is no such thing as “free”.

You pay for it with your time and attention.

If you value your time as much as I value mine, then you can be sure that my membership in the MPVA over the last 26 years has been the most valuable time I have “invested” in my professional career. I never fail to learn something new at each meeting.

The members of the MPVA are committed to making sure you are rewarded with that much value just for showing up.

I encourage you to visit one of our meetings. Meet our members, learn something new, share your experiences with us, see if there is a fit for you and consider joining.

If you are one of our internet guests and don’t live in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul and Minnesota, I encourage you to look for video user groups in your area and benefit from the valuable friendships you will make.

I am Allan Block. Questions? contact me atallan@mpvablog.com

Visit the MPVA .net website for more information .