My Big Friggin' Mistake: A Cautionary Tale

Business By AsburyArt Updated 9 Jan 2011 , 3:48am by DebBTX

AsburyArt Posted 5 Jan 2011 , 7:39pm
post #1 of 33

What was it like to be a cake designer before The Cake Boss and Ace of Cakes? For most, this is the face of the industry, and the manufactured drama surrounding those shows and others like them does a disservice to the hard work and amazing creativity of every anonymous cake decorator out there, professional or not. Yet, when asked to make a cake for a new wedding based reality TV show, I jumped at the chance. The show is called My Big Friggin Wedding (MBFW). You may have seen it. I regret my involvement so maybe youll learn something from my experience.

I was informed at the outset that the show centered on five couples in the process of planning their weddings. The show was not going to be about cakes; I had no illusions. But I did think it was going to be about planning a wedding and selecting a cake is part of that process. When contacted, the wedding was three weeks away and right in middle of the fall wedding season. My shop is small and during this time we are very busy. The wedding date in question was booked solid and any other client would have been turned away. I agreed to a filmed consult and tasting out of a sense of curiosity, but felt a plug, no matter how small, would make it worth my time. There had to be some reward for the inconvenience, right? More on that later.

The MBFW crew arrived late, set up their lighting and other gear requiring minor rearrangement of my shop. I had to sign a lengthy contract and initial all the various legalities. The bride to be, Alyssa, also arrived late. Alyssa was sullen and withdrawn. It was like pulling teeth to get her to talk about what she wanted. You no doubt know this type of client. It was curious how Alyssa had no desire to contribute at all to the design of her cake. Overall, the process took 3 hours. I had scheduled her tasting and her cake to my inconvenience. Did she know or care?

Look, I knew going in I was being used but I expected something out of this process. The producers were getting material for their show. Alyssa was getting a $2200 cake I doubt she could have afforded otherwise. She didnt offer to pay, and I didnt ask because my cake was going to be on TV. The exposure would be the gravy.

Yet, with the first episode aired, I gave up thinking there would be any benefit at all to this endeavor. Alyssas sense of entitlement and emotional histrionics in every episode shed light on the consult. Had I chosen to provoke Alyssa, make a scene, be an ass in general, screw up the cake, or fail to deliver the cake on time, VH1 would have gladly aired the footage Im sure. This should not have been a surprise, and yet it was.

My cake finally caught some air time in the series finale. Maybe 5 seconds worth. There was no mention of who made it. As of this writing, neither the producers nor Alyssa has thanked me for my effort. Ive heard that is true of the other vendors as well.

In the end this wasn't a show about weddings or even planning weddings. It was a show about classless drama queens and its milieu could have been any industry at all. Once I saw how poorly behaved the participants were, Im grateful to have remained professional and that the MBFW producers left my store off the screen.

So, would I collaborate with VH1 or those producers again? No, never. Would I recommend you do it? Not a chance.

32 replies
Dayti Posted 5 Jan 2011 , 8:52pm
post #2 of 33

Ouch, that must hurt. Is there no way you can get any kind of payment/compensation from them? Because if you had known from the outset, I bet you wouldn't have agreed on a $2200 cake (maybe a $220 one!). How come they don't even list the vendors at the end of the show, in a "thanks" or "acknowledgements" kind of way?
Sorry you had to go through this. It just goes to show the rubbish they put on TV lately. Did the show even have an audience/ratings?

tootie0809 Posted 5 Jan 2011 , 9:04pm
post #3 of 33

Wow, what a bummer! The show didn't pay for the cake? That's insane! I have always figured on these reality shows like My Fair Wedding or Four Weddings, etc. that the show would pay for all the items in the wedding, part of the perk of being selected as one of the brides or something. For the show to not pay you is ridiculous. I'm so sorry you went through this. I'd be livid if I were you too!

gr8yf Posted 5 Jan 2011 , 9:09pm
post #4 of 33

I haven't heard of the show but I too am curious what was your reward/payment for time and cake?

jason_kraft Posted 5 Jan 2011 , 9:13pm
post #5 of 33

The only reason there are so many reality shows out there is that they are very cheap to make, so I'm not surprised you weren't paid. From past dealings with the media I've learned to look for the writer/producer/reporter's agenda, since whatever you say will be forced into that agenda, even if it means quoting you out of context. I've also found that the integrity of the media representative is often inversely proportional to the anticipated audience size.

If there is any positive footage of you or your cake from the show, you may want to request a digital copy from VH1 and post it on your web site...that way you could at least highlight the fact that your cakes have been on TV.

cakedoff Posted 5 Jan 2011 , 9:30pm
post #6 of 33

I AM SO SICK OF THESE SHOWS! It's not only the reality shows. Even the competition shows are not at all what the general public thinks they are. I know PERSONALLY a pretty renowned person who competed and won one of the cake challenges. This person had nothing good to say about the experience, except that it was, well an experience. It's expensive for the competitors, edited to death, and the final product shown on television in no way shows what actually happened during the making of these cakes. The competitors work is actually sabotaged in order to raise the "excitement quotient". Heat is turned up, A/C turned off to make the competitors sweat and ruin their creations. Equipment is moved and/or hidden by the stage crew. And, after all is said and done, the creations are not consumed or donated, but destroyed. Even the giant wedding or celebration cakes made for a person or couple featured on the shows are destroyed and sheet cakes are served. INSANE!

Kellbella Posted 5 Jan 2011 , 10:05pm
post #7 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakedoff

I AM SO SICK OF THESE SHOWS! It's not only the reality shows. Even the competition shows are not at all what the general public thinks they are. I know PERSONALLY a pretty renowned person who competed and won one of the cake challenges. This person had nothing good to say about the experience, except that it was, well an experience. It's expensive for the competitors, edited to death, and the final product shown on television in no way shows what actually happened during the making of these cakes. The competitors work is actually sabotaged in order to raise the "excitement quotient". Heat is turned up, A/C turned off to make the competitors sweat and ruin their creations. Equipment is moved and/or hidden by the stage crew. And, after all is said and done, the creations are not consumed or donated, but destroyed. Even the giant wedding or celebration cakes made for a person or couple featured on the shows are destroyed and sheet cakes are served. INSANE!




icon_surprised.gificon_eek.gificon_surprised.gificon_eek.gif
What??? They don't serve the cakes they make? They throw them out? I know everything is rigged for "show business" but that is insane!!

Sorelle Posted 5 Jan 2011 , 10:09pm
post #8 of 33

Wow! so sorry for what should have been a moment of glory turning out so sour. I'd love to see your cake though. Also how did they find you? Did you find them? Nice, regular people don't expect to be screwed because we don't think that way. I'm gonna go look at your cakesicon_smile.gif

NerdyGirl Posted 5 Jan 2011 , 10:12pm
post #9 of 33

Read the contract, read the contract, READ THE CONTRACT!

And ask a million questions before saying "yes."

Sorelle Posted 5 Jan 2011 , 10:15pm
post #10 of 33

OMG! your cakes are friggin' awesome! I've been doing cakes a little over a year now so that I can be you when I grow up. (even though Im a grandma)

cakesbycathy Posted 5 Jan 2011 , 10:39pm
post #11 of 33

I mean this with absolutely no disrespect, but...
Did you ever watch the show BEFORE agreeing to do the cake?

It really sucks that you are out the time and money for the cake and I definitely understand the hope was that you would get some tv exposure. However, IMHO, given the behavior of those on the show you are lucky that you aren't associated with it.

Kitagrl Posted 5 Jan 2011 , 10:41pm
post #12 of 33

Man oh man, thanks for the warning!

So did the contract state you were doing all that for absolute free? I thought the tv show would pay for her wedding. Ugh.

sabre Posted 5 Jan 2011 , 10:48pm
post #13 of 33

AAHH! Reality TV! Two years ago I canceled my TV service because I couldn't justify paying for this crap, and I haven't missed a single moment of it since. No more "reality" shows and no more lying news media gives me more time and $ for cake toys.

Kitagrl Posted 5 Jan 2011 , 10:49pm
post #14 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by sabre

AAHH! Reality TV! Two years ago I canceled my TV service because I couldn't justify paying for this crap, and I haven't missed a single moment of it since. No more "reality" shows and no more lying news media gives me more time and $ for cake toys.




I know, we got sick of paying $$$ for tv, too. We just threw up an outdoor antenna and if we HAVE to watch the weather or something, or the kids wanna watch PBS, then we can. Or occasional ballgames. I don't miss it.

AsburyArt Posted 5 Jan 2011 , 10:50pm
post #15 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakesbycathy

I mean this with absolutely no disrespect, but...
Did you ever watch the show BEFORE agreeing to do the cake?

It really sucks that you are out the time and money for the cake and I definitely understand the hope was that you would get some tv exposure. However, IMHO, given the behavior of those on the show you are lucky that you aren't associated with it.




The filming took place before any episodes had aired. This was a new show, so I had little to go on.

I did not seek payment. To focus on my valuation of the cake is to miss the point.

Kitagrl Posted 5 Jan 2011 , 10:53pm
post #16 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by AsburyArt

Quote:
Originally Posted by cakesbycathy

I mean this with absolutely no disrespect, but...
Did you ever watch the show BEFORE agreeing to do the cake?

It really sucks that you are out the time and money for the cake and I definitely understand the hope was that you would get some tv exposure. However, IMHO, given the behavior of those on the show you are lucky that you aren't associated with it.



The filming took place before any episodes had aired. This was a new show, so I had little to go on.

I did not seek payment. To focus on my valuation of the cake is to miss the point.




Yeah but a $2200 cake without any opportunity for the "free advertising" you were hoping for is a little unfair.....

NerdyGirl Posted 5 Jan 2011 , 11:00pm
post #17 of 33

But the problem is: the cake...and your services...have VALUE, especially within a business. If you're going to sign a contract, it's extremely important to know exactly what both sides are getting. Now, not only are you out of valuable exposure, you're out your time (when you could have been working on something else) and supplies.

I may sound mean, I do mean it in the most caring way. Do NOT agree to put yourself or anything connected to you on tv without fully understanding the terms of the contract. You'd expect your customers to comply with their contract. This is the same thing. Business.

cakedoff Posted 5 Jan 2011 , 11:13pm
post #18 of 33

She was wrapped up in the possibilities, people!...I understand completely and I think your work is FABULOUS. Kudos for being upstanding in the face of what amounted to "an experience"!

AsburyArt Posted 5 Jan 2011 , 11:17pm
post #19 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakedoff

She was wrapped up in the possibilities, people!...I understand completely and I think your work is FABULOUS. Kudos for being upstanding in the face of what amounted to "an experience"!




He, not she... rofl...

cakedoff Posted 5 Jan 2011 , 11:25pm
post #20 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by AsburyArt

Quote:
Originally Posted by cakedoff

She was wrapped up in the possibilities, people!...I understand completely and I think your work is FABULOUS. Kudos for being upstanding in the face of what amounted to "an experience"!



He, not she... rofl...




My bad...I meant "he"

-K8memphis Posted 5 Jan 2011 , 11:28pm
post #21 of 33

So the moral of the story is if you wanna be on this tv show you gotta be a fart?

dkltll Posted 5 Jan 2011 , 11:31pm
post #22 of 33

Your cakes are breathtaking! It takes a lot of grace & class to handle the situation as you did. They say, what goes around comes around, well you have good Karma coming your way. thumbs_up.gificon_biggrin.gif

AsburyArt Posted 5 Jan 2011 , 11:33pm
post #23 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by -K8memphis

So the moral of the story is if you wanna be on this tv show you gotta be a fart?




LMAO... well yes! That is my point! LOL. But I was thinking more if you wanna participate in any "reality" show, you need to be a fart.

CakeryBakery Posted 6 Jan 2011 , 12:20am
post #24 of 33

Wow! Thanks for the information. I had been contacted some time ago, when they were initially looking for brides, however I guess the brides that I suggested did not meet the criteria for the show or either they opted not to participate, guess that's a good thing. I probably would have done the same as you. Lesson learned....now if ever contacted again for another show you'll know the important questions to ask, that is if you ever trust another casting agency

aligotmatt Posted 6 Jan 2011 , 12:21am
post #25 of 33

Yeah, the shows are kind of amazing... Take Fabulous Cakes for example. We want you to pimp out a brides wedding cake for free, let us in your kitchen for a week to watch the whole thing. And you get.... the notoriety of having been on a show. And *maybe* it will help your business. And maybe it won't. Not a penny compensation.

Think about how many cake decorators are out there, just dying for their CHANCE. So they get the call, they are on one show or another and I would say most people walk out saying, well that was an experience at least. And most people say no thanks to ever doing it again. But how many more people are rising up waiting to give themselves away. Or even PAY to be on the show (that's what giving away a free cake is)...

tokazodo Posted 6 Jan 2011 , 1:19am
post #26 of 33

AsburyArt,

I think you did a very good job and your cakes are beautiful. Even though things didn't sway your way, you still seem to be behaving in a professional manner. I was impressed by your post. You don't seem to be holding onto any harsh feelings, for real. You could have been very trashy and emo about it, but you weren't. You were simply giving the rest of us a heads up.

Personally, I don't foresee any TV shows knocking on my door in the near future, but I do appreciate you relaying your experience. We can all learn by it.

I guess so goes the old adage; Once bitten, twice shy; or Whatever doesn't kill us makes us stronger.

I once had a psychology teacher who said, "There is no such thing as a bad experience, so long as we make it a positive learning experience."

I'm really sorry you are out so much of your time, but sometimes there are just some lessons we can't learn through life without going through certain circumstances.

Kudos to you for having such a good attitude about it.
Karma, baby!

Best wishes,
tokazodo

tokazodo Posted 6 Jan 2011 , 1:22am
post #27 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by sabre

AAHH! Reality TV! Two years ago I canceled my TV service because I couldn't justify paying for this crap, and I haven't missed a single moment of it since. No more "reality" shows and no more lying news media gives me more time and $ for cake toys.





Canceled my TV service and put a TV antenna up for almost free. Purchased a Wii for my daughter although Dad and I use it nightly with Netflix.

I watch what I want on the computer and get all the drama I can handle right here on cc! icon_wink.gif

giggysmack Posted 6 Jan 2011 , 1:37am
post #28 of 33

Man, Sorry that sucks!

madgeowens Posted 6 Jan 2011 , 1:58am
post #29 of 33

I have to say the cake shows have been steadily going down hill.........and as far as drama queen brides, I have had my fill with Bridevillas...........thats a shame you were used like that....they are jerks...........

mommachris Posted 6 Jan 2011 , 3:51am
post #30 of 33

Since no one has asked yet, which cake was it. Your gallery is full of lovely creations. I'm just wondering which one went to this undeserving bride.
If I came into my reception and saw one of your cakes there, I'd have cried tears of joy. thumbs_up.gif

mommachris

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