George Holliday, the plumber who inadvertently reshaped Los Angeles politics when he videotaped the police beating of Rodney G. King, has some advice for other ordinary people who just happen to be in the right place at the right time with a video camera.
"Consult somebody that knows the business before you approach" TV stations, Holliday said this week at the North Hollywood plumbing company he manages.
"It will make everything easier and happier for everybody."
For would-be news hounds who aren't sure whom to consult, Holliday is promoting a just-released videotape that explains how to market the footage.
The 30-minute tape--bluntly entitled "Shoot News and Make Money With Your Camcorder"--was unveiled this week in Encino at a news conference organized by Holliday's attorney, James F. Jordan, who also represents one of the co-producers.
Although Holliday does not appear on the videotape and had nothing to do with its production, he is lending his name to promote it and appears briefly on a television commercial, getting a "very, very small" royalty for every $39.95 tape sold, he said.
In the commercial, Holliday holds up a copy of the how-to video and tells viewers: "I could have made a lot more money than I did if I knew about the existence of this videotape."
Holliday is not content with the $500 he received from KTLA-TV for the videotape, said Jordan, who estimated that the tape might have fetched $25,000 had he sold it exclusively to a major network.
"That little piece of inadvertent videotape had the most profound impact on society in the history of this country," he said, and he is preparing a $100-million copyright suit against the "multiple willful infringers" who aired Holliday's footage without permission.