Off The Map

Star Tours

Company: FilmScape Vacations
Location: Fresno, California
Owners: Jacqueline Farkas, 52, and Jay Farkas, 28
Date started: April 1997
Start-up costs: Less than $20,000
Sales: Estimated at $65,000 in first year

Deep in our hearts, we all want to be movie stars. FilmScape lets clients fulfill that dream--at least for a week. Guests experience the art of movie-making, assuming the roles of writer, director, producer and actor under the careful direction of Farkas' 28-year-old son, Jay, a professional producer and director, and FilmScape's co-owner and vice president.

Participants come from all walks of life, but many are middle-aged and upper-middle-class folks who long to penetrate the mystique of Hollywood. To expand the market, the Farkases recently launched a program for clients aged 15 to 23 who want to learn about TV production.

FilmScape was born of necessity when Jacqueline, who had owned a travel agency since 1994, found profits dwindling after airlines placed a cap on commissions. Jay came up with the idea for FilmScape; his mom provided the start-up capital.

A one-time accountant, Jacqueline much prefers travel to numbers-crunching: "I get a far better reaction when I'm handing people a ticket to a vacation than a tax form."

Pamela Rohland is a writer in Bernville, Pennsylvania.

Contact Sources

FilmScape Vacations, (800) 345-6625, http://www.filmvacations.com

National Tour Association, (800) 682-8886, http://www.ntaonline.com

Randonnée Tours Ltd., (800) 465-6488, http://www.randonneetours.com

San Diego Surfing Academy, (800) 447-SURF, http://www.surfSDSA.com

Wild Women Adventures, (800) 992-1322, http://www.wildwomenadv.com

World Beat Tours, (888) 430-BEAT, http://www.worldbeattours.com

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This article was originally published in the September 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Off The Map.

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