Interview with Jeff Pavacic. Learn how Jeff, CEO of AppFanntastic, has a successful reskinning app business and hear how he’s teaching his wife to do the same to increase revenues. Also learn how he hires freelancers to speed up the reskinning process. Make sure to get the freebies on, Jeff is giving away some of his amazing game graphics and special effects.

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Podcast Transcript

Welcome to the Mobile App Flipping Podcast. This is your host, Yohann Taieb.
My goal is to help you get the most out of risk-killing apps. Whether you’re already a full-time entrepreneur or trying to get a business going, this podcast is for you. We will be interviewing professionals that are already doing app risk-killing for a living. We will also invite source code sellers to get to learn about what they have to offer. And finally, we will talk to industry experts to learn how to become more productive at flipping apps. And now, without further due, let’s get started.
Today, I have an amazing, amazing guest. His name is Jeffrey Pavasic. Welcome Jeffrey.
Welcome. Thank you. So, it’s my pleasure to have you here. And the reason why I got you as a guest today is because you’ve been doing some app risk-killing. And I saw you have a pretty big portfolio of lots of airplane games out there. I don’t want to talk too much about it. So, can you tell us about yourself, how you got into this industry and what’s your background?
Okay, my background, actually, my wife and I are a team on this. And my background is a certified public account. So, not the typical background you’d expect for an app risk-killing. But I currently work for a large organization in the secondary mortgage market down in Virginia. We’re actually just moving down here. My wife is retired and she has a small graphics printing business on the side, which kind of keeps her business more like a hobby than anything else. Okay. Okay.
I got into app risk-killing. It was basically interesting. I was looking at internet marketing. I guess about a year ago. And I didn’t really take to anything that I was saying. But one marketer pointed to Chad Mureta’s app empire course. And he’s done a lot of work mainly in non-games and things like that, creation. So, I saw some of his videos and I decided to take his course.
We actually did. And that’s what got me into apps. And what came out of that was a really tight-knit community of that empire, alumni, as we call ourselves. And a number of them got into game risk-killing. And that really was how I got into it. Initially, I was hesitant to risk-kin games because it was basically we all wanted to create the next great app.

Whether it would be a flashlight app or some other utility app or a photo app or so on. Okay. So, we all kind of stayed away from risking. But there was a vocal minority that got into risk-killing. And their success kind of motivated me to get into it myself. My initial app was based on Chad’s teaching is a photo app which received a lot of compliments but not a lot of downloads. So, I knew that was going to be a tough market to crack. So, I decided to look at game risk-killing. Okay. So, for my own understanding. So, you started by creating your apps. So, that was your first, you know, your first insights of the whole mobile industry. And then you slowly shifted into game risk-killing. Yes. Okay. Got it. So, how many apps and games do you have so far, the Apple App Store? Between my wife and myself, we have approximately 30, probably another six in the pipeline under development. Oh. Wow. Excellent. Do you mind sharing some download numbers? In total, about 150,000 over six months. Wow. Excellent. Some do better than others. You don’t hit a winner every time.

Yeah. Okay. Definitely. And so, from what I understand, most of your games are airplane games. Am I right? Or… For a period, I was getting into airplane games where I was because the public really seemed to take to those games. Whether World War II airplanes or cold war planes or Vietnam aeroplanes, they seem to do really well. What I was concerned about was oversaturating
that type of app in my accounts. So, I branched out to some other types of apps that are based on jumping games or slots, games, casino type games. So, I’m trying to vary my background a little bit, but I always come back at a plane game at some point. Okay. I definitely, you know, expanding your port for you always helps. Now, something that’s very special about you is that you’re saying that your wife helps you or your wife has their… she has her own games.

So, how does it work? Did you get her into it or how did it happen?
Well, we basically both took the course together and what I’ve done through my contacts is identify a good source code. And we basically will come up with themes for the source code. You know, whether it’s a shooting game like the airplane games or it’s a jumping game or a slot game, we’ll both come up with ideas for themes and come up with samples for graphics. They’re your design or smart developers. So, in that way, it’s kind of a community effort. We’re also in the background trying to come up with our own original game.
Not to be the next angry bird or candy crush or anything like that, but something that’s a little bit different out in the market. So, it’s really a community effort between the two of us.
Okay. And my question is for those new games that you’re trying to do, are you creating those from scratch or are you trying to find a source code that already satisfies most of what you need?
Well, I’ve created a belt up an inventory of source code over the last three or four months. Every time I see something I like, I may not re-skin it immediately, but it’s something that I’ll say. It’s priced right. I can think of four or five or six ways to re-skin it in terms of themes or we can. And I’ll buy it and put it on the shelf in an inventory.
So, the games we have coming up are basically using source code that we already have on the shelf. We’re drawing up an original game, but that requires a lot more funding. So, we’re hoping to use the risk ends to fund that. Okay, got it. And are you planning by chance on reselling it as a source code with a license? Who knows? I haven’t really, I’ve seen more people do that. I haven’t really gotten into that yet. I’ve thought about it, but it’s like we’re so busy with managing the development of the re-skins. We have enough time to really think about it. I keep telling myself, I need a virtual assistant and a project manager just to keep
all of this in order. It’s challenging to do when you have a full-time job.
Yeah, definitely.
And you know the first one to say that I had some previous guests and they were saying the same thing. They won’t basically some kind of a project manager, but what we talked about is that the project manager has to take his own code as well. So, it’s part of the revenue that’s taking out of you as well. So, he’ll take this into account.

Okay, so you say right now you have six games that are in progress, right? Yes. So, how do you do that? Do you have multiple developers and multiple graphic designers, or do you usually deal with the same one?

Well, I’ve learned that every development team that’s put together, which is basically for me, a graphics person and an integrator, as I call it, they have a capacity. They can only do so many games in a month, and I’d like to do four to five games a month. So, I basically figured out I need two teams, maybe three teams. I have two teams now, and they get pushed to the limit sometimes in terms of deadlines, especially at this time of the year, because the App Store will close sometime in December, and you basically have to get your apps in a week before, if you hope to get them approved in time. For instance, some of the apps that we have in the pipeline are Christmas related apps, because they’re very popular at this time of year. So, I really have to
have them staged and ready in early December to submit.
So, one team won’t do it. I need two, and I have two that are fairly reliable and talented. I’d like to get a third, and that’s where
the project management comes in, because what I found is the good teams are in India, or they’re in Eastern Europe, so you run through a time zone issue.
Okay, got it. So, you do Azure have some kind of a project manager that would be up whenever they’re up and things like that, right?
Yeah, I can’t tell you how many Skype calls I’ve had in the morning, which is a little talk for me at times. It is for everybody. Yes.
Okay, now, what do you get to your freelancers? Most of people usually get them on ODS or something like that. Do you do anything different? Within our community, we will tend to recommend different people, and so, some people will share their outsourcing resources, and that’s how I picked up one team. Another team I took a chance on, because they contacted me on Facebook.
We had a number of conversations that showed me some of their portfolio on one from there. I find my experience with ODS has been rather uneven in terms of what people say they can do, versus what they actually will do. And the thing I’ve learned, and I remember that Chad Mureta always said, is higher, slow, and firefast. So, I’ve been through a number of teams, and it’s really developing a good relationship with him, a good trust, and not trying to nickel and dime him in terms of paying for their services, although you want to keep your costs down. I want to keep them, I’m trying to get them on a retainer basis, where we talk about,
you give me certain number of hours every month, certain number of games every month, and I will pay you at the beginning and a month and then at the middle of a month. So, it’s a different approach than game by game.

Okay, I see. And the great thing about game re-skinning is that once you already have a developer and a designer that’s already used to the source code, and already has been through it once or twice, then things just get easier and faster. So, it’s a win-win for everyone here.
Absolutely true.
Yeah, all right. Now, let’s try to focus on one of the games you have.
Which one has one of the simplest source code to deal with, and that brought you some decent profit?
Well, the first in this series of air superior already, games as I call them, just to give a little bit of a brand, was the battle of Britain that we put out, I guess it’s been live in the store for five months now. And it basically was a code that I had purchased from
somebody from our community. And as I said, I could see four or five themes for it. It was a fairly simple game to re-skin in terms of there’s three user planes and there’s a enemy planes.
And then there’s the typical buttons and instructions and background for and with ground and so on. But fairly easy to re-skin, limited, limited graphics set. That was the first one and that turned out to my surprise to be a very popular.
And we were very successful. It was basically creating graphics, including them into a sprite sheet.
And then the code would basically pull it out of the sprite sheet. So fairly simple.

Okay, so you had some kind of documentation or walkthrough to help you through your whole process?
For example, the first thing?
I was friends with a developer who solved me the code. And he had re-skin
a couple of times on his own using a totally different theme genre that I used.
So I was able to bounce questions off of him. But the developers, it themselves, my team,
it said it was fairly easy to do. I was like, yes, the point of how to create the sprite sheet.
Okay, so basically there was just a dozen images to change there.
Wow, that’s amazing. You know, make a whole game with just that few images.
Yeah, really, it once, once they, well, I will tell you, it took them three weeks to re-skin it the first time and then it took a week to re-skin it a second time with another theme.
Yeah, once you figure out what you need to change and things just get easier, huh?
It became very simple for them.

Okay, how about the audio files? How many of your files were there and did you have to actually change them or not?
There was basically, besides sound effects for bullets firing and explosions, there was basically two music files, the intro music file and then the gameplay music file.
So again, very simple. And since I’m so thrilled and cheap, I basically found them on the internet.
Yeah, don’t worry about it. You know, everybody does that for sound.
From my understanding, there isn’t really like one source for sounds for game re-skinning. Everybody just, you know, just serve the web for hours and try to find some sources. Even though we have one previous podcaster, his name is Jeff Davis.
You probably would listen to it and he’s actually creating some packs.
Some images packs and some sound packs, you know, just ready to use type of thing. That’s interesting approach. There are people on Fiber that will create music once you describe the theme to them and show them, for instance, the splash page, maybe a gameplay page, they’ll actually create music for you.
I haven’t tried that yet, but it’s recommended to be by a couple of people in our community. Oh, excellent. So for the audience, for those of you that don’t know what Fiber is, it’s basically a website, Fiber with two hours at the end, where you can buy any type of services or product for five dollars. That’s all. And it’s a great source to find icons there. You can get a pretty decent icon for five dollars. Yes, and your risk is very low for dollars.

That’s right, yes. Okay, now, how about social integration? Was there any kind of game center that came with the game or leaderboards or type of achievements?
We used game center. That was integrated, but as we got a little bit more sophisticated and mature, I guess, we also integrated next peer, which gave people the ability to play against others. Yeah, definitely. So next peer really allows you to have this feeling of playing online with multiple people, but it’s actually fake. It’s just, you know, really, the other person is not playing within your game. It’s just basically synchronizing two different phones together.

Yes, it gives you the feeling of being, of playing multiplayer, but you’re actually not really doing that.
Yeah, and the broadcast highlights of how well you’re doing and how well the other player is doing in a banner. So it makes it, the competition makes it somewhat interesting.
Absolutely, and it does have a viral value to it in the sense that competition always brings people to your game and keep playing longer or even invite friends and family to come in and download your game.
Yes. All right, now, how about localization? Was there, I mean, you know, in games there isn’t that much sex here, right, in an airplane game. So did you have to localize it in different languages or you just kept it with just playing English?
I just kept it with playing English, and it was, for instance, it was surprisingly popular in Russia.
You know, at least the battle of rigor game was. So the game wasn’t in English, but it was still popular in Russia?
Yeah, yeah, it was popular in Russia. We typically got good results from England, the US, Canada, France, but the game was simple enough that probably a lot of localization wasn’t required. Yeah, excellent. I do have lots of games, like word games, and if the game is not localized, then it’s just considered a specific country, but those are word heavy.
So, you know, I can actually see that whenever I translate it in French, then it just boosts my, you know, my downloads in French speaking countries and so on. But as you say, you know, the airplane game definitely, you know, there isn’t that much text involved.
No, it’s basically move and fire. Yeah, how hard could that be?
Okay, now let’s talk about price. Did you find it pricey?
No, I think in terms of knowing the person I bought the code from, I got it relatively cheaply, and I think I paid $250 for the code. Was that an unlimited license? Are you summed so, right?
Unlimited license. I’ve never bought a single license because as I said in my philosophy, as if I can’t imagine four or five to six risk ins of the code, I don’t buy it. Okay, I think because I basically drive down the cost of all the succeeding games by having purchased the code already. I don’t want to keep, I don’t, I look at single licenses as basically you’ve, you’ve got a partner now every time you want to rescate it.

Absolutely. Now, I’m sure you made a decent profit with it since you’ve been rescuing it so often, right
Yes. And I think, I guess to give you approximate numbers, the code was about 250. The rescuing itself with the graphics, about 300 to my investment, it was a five to $600. I made that back in less than a month on battle of Britain and probably had made around $1,000 on it. And if you consider that the next game only cost me around a $300 to rescind it, and it almost as well, I’m making my money back on succeeding games within three weeks.
Wow, so basically every rescuing you increase your imagining profit there, huh?
It seems to work out that way.
Excellent. It was interesting. When I stick with the plain things, I do better. I have a game based on the same code that is a space based game, which has rocket chips and enemy rocket chips and things like that. And it’s the background of space.
Didn’t do nearly as well as the plain games.
Okay. Now, how do you decide when to stop from using that specific source code and move on to something else?
I think that, and maybe this is my philosophy from having the, not only by code that I can rescind, that I have ideas for rescuing four or five times, I think if you rescind the same thing too often in a short period of time, you’ll get out on Apple right, and they may not appreciate the fact that there’s no changing functionality, just changing graphics.
I think players at times will get tired of the same code over and over and over again.

So that’s why I’m trying to branch out into other codes. And I think I get bored with the same code after a while. And if I find something that I really like and it’s personal preference that I think will sell, I’ll rescind that and stop rescinding the original code.
But I certainly will reuse the code in the future. I just may give it a rest for a few months.

Okay, so you let it sit and whenever maybe you have some new fresh ideas, you just apply the theme to the airplane game, right? Yes, I mean, for instance, we’ll reuse the battle a bit written code for one of our Christmas themed games. We won’t use it again for three or four months, I think.
Okay, so tell me more about that Christmas game. How could you turn an airplane game into a Christmas theme? Without giving away too many secrets. What are the what are the user planes will now be sand and in slay?

Fine. Okay, I see. Yes, so definitely it happens in the air. Okay.
The background will be the North Pole. So he’ll still be in the air. There’ll be people else, there’ll be crunches as enemies and so on. But there’s simply you can do things with that code that aren’t necessarily playing based. But as I learned in the rocket game, not everything will work.
Okay, well that was pretty much all the questions that I had about that code. Now I have some very generic questions. Now I know that the mobile app, re-skinning, you know, the mobile app flipping industry is pretty new. So there isn’t that many resources available. But is there any book you’d recommend or anything that helps you along the way that you would advise?

There were actually two books and the first, I guess the first book was by inspiration for getting into apps and that app empire by Chad Mureta. As I said, he didn’t cover a lot of games. He was more into re-skinning of utility apps and came in apps and things like that. But he was the one that got my interest and how I got my foot in the door. The other book that I think is, I would say, is crucial to read if you want to get into game re-skinning is a book by Elaine Haney called App Exchange Plan.
And she came out with the book. She also has a new demi course that basically takes you through the nuts and bolts of re-skinning, assuming you were doing it all yourself and only outsource the graphic work. But you’ll also recommend that you outsource as much as possible. But she’s been a dynamo in this industry in terms of building her own business and really running it as a business, not as a hobby, not as not things that she likes to do as much as things that she’s evaluated will make money for. She was in our app empire community when we started out, but she’s become somewhat legendary. So her book is App Exchange Plan and you can find her course on the new demi.
She also does her blog which is the chocolate lab where she tells you about some of her adventures in game development and re-skinning. And it’s always interesting reading. So I’m a big fan of hers. Oh yeah, definitely. I mean, I’ve read her book on Amazon. It’s actually a bestseller. She really knows her stuff and she really, you know, she’s like, you know, she’s a great solo entrepreneur, you know, she really knows what she’s doing.
And I actually stumbled upon her just by chance like about eight or ten months ago when I was doing some, you know, some app store research, you know, I was just typing some keywords just to find the name of my following name for my following game. I basically wanted to create a word game that, you know, you play some kind of like, you know, words with friends. However, you played solo and you played against different cartoon characters, you know, famous cartoon characters.
And as I was typing some keywords, the majority of the, in the search results, I could find her her stuff everywhere, like I saw, like by Elaine Haney, I’m like, who’s that person, you know?
Like, she’s everywhere. I’m like, I’m like, how does she do that?
She’s amazing and she’s a great business woman. I mean, you find her everywhere because she does market herself well and promote herself well. And she does really good job with that. But she basically a year ago was where we were in terms of learning the business. I think she even even purchased and used MacBook to basically get herself started. So she’s kind of like what we all
would like to grow up to be if we had the chance. But she knows her stuff and she’s just an amazing lady.

Yeah, definitely. I may invite her on the show someday. She definitely has a lot of no advice for everybody. That’s for sure. Okay. Now, is there any online resources you would advise?

Other than her blog, there are plenty of sites, as you said, to get sound, sound effect, music.
I don’t think I’ve used any other resources except for the people in our community. They’ll always give you ideas of where you can look for source code. And they’ll give you some some recommendations on good source code. So it’s kind of been the community feeds upon itself in terms of recommendations and more from assistance and things like that. I have a long list of sites that people have recommended. I don’t think I’ve been through a third of them yet.

Okay. Well, I mean, that’s been amazing. Now, how do we get in touch with you?

Well, my wife and I publish, we have separate accounts and mine is under Jeffrey Pabasa. Hers is under Althea Spence Pabasa, the icon between Spence and Pabasa. You can also reach us on Webmaster at That’s APPS We do have a website that has been neglected since we’re so busy, but it’s on my list of things to get to going. Well, let me reassure you. That’s been the trend from anybody that’s risk-killing apps that I’ve had on the show. Nobody takes care of their websites because they’re so busy with making apps, you know?

Yeah, and I’ve taken a couple of shots at the website and I’m just hard-to-please. So I didn’t have a car out enough time because I’m sitting down because it’s one of the things that I do with my graphics people is I will give them sample images that I want them to create. So I, for instance, when we did Battle of Britain, I download all the different planes from that era and, you know, giving a different perspective side view, front view, top view, and so on. And I said, this is what I want you to create. And we went through and we created each plane. That takes a large amount of time. And if you try and build, do a pipeline of four or five apps, it never stops. Yeah, for sure. I believe you do have some kind of a freebie for our audience, right? Yeah, I put together a pack of some of the planes that I used in Battle of Britain and some of the other buttons and instruction on screen instructions and even some
explosions that we’ve used in the succeeding apps to Battle of Britain. And I’ll pass that along to you and I think you can host it and people can grab it. Okay, so I mean, this has been absolutely amazing.

Thanks for all your help and all your good advice and we hope to hear from you soon and we should just great success. I think you’ve had me. It’s been a real pleasure and certainly enjoy the health. It’s becoming out by intent to.
All right, thank you. Just a little reminder, you can get all the show notes and the freebies that Jeffrey is giving away on
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