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Looking for a Producer - how not to get conned

Some of you will have seen my recent post here about a nightmare producer experience on my recent project. They took money upfront, and did nothing, cost me a lot in additional fees to fix all the things he said he would do. On asking for repayment they responded with threats.

That Post was taken down after I requested it (upon receiving threats within hours of it). But since then many Shooters came forward that have been scammed or approached by the same guy. So the removal of the post came days too late when it had turned into something useful. Please be assured no one is condoning what he did.

Here is what we learned about avoiding Producer scams:

1. DO NOT pay any "Producer" upfront. Specially if they are pressuring you to pay.

2. BACKGROUND CHECK: As George Glennon, an experienced Producer, says, "any legitimate producer working, whether they be large or small, is going to have a team around them (entertainment industry lawyer, agent, collaborators), where one can quickly verify their legitimacy... they would be members in good standing, and known by industry organizations far beyond this forum. Highly unlikely anyone meeting these criteria would be asking for quick payment up front."

3. CONTRACTS: Jane Sanger, who has been scammed by the same man or similar in the past says, "I make them sign a Contract stating they are happy with no payment or payment on .... Then I have a sheet stating the jobs I require and they must sign this too. I have a clause in my contracts (Paid) saying that if the job described in the list is not done satisfactorily or to the deadlines specified then they don’t get paid and I have the right to appoint another producer. Any materials already gathered must be emailed over in 3 days and remuneration will follow for the calculated hours for the work on those papers. Also I would never pay anyone upfront. Maybe pay expenses when explained and receipts given if that has been in their contract in the first place."

4. THREATS and COURT ACTIONS: Beautifully put by John Lubran, "The issuing of threats or threat of court action... is an easy get around though for an honest person. Just ask that individual to explain his actions and state how they made you feel. There's no defamation in explaining your own in regard to his and carrying on the conversation in public. Others can join the conversation and everyone can talk of how experiencing him has made them feel, no need for overt accusations, yet. Fair comment is not a crime, or slander or a libel. A statement of truth is the truth unless disproven, a statement of truth is any statement fact, it need not be a sworn affidavit, the onus of challenge being on the person wanting to disprove a statement of truth."

5. RED FLAGS: Apart from pressuring you for payment, they are too "busy" to come to production meetings, not interested in your cast or crew, can't suggest crew members they have worked with. They do not want to be identified as being associated with your project. They cannot name any of their "important industry contacts" who can give them a reference.

6. LIBEL etc: No one has been named but if they are feeling wronged, as Alwyne puts it: "I would have thought that rather than threaten you with legal action, he would come on to this thread to put his case, if he were legit that is."

7. HOW SP CAN PROTECT US FROM SCAMMERS: Marlom Tander suggested "An option for SP is to have a policy that "multiple complaints from multiple people may, at SP discretion, lead to account termination. No judgement other than you do not seem to be a beneficial member of the community, so goodbye. And also, while all subject access requests will be complied with, requesting one might result in our considering that the community is better off without you, and if you do SAR, it won't include the names of complainants, because of their privacy rights".

The person is still a member of SP. Please be wary. Flag up any suspicious demands or applicants.

Good luck.
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2 weeks ago