You may be one of the hundreds of screenwriters out there who have subscribed to any one of the many dozens of screenwriting services out there who promise you “paid writing gigs” for the low, low monthly price of whatever. I’m familiar with many of them, because in all honesty, I, too have subscribed- to almost all of them at one time or another. Most of these gigs will come to you in the form of a weekly newsletter, announcing a new batch of paid (or unpaid) writing gigs, or various script searches from producers. You probably also believe that these companies MUST have an amazing network of connections, ones that trust them enough to uniquely and solely advertise these jobs or script searches.
That’s the scam.
In most cases, those selling this “writing assignment” or “paid screenwriting” opportunity have never even contacted the client. Not once.
They’re all guilty of it, and if they deny it, they’re lying to you. Want to find out for yourself? Here’s what you do…
Next time you receive an announcement of a “new client” in search of a ghostwriter for pay, or a production company looking for a certain type of screenplay, simply cut and paste a portion (or all) of the announcement in your browser. You will find out immediately where those ads originated.
What these “services” are ACTUALLY giving you- for the monthly subscription rate of whatever- is a re-posting of an ad, gleaned from other FREE posting sites, like Craigslist Los Angeles, SimplyHired.com, Mandy.com, NewEnglandFilm.com and many other sources. In fact, just the other day, we found one such ad reprinted from one of these sites, with an original posting date of 2012! Do you THINK that job is still available? Doubt it. Chances are, they’re out of business already!
Fact is, sites like Craigslist actually PROHIBIT the re-posting of ads; it says so when you place an ad, or respond to one. So, in most cases, what these sites are doing is illegal and unethical. But, trust me- I KNOW these people involved in these sites. Being UNETHICAL is status quo for most of them!
Now, you’re one of the few thousand desperate screenwriters who have had the misfortune to have been scammed by one of these several services offering writing gigs and such. YOU even became a PAID subscriber, hoping to land one of these unique opportunities offered ONLY to THIS particular service’s subscriber list! Mind you, this script search is no longer going on; the client found their project six months earlier. But, being desperate, not wanting to leave any rock unturned, you mindlessly submit.
Imagine the response of the people running the original ad, receiving a flood of emails for an ad placed- and re-posted without their expressed permission- six months earlier (or in some cases, two years earlier)!
Some of you may still feel that paying the monthly, or annual, subscription fee is worth it to receive ads that are re-posted from a handful of free sites. That’s fine. I know when I post a script search or a position for hire, these requests come STRAIGHT FROM THE SOURCE. I talk to these people almost everyday. They are aware of the vast network that is shared by The Script Mentor and Shark-Eating Man Productions. They know the high quality of writers and talent in our network, and they ask for my help specifically, in finding them the qualified candidate or project for their search. To date, these script searches have yielded 13 options, 6 script sales, one agent representation, and a countless number of writing assignments, producer reads, intros, and more. I do this ONLY as an unpaid favor for those IN my network TO someone also in my network.
Go back through any one of the dozens of newsletters or email blasts you may have received over the past couple of months; try it for yourself. Eventually, these scammers will catch on and actually spend the time (and money) to re-write the ad significantly in order NOT to expose the fact that they are cut-and-paste ads from other free sources. This is why you’ll often find the email address incorrect and you’ll get the returned email telling you it is no longer a valid address. Funny how a recent request from an actual contact might include an email address that is incorrect. Hmmm…
Save yourself some money; do the research yourself. Finding writing gigs is easy; you just have to know some of the sources. There’s no magic to this, certain not from these clowns. Their “magic” is simply having the audacity to steal money from unsuspecting subscribers and taking advantage of your naivete.
Oh, and don’t bother to complain to them either. They have a habit of dodging their complaint emails and avoiding a response altogether. Just remember when the time comes to “re-up” the subscription or pay for any additional services these scammers try to sell- like contests, pitch fests or coverage services.
Once a thief, always a thief.