SCAM ALERT- “ECCENTRIC STORIES – MONTHLY CONTEST”

scamalert

ECCENTRIC STORIES

Our scam radar (“scamdar”) was alerted recently when we came across “Eccentric Stories Screenplay Contest” in a Craigslist ad (RED FLAG #1).

Eccentric Stories advertises writing contests for ALL of the following categories: Screenplay, TV script, Playwright, Novelist and Logline contests (RED FLAG #2). We’ve yet come across any LEGITIMATE enterprise that successfully operates “contests” for all of these major categories. Two  previously identified scam sites; “WILDsound” and “Screenwriting Staffing”; operate in a similar fashion, and everyone in the industry knows them only as “money grabs”.

Eccentric’s Craigslist listing entices those to “take your chance to be the NEXT Academy Award winner discovered by Eccentric Stories”. Clearly, they are implying that previous Academy Award winners have been discovered by Eccentric Stories however, there is no mention of these previous Oscar winners, probably because they don’t exist (RED FLAG #3).

A review of their website reveals no names of ANY of the principles involved in the company (RED FLAG #4), describing themselves only as “a company run by and for writers and filmmakers”- purposely being vague and ambiguous. They also claim “Eccentric stories (sic) work with some very well known (sic) and effective producers who are ready, willing and able to work with first time and aspiring writers”. Again, they fail to mention a single producer (RED FLAG #5), not to mention failing to capitalize the second word in their own company title (“stories”), and excluding the proper punctuation in “well known” (RED FLAG #6). For a company whose stock in trade appears to be “judging” others writing, errors in their own ad should raise an eyebrow or two.

Eccentric also claims that they will “pitch your script, manuscripts and treatment from your Log Line to companies such as CAA, ICM, William Morris Endeavor, ACME, The Gage Group, etc.”. No logos of these companies sponsoring their site or their contests are anywhere to be found, and no quotes from any of the employees of these companies ever made it to the ad or to the site itself. Just a missed opportunity? Perhaps…but I doubt it.

They go further to claim that they “guarantee the winner representation” (RED FLAG #7). Again, they are ambiguous about the type of representation they guarantee; is it Talent Management? Career Management? Agent Representation? Marketing? Maybe they’ll manage your kid’s Little League baseball team; who knows?

“Eccentric Stories” does have a LinkedIn page, with a listed address of the “United States” (RED FLAG #8) with an email address, but again, no specifics as to who is running this company. Their site currently offers no links to any of these major social marketing sites (RED FLAG #9). The same vague written description found on their website is repeated on their page, and they show that they’ve only been in operation since January 2015. Maybe just more missed opportunities, or a poor job at building an effective website?

However, now they’ve announced their first monthly contest winners: Winning Screenplay: Austin Davies (Houston, TX); Winning Novel: Cheryl Carter-Love (Baltimore, MD); Winning Log Line: Judy Lattimore (Bakersfield, CA) and Winning Stage Play: Marques Sessoms (Atlanta, GA). In our attempt to reach out to the winners to offer our congratulations (and perhaps get some additional information on this contest), we did a basic Google search for the winners. However, NONE of the winner’s names came up matching the spelling as listed and/or the city of residence (RED FLAG #10).

None.

Four people, apparently in the creative arts, yet none of them have a web page, a Facebook account, a LinkedIn profile, a listed telephone number or mailing address, or any internet marketing of their projects (RED FLAG #11). It seems that these four people simply wrote their projects and their one and only attempt at having it read or publicized in any way was through this particular contest!

What are the chances?

Now, there is a chance that, in its infancy, this company hasn’t yet worked out all of its hiccups and kinks. We would certainly allow for some of this oversight, and perhaps plans are being made to better improve the site, the information on the site, and provide more specifics about their contest.

It should be noted that, on several occasions, we’ve reached out to the owners of the site through the contact information provided, seeking additional information. To date, we’ve yet to receive any response (RED FLAG #12).

So, in review, the RED FLAGS are as follows:

1) Advertises on Craigslist

2) Multiple, unrelated contests

3) Unsubstantiated claims of Academy Award winners

4) No mention of any principles/executives with the company on their site.

5) Unnamed “producer” clients

6) Multiple spelling and/or punctuation/grammatical errors in their ad

7) Non-specific “guarantee of representation”

8) Address given: “United States”

9) No links to any other major social sites

10) No listing of any of the four winners selected

11) The winners have no previous Internet presence whatsoever

12) No return contact on multiple inquiries

We would also like to encourage ANY of the four listed winners, should they exist, to contact “The Script Mentor” and share with us their experiences with this contest. If and when they do, we’ll be sure to pass it on to you. Until that time, however, based on all of this information, easily gleaned when spending a few minutes of time conducting a cursory due diligence investigation, we have to believe this site to be just another scam; a “money grab” that you’d be better served to avoid completely.

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6 thoughts on “SCAM ALERT- “ECCENTRIC STORIES – MONTHLY CONTEST”

  1. no name

    I fell victim to this scam last year and have been on a very nerve racking ride since. His name is “John Alexander” aka The Ghost Writer and he is the scam artist. At least that’s what he says his name is but he has neither delivered what I paid him for or responded to my requests to refund my money. What ever you do, don’t fall for this scam. Eccentric stories is just an extension of his scam. It looks good but it’s still a scam.

    Reply
    1. thescriptmentor Post author

      I’m sorry you fell victim to this. I post paid writing opportunities for writers for free, and discovered his ad on Craigslist, so I called. He sounded as dumb as a rock, and completely illiterate as to the craft of writing and/or screenwriting. It’s no surprise that Eccentric Stories is part of the ISA and SS groups on LinkedIn either; scams tend to stay together and swim in the same pool. He tried, but failed, to get into my groups.

      In the future, if you’re thinking about using any service, it wouldn’t help to check in with me. If I don’t know, personally, about the service, I will do my complete due diligence and let you know my opinion, or lead you to someone who is much more legitimate and trustworthy. Good luck, and thanks for reading!

      Reply
      1. ktw3entertainment

        You have no idea how pissed off I am after reading this. I didn’t see the eccentric stories scam but hired him on craigslist to convert my book into a screenplay.

        I’m hurt because of the promises and delayed schedule. But then he started making claims he was shopping my “screenplay” around to all those agencies/studios mentioned above. I called him out on it and he said he’s going to make up for it. All of this bs for just a simple script.

        John Alexander just recently sent a text pretending to be someone from a different number saying John had a heart attack.

        I wish I had seen this a long time ago.

  2. WILLIAM DAVIS

    All I know is that the John Alexander you guys are talking about have helped me out so much that I don’t know hw else to thank him. For one….he delivered my screenplay on time. Also he did a proposal for me and helped send it out to a few producers and within weeks I got a call and a meeting from a producer. Now, my script is being optioned with a 90% chance of being sold in a few weeks. so I thank him a lot.

    Reply
    1. thescriptmentor Post author

      Hello Mr. Davis!

      Thank you for reading the blog article and posting a response. I would love to approve the comment and get it out there for all to see, and show, perhaps, a “different” side of Eccentric Stories, but at this point, yours is just a claim. Do you have anything specific we can add that would tell us, in fact, what you’re telling us is true, like the name of the script? The producer who contacted you? Who it was optioned with and for how much? I ask the last question because when a screenplay is optioned, it is almost ALWAYS optioned by the producer or production company that plans on producing that screenplay. They have the length of the option contract- whatever that may be- to secure funding and start production. If they fail to do either, then they have to return the rights back to you or pay another option fee and extend it (if they REALLY want it). So, when you say it was “optioned” and it’s about to be “sold”, that is counter-productive and doesn’t make a lot of business sense.

      If can provide those few answers and explanations, I’d be glad to not only print your retort in the blog, but I could speak to you further and get some real explanation on how John helped you and at what cost, and if you’d recommend him for others, etc. It would be quite helpful to Mr. Alexander, as well, I’m sure.

      Truth is, I spoke with John and asked him about his business, and he just didn’t seem to know the first thing about screenwriting. Also, other “clients” were promised “meetings”. One guy took off a week of work, unpaid, bought a ticket to L.A. and Mr. Alexander never met him there. His supposed “meeting” set-up with a studio executive was also a lie. This client paid $1,000 to have Mr. Alexander write a full screenplay AND set-up a studio executive meeting. In this world, that’s equivalent to ten cents. Any professional offering to write a full screenplay for $1000 is either a fraud or a new screenwriter, and a new screenwriter is NOT going to write something for someone else that would be seen by a producer, whereby he would then schedule a meeting, pay an option fee, and be on the verge of getting sold- UNLESS all of this was being done by Mr. Alexander himself.

      So, in the end, few of what you’ve related even rings true, but I look forward to proving me wrong.

      Reply

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