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Open Folder Topics > Scam Contest Alert Vancouver Filmworks

Message #1 of 7

Message Date Posted: 2/6/2017 11:23 AM

j johnson

MB Posts (4)
Contest Comments (1)

Total scam. They even deleted any references on their facebook page regarding the contest. Report them if you entered the 2016 contest. What a sad joke.
If these guys ever promotes a contest again beware.
The guy in charge is named JS Waters, scam artist. He is actually
stupid enough to keep a facebook profile up.
Warning to all.

j johnson

Message #2 of 7

Message Date Posted: 2/8/2017 1:07 PM

Marjory Kaptanoglu

MB Posts (65)
Contest Comments (12)

Yes, I don't really enter new contests anymore, but I made the mistake of entering this because I thought it was in Vancouver, Canada, and thought a trip there would be fun. They never announced quarterfinalists or anything, and then the guy posted a story about his mom having cancer (pretty classic for scam artists), and that he would still read the scripts and announce winners by December or something. Not a word since then. His website is still up: http://vancouverfilmworks.org/, and here is a link to the attorney general complaint site for Washington State: https://fortress.wa.gov/atg/formhandler/ago/ComplaintForm.aspx if you want to file a complaint. I haven't done that because it will take time, but I'm considering it. I hope no one else makes the mistake of doing any business with this guy. His site has a donations tab! Sure hope no one is doing that.

Marjory Kaptanoglu

Message #3 of 7

Message Date Posted: 2/9/2017 9:40 AM

j johnson

MB Posts (4)
Contest Comments (1)

JS Waters is guy who is reported to run it. I think the word is out on this fraud. Certainly if he shows his face or name anywhere in the buiz, buyer beware. He has been reported to many sites including facebook, filmway, ec, etc, BBB is next.

j johnson

Message #4 of 7

Message Date Posted: 2/10/2017 9:45 AM

Michael Teller

MB Posts (8)

Anybody see this article on the Hollywood Reporter site?

L.A. City Attorney Files Charges Against 5 Casting Workshops in Pay-to-Play Scam

Maybe the L.A. City Attorney will turn their attention to some of these scammy screenwriting contests now. Wouldn't that be nice?

Michael Teller

Message #5 of 7

Message Date Posted: 2/10/2017 1:30 PM

j johnson

MB Posts (4)
Contest Comments (1)

Yes, that would be a good idea. A lot of these contest are scams, and all a bit disingenuous to a degree, even the top ones. Here is one for you, I will not mention the name of the competition because of liability, etc, but the competition is one most people here have all heard of and I know quite a few people have entered it. I was thinking of getting extra coverage and looked into the company before I sent them any money. After all, I had not really heard any bad things about this competition, but my curiosity got the best of me and looked into the company.

This “Screenplay Competition” hailed all the same BS that the other competition do like Read by professionals in the buiz, top agents, exposure, big connections, etc, etc, etc. All the same stuff that the other comps do.

It took me a few hours to really dig, and I will not say what the head of the competition actually does do for a living, just in case anyone knows this guy. But here is a good analogy.

The guy running this competition basically… a grip (or hand) at a low power tv station in the middle of the boondox. No contacts, no nothing, except he receives the checks you send to him.
This is the truth, and this guy runs one of the competitions out there that is considered decent, and I have seen screenwriters tout their winning in this bogus competition.

Here is what a lot of screenwriters don’t understand. By touting your placement in these competitions can do much more harm than good. Top agents and studios don’t find 7 figure scripts in screenplay competitions, they don’t even look for them. Sure, something may slip through the cracks once in a blue moon, but overall, the competitions are purely for profit.

Take an average of these competitions, 7000 entrants times 70 bucks??? What $490,000 ?? Guess what, they really have no cost to operate, hardly any. Plus I will never believe that 7000+ scripts are being read by top studio professionals that buy scripts. It is a joke.

Script competitions are like many business in the liberal arts that are set up to profit from Vanity.

Competitions and online script listing services in truth, can do more harm than good. There is no magic bullet to getting your script produced. Massive hard work, endless marketing, endless drafts, many table reads, and tenacity that is unparalleled is what will sell a script, that s assuming it is a #10 perfect script and has proven demographics and market analysis that proves the script has a big audience. It takes these things to give a writer the best odds at selling your script, not screenplay competitions that no one cares about.

So, anyway, script competitions…buyer beware.

Cheers.

j johnson

Message #6 of 7

Message Date Posted: 2/20/2017 11:14 AM

aaron zelman

MB Posts (5)
Contest Comments (3)

Hey J - It helps writers to know what contest you are referencing. No one can fault you for sharing your own thoughts. I was going to enter Fade In awhile back, but the user comments scared me off. And people do multiple gigs -- I assume the contest director doesn't run his contest all year.

aaron zelman

Message #7 of 7

Message Date Posted: 2/20/2017 1:19 PM

j johnson

MB Posts (4)
Contest Comments (1)

I understand and respect the fact why people would want the names posted, but I am not going to call anyone out and start a pissing contest, that was not the point at all. My view and or recommendation (take it or leave it) is not do any competitions. It is a waste of money and overall they do not work. So if you don’t enter, you don’t have to be worried about being scammed. If you feel you MUST enter a competition then just stick to the top two or three big ones and everyone knows who they are.

However, you will find that entering, winning, or not placing in a screenplay competition will do nothing for your career. If you win the biggest, you may possibly get representation, maybe. I have researched some winners that did get an agent due to winning; however, nothing ever has come of the project. Again, screenplay competitions are 99% put on as events for amateur screenwriters. Studios don’t look for 7 figure awesome scripts by route of events targeting amateur writers.

Now, once in a while someone will slip through the cracks, but not often. You are MUCH better forgetting about competitions, and simply make sure your script is perfect, and most importantly marketable with a huge audience. Look at how many drafts you have done, how many coverages have you had done and how many did you personally review with the person doing the coverage. How much online web presence do you have, do you blog daily, is it interesting, entertaining, if someone in Hollywood gets your script, first thing they will do is check you out online, the studio will as well. Are you ready for an agent to check you out online?

There just are so many things for a writer to do that can truly help benefit their career. Do those things and don’t even worry about the competitions at all and here is another reason why.
You should not care about the competitions because the person who will buy your script does not care either. Competitions serve for vanity only, it gives a writer something to hang your hat on and tell your friends, but in reality it does nothing.

And if anyone uses examples of someone winning a big competition and selling their script for 6 figures against 7, yes it does happen, extremely rarely. Many people have posted about the extremely low numbers of films that are actually produced from contest winners.

My advice, and it is free, is to put your effort in marketing yourself and make sure your script is these things.

1) It is perfect. An “11” on a scale of 1-10
2) It is a unique idea that has not really been done yet
3) The script is HIGHLY marketable with a huge audience
4) Have your own demographics and key market information regarding the audience of your script.
5) Make your script undeniable.
6) Make your query letter and log line as good or better than your script. (not easy BTW)

Do these things and don’t worry about screenplay competitions.

Godspeed.

j johnson