Scammers Prey on Authors!

You’ve written a good solid story…a novel that would make a great movie. But without representation….like that’s ever gonna happen!  
Then you get a call.  It goes something like this: 

‘Hi Trisha. My name is James Anderson, and I am calling you on behalf of Tristar Pictures in collaboration with our esteemed investor, HBO Max. We recently had the pleasure of reading your remarkable book “Song of the Yukon”, and we were captivated by its compelling content.

Tristar Pictures, renowned for its excellence in producing world class films, and HBO Max, a global streaming platform with millions of subscribers worldwide, share a strong interest in adapting extraordinary literary works like yours into cinematic masterpieces. After careful evaluation and internal discussions, we are thrilled to extend an official offer to acquire the film rights for your book.

Considering the immense potential of your book to resonate with audiences of all ages, HBO has proposed an initial offer of $300,000 to secure the exclusive film rights. This offer signifies our genuine admiration for your creative talent and is a testament to the immense value we see in bringing your book to the silver screen.

We envision a grand production, backed by Tristar Pictures extensive experience in film making and HBO’s vast global reach, ensuring that your story reaches audiences far and wide, leaving a lasting impact on cinema enthusiasts worldwide. The combined efforts of Tristar and HBO will provide your story with the attention, resources, and expertise it truly deserves.

Rest assured, we value your creative input and vision for the adaptation, and we will work diligently to ensure that the film stays true to the essence of your book. Your involvement in the project as a consultant or collaborator, if you wish, would be highly appreciated.

Should you choose to move forward with this exciting opportunity, we will be more than delighted to initiate the necessary legal procedures promptly. We are open to further negotiations if you have any additional requests or suggestions.

As we embark on this creative journey together, we assure you that your book will be in the hands of passionate and talented professionals who will treat your work with the utmost respect and dedication.

To move forward with the acquisition process, our team and HBO require the following materials from you:

Film Pitch Deck – is a visual presentation that provides an overview of a film project to potential investors, producers, distributors, or other stakeholders…

Marketing Evaluation – is a sales tool for our company to use; it helps our marketing team figure out which country your film is most likely to be watched in. In this way, we could take advantage of your film`s royalty flow…

Cinematic Trailer – is a short film review, it acts as a powerful tool to generate buzz, build excitement, and ensure that the project stands out in a competitive market…

These materials will be used as a reference for our company once we get to the film production phase and will help our investors at HBO visualize how much the actual worth of your story. Once all the necessary materials are met, we can proceed with finalizing your acquisition offer and schedule the signing of your contract to hand over your acquisition payment.’

And  finally he revealed the ‘price’. $2,000. payable to James which he will pay to create these materials. Uh-huh. 

These scammers are so brazen!  They fraudulently used the Tristar logo on the email and the HBO trademark on the draft of the committment contract.  

 It’s their job to create a contract with compensation for the rights to a film, or the book, (etc.,) and then they take a percentage of the income THEY have GENERATED for YOU!! 

But, when in doubt (you want so badly for it to be true this time. Yep! It’s not my first rodeo.) I googled it, (keyword: Tristar HBO scams) and low and behold there was a  list of scams that were almost word-for-word the same pitch they used on me. 

I have some experience with Scammers so I began asking questions.
“How much do you want me to invest?” I asked.
It took several minutes to get to the end of his pitch, but he finally described the marketing package that I would have to pay for.
There were also ‘tip-offs’ in his pitch:
1. A legitimate agent would never open with the acquistion dollar offer that a film production company, or publisher, etc., would be offering.  (That comes later.)
2. Phrases in the email were suspicious:
“We envision a grand production”
too many flowery adjectives were used:
“our genuine admiration”
3. When I asked him  to refer me to some companies that produce
such marketing tools, he couldn’t do it.  And the one name he gave me
was fake, including a website for them. 

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