I did show this to my fellow screenwriters, but the other writing community here might want to know of an incident which nearly drove one of the writers involved to suicide.
That's really sad.
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I did show this to my fellow screenwriters, but the other writing community here might want to know of an incident which nearly drove one of the writers involved to suicide.
That's really sad.
Yikes. Thanks, Justino. For the search engines, the link is about Wayne Heyman-Hanks.
A terrible story, but unfortunately not all that unique and not restricted just to the movie/TV field.
Throughout the 90s, similar frauds were perpetrated in the so-called comics industry, with operators springing out of nowhere to start up comic book companies, citing connections with the film industry and toy manufacturers.
I was told about one group who claimed they had a deal with a theme park company who intended to build a Disney-style operation in Nova Scotia based on their characters and concepts. This of course bore no relation to reality whatsoever.
The one thing most of these operators had in common--which is similar to the story linked to above--is a fast-talking sociopath in charge of the whole thing. They almost always claimed they were heavily capitalized by a group of shadowy, mysterious investors whose names they could not utter...I always pictured the Consortium from The X-Files...or since it was comics, maybe Hydra ("cut off one head, two more will take its place! Hail Hydra!").
Four times between 1992 and 1998 I was approached with propositions like that--only once did I get involved and the only way I ended up with the money owed me was to start threatening physical violence. I wouldn't recommend that tactic as a general rule but it turned out the guy who headed the whole deal was already on probation (a conviction for wire fraud, I believe) and was afraid to call the cops for protection.
A word of advice to anyone who has a similar deal offered to them--if the principals involved are legitimate, they'll offer you an employment contract, which spells out all of the specifics and includes the all-important clause that whatever you create becomes the property of the company. They care more about that than anything else and therefore are very anxious to get your signature on legally binding document.
Once you sign the contract and if it's a scam they can be prosecuted for perpetuating fraud, even if they didn't profit from the fraud in any significant way.
If they balk at the contract, then the writer's equivalent of a Spidey-sense should start a-tingling.
One thing I've learned: When you've signed a Work For Hire deal, don't put the first word on paper until after the check clears.
Amazing that so many experienced people could be duped for so long!
If someone has been in a particular field long enough, even on the fringe, they could pick up enough of the patter to make them seem legit, at least for awhile.Originally Posted by Vomaxx
Ab-so-lutely and amen.Originally Posted by James D. MacDonald
I had a boss like Wayne once. A delusional compulsive liar. The guy I knew was able to be hired by a fortune 500 company - in a director's position - with no experience.
When I questioned him on several common knowledge areas in our department - he was the director - I was a manager - he had me demoted to a warehouse clerk. I had been with the company over 10 years - and had been moved almost 2000 miles from my original city - and this guy - worked for the company less than 6 months.
After 6 months - he was led out by security. He had been stealing employee paychecks - blackmailing salespeople, drinking corporate wine on the job, offering great jobs in lieu of sexual favors, and deleting computer files. Amongst other things.
Seems clear to me and most reasonable people that I would be reinstated to my former position "pre-anthony." But - that would have meant someone had to admit being duped - and that doesn't happen in corporations. So, - after 10 months in the warehouse - I was fired.
End of story - unless you count the subsequent more than 5 years that I have been unemployed and blacklisted.
Moral of story - the Waynes and Anthonys of the world do exist - and can ruin people. It takes a strong person to survive that kind of fall.
Funny thing was ......reading this thread made me think to google my old "director's" name. He's working in Atlanta .......doing the same thing.
He's had a fantastic career ...............
The good news is that I don't care and won't let the man win. I re-made my life, making it better and all on my own. I learned that I don't have to depend on a corporation to pay me. I own my own time now. I was forced and thereby able to raise my daughter myself, insteading of allowing a daycare center to do it for me.
It was a long road .....but I came out smelling like a rose. And - Anthony just smells.
No matter how successful he is ....he is just a liar and always has to watch his back. Somebody won't be able to resist the urge to puncture it.
I win by resisting it.
Assuming you don't get paid the first day, or even the first week on a staff writing gig, how can one justify waiting for the check to clear before putting words on paper? Maybe it makes more sense to not hand in any pages until the check clears?Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald
Last edited by Ohclipse; 07-07-2005 at 11:07 PM.
I meant to address the above question before, but deadlines got the better of me. Sorry.Originally Posted by Ohclipse
In the case of my own personal experience I cited, it was a 9 to 5 staff job, so I did receive a weekly salary, at least up to a point.
When I quit, my final check bounced. Because the writer's equivalent of my Spidey-sense had already begun a-tingling, I went directly to the bank on which the check was drawn and tried to cash it...and was told there were no funds to cover the amount.
The guy in the company I dealt with--let's call him "Mike" because that was his name--told me to put it through again. I told him: "Not a chance."
I demanded the money in cash. Mike claimed he didn't have it. After a bit of very heated discussion which ended up with me mentioning boots, butts, ambulances and the cops, Mike miraculously found the cash in the offices to pay me.
(See, he had expected me to deposit the check in my account in another bank, which had been my practice, and that would buy him a few days before I learned of the fraud)
So--to answer your question about how you can justify not writing a word if you have a staff writing gig--that's a tough one. You'll just have to go on faith and trust your instincts if you think it's going sour.
However, if you're cut a bad check and it bounces a second time, that's usually tantamount to perpetrating fraud inasmuch your employer knows full-well they don't have the funds to cover it...in which case, in most states, the police can be called in.
If it's a freelance gig and you have suspicions about the legitimacy of the operation, ask for upfront advance money. Say you don't write on spec...and if you're a member of the WGA, union rules strictly prohibit that.
Even though I'm not a member, I cited union rules about not writing on spec when two freelance situations arose that I had doubts about, just to gauge the reactions.
In one circumstance, I was flatly refused...and gee, what a surprise--the deal turned out be a scam.
In the second circumstance, I was cut an advance check and everything turned out fine.
So Wayne was a no show for his trial. Meanwhile he was rather busy in Alabama.
I'm leaving the original message and link in this thread (which may be of interest to some folks) and deleting the subsequent comments and discussion, which go a bit OT.
Anna Waterhouse's article in the September issue of Los Angeles magazine is worth $100,000 + in pub. You have a outline for your film script, with a back story that has legs. RUN WITH IT!
"Hollywood Hustled" could be directed by David Mamet and be a BLOCKBUSTER!
If I were one of the writers on "Real Rome", my script "Hollywood Hustled" would be in a bidding war with the major studios. I would also release a statment that a portion of my 7 figure advance would go to Wayne Heyman-Hanks treatment for "MYTHOMANIA".
Michael Ferris: Huh? What are you talking about? Is there some missing context here?
Methinks we've been :Spam:'d.
Achievers strive for excellence. Perfectionists drive themselves to extinction. -- A Grapple A Day
I've never known any trouble that an hour's reading didn't assuage. -- Charles DeSecondat
II 2016: 2017:
Since the original thread on the Done Deal site was taken down for legal reasons, and now that it's a matter of public record about Wayne Heyman-Hanks' misdealings (covered in LA Times, Los Angeles Magazine and several Alabama newspapers), I thought it might be a good idea to keep the story alive in our archives, in case anyone here missed it the first time around and should happen to have the misfortune of doing business with Wayne in the future.
Here's the initial Done Deal post written by one of the scammed writers, posted at the end of June '05 (and which I had wisely saved on my comp so I could cut-and-paste it into emails sent to my friends):
Just wanted to share an outrageous, horrific story that happened to me recently. While I am a screenwriter who still hasn't really broken into the business yet (had a couple of options, and was repped by a manager for a couple of years), I was just one of six writers (and other staff) of various levels of experience who was a victim of this fraud. So I don't feel completely stupid.
After responding to a posting on hollywoodlitsales.com, I was hired by "executive producer" Wayne Heyman-Hanks back in mid April. I was to be a staff writer (there were six in total) on a miniseries called "Real Rome," which according to Wayne had been greenlit by HBO as an appetite whetter for its new dramatic series "Rome." After signing WGA contracts and filling out W-4 and I-9 forms, Wayne told us that we would receive our first paychecks at the end of week 3.
Over the course of the next few weeks, Wayne hired two researchers, a costume designer, production designer, art director, line producer, UPM, stunt coordinator and makeup artist, as well as interviewing (male) actors for roles that weren't even written yet. This all took place at a nice bungalow owned by CBS Studios. Toward the end of the third week, Wayne announced that the show had been picked up for three more episodes, making our duration of work last for 26 weeks (at almost $3500 a week, this was indeed good news). Wayne also told us he intended to have us continue work for several other projects he was developing with television producer Glen Larson.
At the beginning of week 4, Wayne informed the writers and researchers that the payroll company had mailed our paychecks to our homes, instead of delivering them to him. He asked us to let him know when paychecks arrived. We waited a full week, and when no paycheck arrived for any of us, Wayne informed us that there had been a mix-up with the insurance and the establishment of his LLC. He assured us that he would have paychecks hand-delivered to us at home by that Saturday. No one arrived with the checks that weekend. In the meantime, Wayne sent us home from the bungalow because there was supposedly a problem with the lease with CBS, and he was looking for new office space for the growing production staff. We continued to work from home throughout week 4, while Wayne continued to promise to pay us.
At the end of week 4, a meeting was called for the writers and researchers at a Starbuck’s. Before the meeting, Wayne phoned each of us to say he would NOT be handing out checks at the meeting (nor at Western Costume, where we would be given a tour after the meeting). Checks would be delivered the next day. Once again, no checks were received by anyone the next day, nor the day after that.
The following Monday (week 5), all of us contracted staff were getting quite fed up. Wayne assured us that he was getting approximately $20,000 in "petty cash" with which he would pay us on Wednesday. Wednesday came and went-- no word from Wayne. By the end of the day, the Line Producer had set up an urgent meeting with all of us (except Wayne) for the next day at Du-Par's.
Almost the entire hired staff, about 20 of us, came to the meeting. The line producer (who we were initially told by Wayne was an HBO producer, and he was told we were HBO writers, both untrue) then informed us that he had discovered that HBO had never heard of the "Real Rome" production, and that the persons that Wayne named as our contacts at HBO did not exist. He could find no evidence of a payroll company or any funds to support the production. The address for LightForce Productions (Wayne's company) was a P.O. box. LightForce was not even a registered LLC. The entire "production" was a fraud perpetrated by Wayne.
Turns out Wayne was able to pay for the 3 1/2 weeks at the bungalow, as well as all the rented office furniture and equipment there, by duping a longtime Danish associate of his into believing that this production was real. Not only did this guy move from Denmark to work on the project (serving as creative consultant), he "lent" Wayne $60,000 as startup capital, fully expecting he would be paid back by HBO as soon as the funds were allocated.
Bear in mind that many of the folks who were hired by Wayne are professionals with legitimate Hollywood credits. People are owed hundreds of thousands of dollars for services rendered just in those five weeks alone. No one expects to see any money. If fact, no one seems to be able to help us at all. Because Wayne did not profit from this pseudo-business, he did not commit a crime in the eyes of the police or FBI. He did not submit our W-4s and I-9s to the IRS, so he did not commit a federal fraud. He did not sign the WGA signatory agreement, so the WGA cannot enforce our supposed WGA contracts. Sure, we could sue Wayne, but he's most likely broke. We'd spend far more on litigating than we would ever see in a settlement. We are left with egg on our faces.
Since then, one writer got evicted from his apartment for not being able to pay his rent (he then contemplated suicide). Another writer filed for bankruptcy. Two writers, one from Canada, the other from Ohio, who had both moved to LA specifically for this project, may very well have to move back, destitute. As for me, I consider myself fortunate-- I somehow qualified for unemployment compensation. Yeah, lucky me.
Why did 43-year-old Wayne Heyman-Hanks do this? Maybe he wanted to feel like a big shot for a while, or maybe he thought if he packaged the project enough he could secure financing. We don't know. All we know as of now is that he's been hopping from cheap motel to cheap motel in the SF Valley (some located right near the writers he screwed over). He's obviously deranged and/or delusional. We have little doubt he believes "Real Rome" is still a real possibility.
Moral of this story, friends: BE CAREFUL. That dream job may very well be just that-- a dream.
Last edited by Ohclipse; 09-06-2005 at 01:07 AM.
I'd like to note that Tim Newman, who says that Wayne Heyman-Hanks is his "client," is now threatening us:
"This item of outragous, libalous material must also be removed right away, or we will pursue legal action (filing against your site owner(s)) in Los Angeles Superior Court."
Libal is serious.
I feel God in this Chili's.
As serious as slandor?
P.S. Here's an article of interest:
Read the full article at: http://www.decaturdaily.com/decaturd.../promise.shtmlMan who promised firetrucks faces charges in California
By Deangelo McDaniel
DAILY Staff Writer
Don Philbricht has a message for the Alabama municipalities expecting fire equipment from Wayne Heyman-Hanks, who says he is a Hollywood producer.
"That's not his real name, and they are probably being conned like I was," Philbricht said from his Sherman Oaks, Calif., home.
According to the Van Nuys city attorney's office, Hanks has charges pending against him, and his real name is Dewey Wayne Hanks Jr.
Officers who arrested Hanks on April 14, 2005, alleged that he exposed himself to an undercover Los Angeles police officer, the spokeswoman said...
Here's an ad where Wayne was looking for "researchers" for his "Real Rome" project: http://www.hollywoodlitsales.com/gue.../2/board2.html
Buyer Name: Wayne Heyman-Hanks
Company: LightForce Productions, LLC
Credits: co. is start-up for this mini-series
Is there money upfront? Yes, salary after approval / hiring
Contact Info: firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact Person: Brent Goodroad
Years In Business: 21
Writer Wanted: 3 STAFF RESEARCHERS NEEDED. For Premium Cable Network mini-series "Real Rome", a docu-drama (5 Hrs air time). Hollywood vicinity meetings attendance required. Send e-mail self-pitch letter to one person only. Prior research experience required.
Last edited by JennaGlatzer; 10-26-2006 at 11:26 PM.
Apparently, he's good at hoaxes.
...In the last year, Heyman-Hanks has made similar offers for fire fighting equipment to departments in Athens, Anniston, Auburn, Boaz, Jacksonville, Scottsboro, Florence and Dothan...
City doesn't expect to see any money from California man
Truck deal an apparent hoax
Leada Gore, Hartselle Enquirer
--Roger J. Carlson
I just googled Wayne Heyman Hanks to find out whatever happened to him. It is a crazy story. I am one of the male actors Wayne approached to be in his movie. He told me he was Doing a movie starring Dennis Quaid called Soldiers of Rome. Ofcourse it never happened. I went to his house several times and he was always good to me. He is totally gay but he never really did anything inappropriate. He must be totally insane though the way he talked about his upcoming Rome projects and how much money he was making. Wayne Heyman Hanks is a total loser. He needs psychological help.
Okay, just so you know: that sad sack, Wayne Heyman-Hanks, has struck again, posting his "many credits" on a bio that ends with the following. (See below.) As one of the "cohorts" and "disgruntled writers" who was duped (my saga was published in LA Magazine under the title, "Hollywood Hustled"), let me assure you that absolutely ANYBODY can write a bio on IMDB. What's harder to manufacture is verified credits. The Danish "illegal alien" he mentions is a perfectly lovely guy who was duped along with the rest of us. And as for his knowledge of Roman history, do the words "glory hole" mean anything to you?
Anyone who trusts this madman is in for a very bumpy ride. (Although you might get five grand or so for a subsequent article on the experience.)
Anna Waterhouse (I don't do anonymous well.)
(FROM IMDB bio):
In the spring of 2005 Heyman-Hanks suffered a bout of negative publicity after a hopeful entertainment project with a longtime associate/aspiring director from Denmark, unraveled, leaving his then-friend's seven handpicked cohorts unpaid. It was later proven that no measurable work was performed by the group, who, in a rage over the Dane's bomb that the show was over, subsequently broke into Heyman-Hanks' home and stole back their starting paperwork, according to the LAPD (police serving Hollywood, California). The motley crew of discontents had managed to inflame a local newspaper and magazine with vengeful intent, having a personal ax to grind. Unbeknown to Heyman-Hanks, the would-be director, who had sworn to underwrite the project with his own foreign funds, turned out to be an illegal alien sought by the USCIS (former INS).
Few may know that Heyman-Hanks is considered an official railroad historian by America's railroads, as well as a bona fide Railroad Official and is called as an expert forensic railroad witness in court. Further, he invented railroad signal equipment during the 1990s, which is in use today and for many years to come in the transportation sector. Heyman-Hanks is also considered an authority on Ancient Roman history and on the lifestyles of Ancient Roman soldiers.