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Thread: Estephan Talent Agency (Joseph Estephan)

  1. #1
    ZDANIELS
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    Estephan Talent Agency (Joseph Estephan)

    Beware of Joseph Esephan. He e-mailed me out of the blue. I asked him where he saw my script and he mentioned a website to which I had never been. But I thought since he knew the name of script, he must have seen it somewhere, so what did that prove? Well, then he calls me (during weird, non-business hours) and asked if I was all ready to send my script with the $20 fee (he sort of skimmed through that part). I said, "Wait, hold up, back the truck up... What fee?" He said they have to charge a fee to pay their offices, blah, blah, blah. I said "Well, I'm not gonna pay any fee." He said, "Well, okay, good luck with your script and in the future..." I hung up on him in mid-sentence. In retrospect, I wished I had cussed him out and I still may via e-mail. Anyway, this guy's website is called screenwritersale.com and he claims to have connections to the Christian writing commnunity, to represent several writers on major TV shows, and to have been a WGA signatory for 14 years. Well, as we all know, agents that charge reading fees are not allowed to be WGA signatories. So, my next step is to call WGA, although I'm not sure if he really is on the WGA list or he just lied about that. Just a heads up. Definitely a scam artist.

  2. #2
    duane3
    Guest

    Joe Estephan

    Joe has turned to managing/producing now. You'll find it's quite normal for managers to ask writers to share expenses when "hip-pocketing" new writers. If Joe was lying, don't you'd think those big named writers he references would sue or demand removal from his site? don't you think the WGA would take down the Anne Kenney article? You might want to retract; and do a little research next time!

    www.wga.org/craft/AnneKenney.html
    (she mentions Joe as her first agent)

    www.scriptsales.com/ArchivesMar02.html
    (script sale #12)

  3. #3
    absolutewrite
    Guest

    Re: Joe Estephan

    I, too, had the same experience. Found out he was banned from the American Zoetrope site for the same sort of behavior. By the way, duane, not to be disrespectful, but the WGA article doesn't cast him in a good light-- the writer is making fun of herself for going with an agent who was a math teacher during the day.

    Reading fees, in my opinion, are totally unacceptable.

  4. #4
    duane3
    Guest

    Joe Estephan

    I see. I guess you guys won't be attending his seminar at this years Screenwriting Expo. Perhaps the script he sold in March for 500k is also a scam. The two of you should contact Done Deal and the 2002 Screenwriting Expo and make them aware that they've been hoodwinked.

    www.screenwritingexpo.com...s_sun.html

  5. #5
    SamIAm123
    Guest

    Re: Joe Estephan

    you should NEVER deal with someone who asks you for a fee to read your material. NEVER NEVER NEVER. it is not something that is up for debate. NEVER. PERIOD. END OF STORY.

  6. #6
    ncwriter
    Guest

    What reading fee?

    You guys are confusing managers and agents. If an agent asks for money, dump him. However, this guy is a manager/agent--and if any of you can find a manager that won't charge you money, check Hades for icesicles and give me a call. Also, his web site is a script registry, and most script resgistries charge a small fee. The only sin he is guilty of that I can see is solicitation via spam.

  7. #7
    absolutewrite
    Guest

    Re: What reading fee?

    Ncwriter, why is it okay for a manager to charge fees? I had a manager and never paid a fee. But on top of this, Joe is charging $20 per script to send it out-- that's far more than simple postage costs!

  8. #8
    Unregistered
    Guest

    Mo' on Joe (Estephan)

    He's charging $20 per script (presumably messengering costs) and lately $25 per logline to email loglines to producers. This is puzzling because what expense could he possibly incur sending out a logline?
    Does anyone know the names of writers he currently represents who have actually sold scripts via his auspices?

  9. #9
    mammamaia
    Guest

    mendacious 'managers'

    a 'real' manager gets a percentage of an artist's earnings and does NOT charge FEES!... scam artists are just getting more creative with titles these days, and newbies are still falling for it all:\ ... remember what the late, great, scamminest artist of 'em all, p.t. barnum had to say, 'there's a sucker born every minute and two to take 'im!'... they're all laughin' their way to the bank... :rollin

    love and hugs, maia

  10. #10
    Unregistered user
    Guest

    Say it ain't so, Joe

    Does that mean we all get to line up and pelt him with rotten tomatoes?

  11. #11
    Unregistered
    Guest

    That Big Money Quote Is Deceiving

    Duane,
    That half mil is contingent on the script actually
    getting made, you can be sure. The writer probably got option money, which is a tiny fraction of that amount.
    At $20 x 10 scripts per writer (= $200) -- he generally asks for ten copies of a script and twenty bucks a copy -- if he hip-pockets 100 writers, he's pocketed twenty grand. That ain't chump change.
    Can anyone in Cyberspace provide this message board with the names of writers who are currently active for whom he has actually made sales?

  12. #12
    duane
    Guest

    Wire Fraud?

    If Joe Estephan were indeed using the phone and emails for the sole purpose of depriving writers out of their property interests, (i.e. money), he would be committing wire fraud. Two or more such acts constitutes a pattern, which would then violate the RICO Act. First offense: 20 years. If you folks really believe what you're saying, I suggest you notify the authorities.

    Duane

  13. #13
    Unregistered
    Guest

    Let's not go overboard

    Unfortunately for us innocent, gullible "newbies," there are gray areas. That said, the truth is that I do believe he is sincere in his intentions.
    So, let's all go home happy.

  14. #14
    Movieman
    Guest

    Two Years

    Joe Estephan was my agent for two years. He NEVER EVER called me and when I called him, I got either an answering machine that sounded like crap or him telling me about a producer he was working with who wanted to package ten movies and that my script was being pushed for consideration. He is also not listed as a WGA Signatory agent. When I called them they told me that he had been removed for charging a fee. The contract I recieved looked like it had been zeroxed 100 times and it was crooked. The envelope he sent it to me in was someone else's SASE with his handwritten name and address on a label over the original. Very unprofessional for someone in the Biz for 17 years.

    His whole operation seemed, to me, like a twenty-something pretending to be a Hollywood agent and making a living on newbies.

  15. #15
    RaineWriter
    Guest

    He called me from a PAYPHONE!

    And asked me for a hundred bucks for a readers fee. I said that I have been advised NOT to send any money. He asked that I'd think it over...Heh, heh. I decided in a microsecond that this guy is absolutely no good at all for anything except scamming the new writers who haven't read their books.

    Stay away from this guy.

  16. #16
    bentbrains
    Guest

    A Pay Phone???!!!???

    Wow! Thanks for the warning! That sounds like the dictionairy's definition of a scam artist! A Pay Phone???!!!???g
    -Frank J. Middleton

  17. #17
    Lobelia Overhill
    Guest
    a bit late but I'm a newbie here ...

    I contacted Joe 5 or 6 years ago (I forget how I got his details) he sent me a sheet of A4 paper with his name and address at the top (almost like real letterheaded stationary), gave me the name of a book I should buy and told me to start sending out my screenplays to producers (listed in the book) by photocopying his letterhead, writing my own blurb and mailing it out.

    I didn't ...

  18. #18
    Hillbilly Queen tfdswift's Avatar
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    ...

    Thank God I never heard of this guy. I seem to have "SUCKER" painted across my forehead. Thank goodness I have a great mentor. I feel so much safer.

    ~~Tammy

  19. #19
    Player of the Letters Alphabeter's Avatar
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    Tammy

    You keep gettin' smarter 'n we's gonna hafta take that there avatar of Brandine away from yous!

    A
    Last edited by Alphabeter; 02-27-2005 at 05:55 AM. Reason: I don't know my Simpsons very well

  20. #20
    Gypsy_Agent
    Guest

    Exclamation Warning to Fellow Writers

    After reading this thread, I thought maybe my two cents and experience with this individual might help anyone considering dealing with him to decide how to proceed.

    My first contact with Joseph Estephan was in 2004. He called me and said he’d seen my entry of a TV series script on Moviebytes.com. We talked and then he threw in the tag about the money. I asked to think about it and when he called back I told him I needed credentials and to know his background. He also told me he was a WGAw signatory for 14 years and gave me the names of people he backed. I decided, without checking the requested information first, to give this a try. On his initial call he said he wanted $20, this call he wanted $100. I balked and told him I only agreed to the initial handling fee and why couldn’t he sign a contract and take a percentage of my earnings rather than demanding fees up front? He said this was simply for the initial handling and copying. I told him I would send him the copies he needed, but he asked for the $20 for handling costs. I gave in – still not sure why I did, but I did.

    Later I checked his background and credentials and really wish I’d done that beforehand. I called the WGAw and told the gentlemen that answered about the conversation. A long sigh later and without missing a beat as if calls about this individual were typical, he told me: Mr. Estephan was a signatory for 14 years, but he was dismissed on grounds that could not be discussed. He advised me to seek out an agent and not a manager, never pay money to either one, and perhaps I should do a full background check on Mr. Estephan before I entered into a bidning contract with him. So with sirens going off, I went to IMDB.com and put in the credentials he gave me and the ones on his website. Most hadn’t worked in 3 or more years.

    Mr. Estephan contacted me again, this time on a Sunday. I called back to discuss this finding and to tell him ‘no contract, no deal and certainly no more money.’ I got an answer machine. When I got my cell phone bill the next month, the phone number was in Windsor, Ontario, Canada; a far cry from Hollywood, California. He called again two weekends ago but I wasn’t home to answer. I have never heard from him but every few months, he has never called or emailed me about who he is shopping my script to or what is happening with my script, and when I emailed him to ask who he was shopping to, I never recieved a reply.

    Every writer must come to their own conclusions about Mr. Joseph Estephan. However, I urge anyone considering dealing with this man, to do a careful and thorough background check, do not send any money to him, and only offer a percentage of earnings if/when he gets you your shot in the biz. And if you do get a contract, pay for a lawyer becuase it could cost you far more in the future. But mind you, this holds true for ANY manager or agent, not just Joseph Estephan.
    Last edited by Gypsy_Agent; 06-26-2005 at 11:41 AM.

  21. #21
    Never Surrender AW Moderator Maryn's Avatar
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    Mr. Estephan has been discussed at IMDb's Shop Talk Writer's board recently, at http://imdb.com/board/bd0000019/nest/20759797

    The conclusion there was the same you reached here--that he's not an agent a reputable writer should sign with.
    Get to work. Success isn't built on the power of your dreams.


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  22. #22
    wishes you happiness JennaGlatzer's Avatar
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    Moments ago, I got a phone call out of the blue from Estephan. I let it go to my machine. Perhaps he has forgotten that he already tried to scam me once before. Perhaps it's time to alert the authorities.
    I am no longer here. If you'd like to visit me, please find me at www.jennaglatzer.com or on Facebook. Thanks!

  23. #23
    wishes you happiness JennaGlatzer's Avatar
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    Info on Joe:

    Estephan Talent Agency
    6018 Greenmeadow Rd.
    Lakewood, CA 90713
    (562) 421-8048

    Other complaints about him

    (read from bottom up): http://www.urban-living.org/new-4126379-1020.html

    http://p083.ezboard.com/fscreenplayc...picID=66.topic

    Was at one point WGA and SAG signatory. Now apparently spends his days trolling the Net for screenwriters (and actors, and models?) who'll fork over $20 per submission-- and/or a $100 reading fee.

    Yeah, let's do it. Let's nab this sucker.
    Last edited by JennaGlatzer; 10-30-2005 at 12:49 AM.
    I am no longer here. If you'd like to visit me, please find me at www.jennaglatzer.com or on Facebook. Thanks!

  24. #24
    wishes you happiness JennaGlatzer's Avatar
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    Maryn, maybe it's just me, but I'm getting a blank page when I click your link. Is it "expired?"
    I am no longer here. If you'd like to visit me, please find me at www.jennaglatzer.com or on Facebook. Thanks!

  25. #25

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