View Full Version : Beyond Stereotype Contest

05-19-2004, 11:52 PM
I pegged this for bogus the second it came into my mailbox. Others are vulnerable, so I thought I'd pass it on.

And yes, this has been proven to be a scam (Lion's Gate says they have no such contest).

Subject: ~Lions Gate Films/SHOWTIME Feature Opportunity~

Independent/ Aspiring Filmmakers,

In association with Artisan Entertainment and Trimark Holdings, the CEO of Lions Gate Films, Mr. Jon Feltheimer, and Vice Charman, Mr. Michael Burns are offering young filmmakers across the country a chance in a lifetime opportunity.

Beginning May 21, 2004, Lions Gate Films will begin accepting original treatments, accompanied by several three page scenes from a larger 120 page, feature length screenplay, to be read and judged by myself, Mark Brown- Director, and Film Critic, Blake French.

Mark Brown, Director of Urban Comedy/Drama, "Two Can Play that Game" has recently signed a three picture contract deal with Lions Gate Films that shall open up the door for a newly expanded urban market department that Artisan Entertainment is financially backing, hosted by our company. As a result, we are sponsoring the 2004 BEYOND STEREOTYPE CONTEST that will provide our winner with a $675,000.00 sale of their original screenplay, the opportunity to act as the script supervisor during the production of their winning film, and a Winter 2005 paid internship/job in our newly expanded urban film market department.

Mark Brown will direct and produce the winning screenplay on the sound stages of our Canadian studio. You may be sitting directly by his side. The plot of this first of three projects for Mark Brown and our new Urban Department surrounds the trials and tribulations of four Black teenage boys who are attending a predominately white, conservative, private school in the suburb of somewhere. You create the characters, setting, trials, tribulations, conflicts, challenges, and resolutions. However, you MUST deliver your treatment in 300 words or less.

To accompany your treatment, you MUST also create a total of three, three page scenes where one, two, three or all four of the central characters are involved somehow. The first scene MUST take place in the community shower/bathroom, the second scene MUST take place in one of the dorm rooms, and the third scene MUST take place in one of the classrooms. Each scene should provide some ideas, concepts and viewpoints that extend beyond the cliche's and stereotypes of Black Men Living in America. Don't be afriad to tackle the ideas of homosexuality, substance abuse, learning disabilities, racism, class differences, and other social issues in your scripts. WE DO NOT WANT ANY COMEDIC or HORROR SCREENPLAYS! Once ALL of your ORIGINAL material has been received by Saturday, June 5, 2004,accompanied also by your 1 PAGE RESUME, the judging process will begin.

On Saturday, June 19, 2004, our 10 semifinalists will be contacted by a member of our Urban Market Team. At that time, each semifinalist will have ONLY 1 MONTH to incorporate their three scenes into a 120 PAGE, FEATURE LENGTH SCREENPLAY. By July 19, 2004, all of the screenplays from the 10 semifinalists should be received by our judging panel. During that following week, we will be reading and rereading all of the 10 screenplays. Your screenplay will be read TWICE by each judge. On July 30, 2004 a FINAL decision will be made as to which screenplay will be put into production by Lions Gate Films, Directed by Mark Brown. The winner will be contacted via phone and email, and given specific details on travel and location procedures.

The winner will receive $675,000.00 from Peter Leitch of Lions Gate Films for the rights to their original screenplay. The winner will be flown to Canada for the 24 day production of the film shoot, all expenses paid. The trip will include only 2 tickets and hotel accomodations.

*It is best advised that ALL semifinalists have their screenplays copywritten on or before the date that the material is sent to our judges panel.

ALL TREATMENTS AND 3 PAGE SCENE materials should be forwarded DIRECTLY to me, in an ATTACHED email, via this address. ALL semifinalists will forward their 120 page scripts DIRECTLY to our Vancouver Studio.

Mailing Address will be...(ONLY FOR 120 PAGE SCREENPLAYS)
555 Brooksbank Avenue
North VanCouver
BC V 70 335


Saving the BEST NEWS for last... The ENTIRE production process in Canada will be filmed by SHOWTIME, and aired NEXT SPRING. The winning Filmmaker will be highlighted throughout each of the 13, hour long episodes.

We look forward to working with you and possibly turning your independent drive into a Hollywood dream come true!


Chaseton B. Hammond
Lions Gate Films
Production Coordinator
Urban Market Recruiter

05-20-2004, 01:24 AM
These fake contests fall under the domain of literary fraud, and according to the USPS, 2,000 people were arrested for mail fraud.

Click on this link for more information.

www.usps.com/postalinspec...victim.htm (http://www.usps.com/postalinspectors/fraud/victim.htm)

Report any suspicious offers to the USPS.

www.usps.com/postalinspec...tactUs.htm (http://www.usps.com/postalinspectors/fraud/ContactUs.htm)

05-20-2004, 02:29 AM
2,000 people were arrested for something else. Not this issue.

And Lion's Gate will be taking care of it themselves (or so I hear).

05-20-2004, 04:54 AM
2,000 people were arrested for using the postal system in some form or manner to defraud people.

It is a a federal crime, and very much illegal. (using the postal system to commit any crime).

So if what you said is true, you should be forward it to the USPS online form, so they can track patterns.

While it's nice to mention said scams to writers in forums like this, the proper thing for the person who recieves them is to forward it to the relevant authorities. After that, don't worry about it. The government agencies will file the data away and use it to establish patterns. They will take action.

I, by filing a complaint with the USPS, on s similiar scam, have the USPS handling the case.

05-20-2004, 05:25 AM
1. Email is not part of the postal system. Nor is it in the USPS's juristiction. Or the US government's - that's why spam in and of itself is still legal.

2. As stated, the revelent parties were informed and will take action as they see fit.

3. I wasn't scammed. I was sent a piece of silly spam, which did not ask for money. There is no basis for any sort of case on my part. (See again #2).

James D Macdonald
05-20-2004, 05:55 AM
If the mails are used at any point, the US Postal Inspectors can get involved.

If it's purely electronic, the reporting address is uce@ftc.gov The Federal Trade Commission has jurisdiction.

So... I'm interested. Do these people ask for money at any point, or is this some lonely nut who wants to read stories about black men taking community showers and can't find enough to suit him?

05-20-2004, 09:00 AM
"Mailing Address will be...(ONLY FOR 120 PAGE SCREENPLAYS)
555 Brooksbank Avenue
North VanCouver
BC V 70 335"

They've given you a mailing address, which places it under the jurisdiction of the United States Postal System. Now, if they asked you to send in any money with your screenplay entry (you've already said that they are impersonating a legit entity), they are using the postal system to defraud. And that is a federal crime.

05-20-2004, 11:20 PM
...Will that apply with a Canadian mailing address? Perhaps the Canadian postal authorities need to be involved. FYI: VanCouver is spelled incorrectly--it should be Vancouver.

05-21-2004, 12:00 AM
the post code is also not legit, it has too many numbers and not enough letters.

05-21-2004, 02:32 AM
"Will that apply with a Canadian mailing address? Perhaps the Canadian postal authorities need to be involved."

If they solicit people who use either the USPS, or US Private carriers, yes, it falls under the domain of the USPS.

Although the Canadian Postal Authorities certainly would be involved if the USPS investigates, or if that contest came to their attention.

However, that email may not have been a scam per say, it may have just been a hoax created by a bored person.

05-22-2004, 05:36 PM
Regardless of whatever jurisdiction this comes under... or not... a government investigation is reactive. And it would be useless as right now all that any writer would be losing is his or her precious time - and nobody can get that back for them (note that address is for the supposed round two and not the samples he asks for).

Whereas by posting this note around the internet writing community I am being proactive, so that people are aware in advance and don't waste their time.

05-22-2004, 05:41 PM
So... I'm interested. Do these people ask for money at any point, or is this some lonely nut who wants to read stories about black men taking community showers and can't find enough to suit him? No $$ asked from me. But then again I never responded to the above "offer". Hard to say (no pun intended) about his true intent. I couldn't even tell you how many emails he might have sent in total, but there were about 40 valid email addresses cc'd along with mine when I got it. No doubt mined off of Inktip.com or like web site.

07-19-2005, 12:14 AM
Are the bogus Lion's Gate Films emails still circulating?