I got this email today from an aspiring screenwriter. I’ve removed the names:
My name is X. I am a writer. Producer Z has been corresponding with me via email concerning one of my screenplays. He asked me to email to him the first 10 pages of my script. Before sending it I Googled him and found that he appeared to be legit. After receiving the 1st 10 pages he emailed his phone number and asked me to call him. During our conversation he said that he liked the script but because I am a new writer it would take a lot of time, effort and phone calls to get it produced. He then asked for $1, 500 up front or whatever I could afford. I said to him that even though I am a novice writer, a producer asking for money upfront is a red flag and that I didn’t expect that from someone with his credentials. He seemed a little embarrassed and backtracked on his request saying maybe I could pay him 15% of the sale. He asked me to send the entire script to him via email and fedex because he is interested. Please inform me of any encounters that you have had with Mr. Z. Is he legit? I am EXTREMELY hesitant.
You’re right to be uneasy. Producer Z is a notorious scumbag — don’t be fooled by the fact that he has some legitimate credits in his distant past. Asking you for money is highly unprofessional and tremendously sleazy. Do not send him your script or communicate with him any further. And you should register your script immediately with the WGA just to be on the safe side.