Dear Readers, This is my first time using Ripoff Report and I normally wouldn’t publicly oust someone, but it seems this will be the 5th entry on Rip Off Report (?) in regards to experiences with “Geno Scala”. So while this may not be the best approach, I DO feel my story and research should be heard and considered. But I will allow you, the readers, to form your own candid opinion. I do want to go “on the record” that this entry should not be perceived as a way to hide myself and/or identity. This report will be posted on LI, my blog, and emailed to a collection of entertainment professionals. MY STORY/EXPERIENCE Up until a couple weeks ago, I did not know Geno Scala. I came in contact with Geno Scala after joining 1 of his screenwriting groups through LI. I didn’t initially know he was the “owner” of the group, but he did respectfully introduce himself by way of messaging me. Geno Scala Screenwriter/Mentor @www.thescriptmentor.com; Producer @ Shark-Eating Man Productions (www.sharkeatingman.com) Hi Allison! I might be in need of a good researcher in the near future. Working at NatGeo, you must be friends with (withholding name for privacy reasons) He says he worked there. Geno I responded and introduced mysefl, and also thanked him for allowing me to be apart of his network and group. It did quickly dawn on me that he spent most of his time (borderline obsessive) ousting and expelling other screenwriting mentors, services, contests, and screenwriters in general. I MUST provide the readers with a small backstory. I am hard-working researcher, AP, and, yes, a production assistant (coffee fetcher). I have been working in reality tv since it’s inception, at least it feels like it. My credits can be found online. I must admit, it’s time to make a career change. As a researcher, you learn a lot of interesting facts and stories, and I would like to share those stories. This goal is what led me to screenwriting. Screenwriting is not my day job, and I have never been hired to write a screenplay. This is purely for fun, with the desire to one day be a full-time scriptwriter. I digress. OK, so when Geno Scala posted an entry on his group seeking a “Group Manager” for a new group he created it did peak my interest. I replied to Geno informing him I was semi interested. I’m “newer” to screenwriting and this would be an opportunity to strengthen and grow my network in the screenwriting community. But because of my lack of experience when it comes to writing movies, I was all but sure he would choose someone else… From Geno: Hi Allison! Thank you for responding. Re: Group manager position: I would think that, initially, the position would require about an hour of someone’s time, just until you got familiar with navigating sites and writing the posts. I will start the person with a handful of sites to check, and they don’t have new entries everyday, so one day, there may not be any new jobs to post. I would only want the better opportunities to post anyway, not the bull$% @ that these newsletter companies. Eventually you’ll learn of new sites and such, and have a wider network to source. You’ll also learn what’s out there, and if you are among the first to see the ads, you’ll have an advantage when applying to them or submitting your scripts. In time, you may be able to contact sources directly, and this is how things happen and doors open for you! Right now, I do it, and I post one or two ads every couple of days, and I think people are grateful for the opportunities. It’s free, and I’m hoping to off-set the damage these unscrupulous newsletters do from constantly ripping off naive and desperate screenwriters through their subscription to newsletters advertising jobs and opptys easily found for FREE. That’s my goal and motivation, and I think it’s worthwhile. So, think about it, and if you think it’s something you can do a few times a week, or everyday, it’ll be cool! Plus, you’ll get good at navigating LinkedIn and make a lot of nice connections. I have several people that are interested, so I want to see who is really interested… He chose me. And after exchanging emails with him, managing his fraudulent LI group, and doing what I do best–researching–it is clear why I got the “Job”. The job was UNPAID. To save time and space, I will be leaving out the parts that are irrelevant to my “claim”. I did, however, take screenshots of the emails in its entirety. So if you would like to view the whole message, I’d be happy to forward it over. Please keep in mind that I was not aware that his group was a scam at the time. Initial email after being “awarded” the position. [ I left comments next to his comments. These comments were obviously constructed much later.] Fri, Jul 25, 2014 7:11 pm From Geno Scala (email address removed by Defaulters.com admin) To: @aol.com Hi Allison! Congratulations on accepting the group manager position in the “Script Assignments and Searches” LinkedIn group…. I would like to limit the posts to paying jobs for screenwriters, or opportunities that seem to be REALLY interesting and worthwhile. I want to stay away from the free jobs as much as possible, but sometimes these opptys are good to know about as well. [stay away from free jobs, Geno? Really? This job you are “bestowing” upon me is UNPAID.] The sites that I generally scan for these assignments include Craigslist Los Angeles and New York, Freelancewriting.com, Mooncasting.com, Elance.com, MediaMatch.com, Indeed.com, and SimplyHired.com. If you search under writing jobs, or “scripts”, or “screenplays”, “writing gigs”, “all gigs”, and keywords like that, you should get plenty of jobs to choose from… [so Geno, are we taking these jobs from paid and reputable sites and pawning them off as our own? Isn’t this illegal?] In the beginning, until you get used to it, you may end up spending 60-90 minutes daily, or every other day. Don’t be too concerned if you miss a day, as we are preforming a FREE service, but I do want it to be good, effective and long-lasting. I will also be in the group regularly posting and/or editing, as well as allowing members in. As you get more comfortable navigating the sites, including LinkedIn (I’ve been owning and managing groups for nine years on LI), we can expand your role and responsibility and authority as we both see fit. [expand my role? To a paying role? But wait, 90 minutes a day, stealing jobs from other sites?] Question(s): do you currently receive either the ISA newsletter and/or SSU newsletter? Are you a member of either of their specific LinkedIn groups? [yes, and they are BOTH very helpful. Will I be stealing from them, too?] I will tell you that if you are a member of either group and and you have paid and receive either newsletter, chances are high that you will stop receiving the newsletter if wither group finds out you do this for this group. It is in direct competition of what they do, and they charge people for the information we will be providing to people for FREE. I want you to link back all of our leads TO THE ORIGINAL POST if possible. We will NOT be taking responsibility for posts and job leads that other sites and employees work hard to cultivate. I will be posting things on occasion; many of my posts will be completely original to our group as they are leads cultivated by me. [other sites cultivate leads, and we rob them of their hard work? You are in direct competition with ISA, SSU and Ink Tip? These 3 services have invested time and money in websites, employees, industry contacts, social networks, and success stories. You, Geno Scala, invested in a FREE LI group, added a few of your friends, hired me as an UNPAID employee, and steal leads from Ink Tip and SSU.] Let me know if you have any questions. You can use some of the previous job posts as a guide. Respectfully, Geno Scala Shark-Eating Man Productions www.sharkeatingman.com www.imdb.com/name/nm5346759/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1. The Script Mentor www.thescriptmentor.com Be sure to follow The Script Mentor blog at: thescriptmentor.wordpress.com I responded to his email with questions, comments, and suggestions. Sun, Jul 27, 2014 3:43 pm From Geno Scala (email address removed by Defaulters.com admin) To: @aol.com [me] Some of the places you listed I already knew about, so that will be cake to browse those leads. But some of the other sites like MediaMatch and Freelance.com are paying sites. [me]So are we still wanting to post their leads to our group? I didn’t see contact info anywhere on the leads. I’m sure with enough investigation, I can find the company’s contact information through IMDb Pro and such. (I am a paying member for MediaMatch. Working in Reality TV, it’s been a go-to site for me) [Geno Scala ] If the ad is attractive enough, we can refer them to the site/page by attaching the link. If they have to register and pay, that’ll be their choice. Chances are they weren’t familiar with the site to begin with, so they’ll get that out of it. It could be that once-in-a-lifetime oppty that someone was looking for; we don’t know. Kepp in mind- we have no inherent responsibilities with this. [actually, Geno, we ARE responsible for this. We are stealing leads from corporations. You just crucified these organizations for charging money, and now we are going to refer our members to them?] [me] So are we looking to compile leads from other sites, and post them up on our group, directing the members to follow the links to apply? Or are you wanting me to find the lead on the original site, and then research the contact information to the person(s) hiring? [Geno Scala] The former. Easy-peasy. We’re not an agency, just offering alternatives to newsletters. IF you come across a cool opportunity and WANT to chase the lead down, have at it. I have done it in the past on some ads, more out of curiosity. What I have done a lot more of, though, is when I come across a producer looking for a script, I generally reach out to them and talk to them about my 20K network and offer to do them a huge favor, at no cost to them. I offer to promote the script search to my network (LinkedIn is a small percentage of my overall network), and I’ll review the submissions for quality and pass on the best submissions. The last one I did yielded over two hundred script submissions, which I reviewed and passed on less than 20%, but they thought it was a significantly higher level of submissions than they normally get. In return, I develop a professional friendship with a (larger) production studio and that often results in first-reads and first considerations when promoting my own material. You’ll have that very same opportunity, too! [so you speak poorly about these “newsletters” and yet you still apply? Let’s be honest, Geno. I’ve seen your social networks and pages, you take it upon yourself to advertise these “script requests” as a tool to promote yourself and your “mentoring” services. You admit to stealing leads, but we are supposed to trust you with our screenplay? And wait, so we are not helping our fellow screenwriters sell their scripts, we are doing this to “get in” with the studios so we can sell our own work? Do you even forward our query letters/screenplays off? Actually, do these companies even contact you? Maybe you are just wanting people to click on your forums and home pages.] [me] Regarding ISA and SSU, I believe I’m a free members on that site. To be honest, I sign up for so many screenwriting newsletters…. I think I WAS on ISA’s mail list… I’ll go through and see if I’m still subscribed (to both). If I am, should I post those leads to? [Geno Scala] I get both as well, and mine go straight to a designated folder for use later if needed. The SSU Premium newsletter is forwarded to me by about eight different people who support what we’re doing, but have already paid…. In a year, that will probably dry up, but in a year, I hope they’ll be dried up as well… Even ISA does basically the same thing, he does charge only for the five-day lead, but he has no compunction in admitting that he cuts-and-pastes each ad word for word. I can’t stomach that. As far as those leads- specifically SSU’s leads, since they now attempt to re-word the ad a bit, I do research each of them and if it’s a paying gig…. yes, I post it. Absolutely. Those are the ones that I’m most excited to see posted. Keep in mind- the FREE newsletter generally promotes only free jobs, or really stupid jobs (they once posted a job to head up CBS news division. Yeah, we have a lot of LinkedIn contacts looking in (their) group forum that are qualified for a job like that. Numbskulls. If the FREE newsletter advertises a script search or a job and provides direct contact info to the CLIENT, then yes, go ahead and post it. I still have the ability to delete, so if there is a glaring issue with one of the posts, or if a job doesn’t seem to fit with what we are trying to do, I’ll delete it and let you know why. Please don’t read anything into it, and don’t take any offense. [I’m reading into this. I have to. So you are admitting you STEAL SSU’s leads? So you post SSU’s leads on your LI group for others to apply to? I thought their leads were bogus (according to you)? So you are providing bogus leads to your members? Or, do you actually find their leads helpful, and take credit for them? Why is it Geno, you keep reminding me that our services are free…. does that give us some sort of merit? Last I checked, Ink Tip, SSU and ISA offer FREE services, too. And why is it you have a profile up on ISA? I thought you despised ISA, why would you need to advertise their?] [me] Sorry for so many questions, I just want to be sure I know EXACTLY want you want. I love questions, so don’t you worry. Lastly, in your screenwriting groups or FB groups etc., you just may come across some bitter writer who, for some reason (perhaps out of loyalty to one of the newsletters) will start attacking me without my knowledge. I have friends who tell me when this happens, so if you see it, just give me a head’s up. I’m not an active member in too many of the other groups, so I don’t have access to a lot of that stuff. [Oh, Geno, you have NO idea. People came, Geno. They told me who you REALLY are. I should have known. You even telling me that should have been a big red flag. Anyway, I think 2-4 ads a day is more than plenty. Pretty soon, by week’s end, the earlier ads get buried. [Geno, you will need to find someone else to do your dirty work.] Repectfully, Geno Scala —- Now, readers, do you still not believe he steals ads? I signed up for SSU’s premium package after I was slowly putting the puzzle together on this Geno Scala. Yesterday, at 11am (Saturday, August 2nd) SSU sent out 3 paid leads to my personal email. SHORT SCREENPLAYS WANTED Seeking short scripts that are NO longer than 10 minutes. The shorter the page length, the better! We will be paying 3 figures for script. Please send (1) PDF of the script you would like reviewed… MUST be copyrighted. (direct contact info placed here) SHORT SCRIPTS NEEDED ASAP “Seeking some kick a** short scripts” – (name will be kept private) would like to read SSU’s premium members shorts. Send him a pitch first; if he’s interested, he will contact you for full script. VIEW LINKEDIN. Contact (private) with your pitch and a reasonable rate for script. (direct contact info placed here) SCREENWRITER NEEDED
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