In my quest to find stable employment that I actually like, I’ve looked high and low for potential opportunities. From LinkedIn (premium) to Indeed to temp agencies to word of mouth to Craigslist, no stone is being unturned as I try to figure out the best way to get my big toe in the door of success out here.
Last week, I responded to a Craigslist ad that was looking for a Production Assistant/Apprentice for a dolphin movie that would transform from a documentary to a potential kid’s action/adventure movie. The job would be 2 1/2 months and unpaid, but it promised to provide a lot of hands on experience with pitching to investors, maybe reaching out to A-list actors for voice over opportunities, ability to watch the CGI (computer generated-imagery) get added to the existing footage and even potentially go on location (to local beaches) and get more footage for the film.
I contacted the guy (Fri), he gave me his number to call. We chatted for 35ish minutes and we agreed that I would meet him the next morning for an in person (Sat) as he wanted his new apprentice to start ASAP (Mon). Now, I’m telling my sisters this story and they’re freaked out and think that this is a scam and that I’ll get kidnapped or sex trafficed or something. They make me Google the movie. I did – his promo site for the movie exists. They make me Google the documentary. I did – the documentary is listed in IMDB (International Movie Database) and the top celebrities he kept name dropping are all listed on the documentary’s page. They make me Google the guy (ie: the producer). I did – his name matches the producer listed on the documentary’s page on IMDB, but there’s no picture. At this point I think this is good enough and I decide to go through with it.
By the time I wake up the next morning, my sister emailed me a picture of the guy… I AM SO GLAD SHE DID THIS! When I arrive at the address he sent me, I call my sister. ‘Hey! So…. I’m outside of an apartment complex.’ She laughs, ‘Come home. Now!’ I agree, then disagree. I already drove 40 minutes. I want to see where this leads! I go inside and meet the guy on the second floor of the building. It’s the entertainment floor – huge TV, pool table, couches, computers, etc. I never felt alarmed otherwise I would’ve left. Yes, I DO have a sense of self preservation. As I’m sitting around for 20ish minutes waiting for him to ‘finish another business meeting’ I’m talking to my sister and she’s trying to convince me to conduct the interview on the phone so that she can hear what happens in case I get ‘Taken‘.
When the guy and I finally sit down together, I’m creeped out and intrigued. He is a heightened version of the picture my sister sent me. His hair is longer and greasier. His belly is more pronounced. His eyes are more piercing. Honestly, if she hadn’t sent me that picture I would’ve been convinced this guy was recently on an episode of Dateline’s To Catch a Predator and I would’ve bounced I M M E D I A T E L Y .
As soon as I sit down he makes me sign a non-disclosure agreement – hence me not giving you full details of my sordid tale. We talk, things look promising. He says it’s full time for these 10 weeks, but it will all be worth it.
I ask ‘Where will be working?’ He states ‘Here, in this apartment complex’. Strike 1. I want to give him the benefit of the doubt as office space in LA is rather expensive…
I ask ‘The days we’re not working here, would I meet you at these other venues? Call an Uber?’ He responds ‘Well, you can just drive here and ride with me so that we’re not eating up too much of your gas.’ Strike 2. Sir, I don’t know you…
I ask ‘You mentioned that if this job goes well, the other movie you’re trying to get funding for in the Amazon will be a paid position and I’d travel to South America with you and the team. Can you let me know a salary range for this future position?’ He responds ‘Ha, well. That all depends on how much money I get. I’ve got to get paid so you can get paid so it could be a lot or not much, but it will be fun!’ Strike 3. No, just no. I’m all for international travel, but this LITERALLY sounds too good to be true and maybe this is some international kidnapping ring he’s a part of (Again, I just watched Taken for the umpteenth time, so I’m slightly paranoid).
At this point I point blank ask him if this job is real. He seems slightly offended, but I’m like sir… I found this listing on Craigslist… and we’re meeting/would be working in an apartment complex… some things just aren’t adding up. He concedes and says he’s met some interesting characters through this posting, and thinks I’d be a great fit. After I assure him that I can survive these months in LA with an unpaid gig, we part ways and he says he’ll call over the weekend after he decides who he picked.
I’ve never heard back from him. Maybe I was slightly too smart? Under qualified? Either way, I just can’t tell if I want this movie to be real or not. I’m obviously grateful I wasn’t kidnapped if this wasn’t a scam, but I’ll be SUPER PISSED if in a couple of years I see this Dateline man on a red carpet and sitting at the Oscar’s when I could’ve been his date!!!! Only time will tell… Sigh.
Note: All events in this story are real. I promise.
Song of the Day: I Will Survive – Gloria Gaynor