The mandy network.

There is a site called “The mandy network” which, somewhat hyperbolically, advertises itself as the “number one network for cast, crew and creative professionals”.

It isn’t of course, as anyone who has trudged through the pages of its unpaid “opportunities” will readily testify.

It also touts its services as being “free to join”. What you discover when you join however is that you are actually going to have to pay an upfront fee to apply for the jobs they advertise.

We here at the Watercooler have that strangely old fashioned view that no-one should have to pay to apply for a job of work.  Apart from being manifestly unjust, it means that jobs become restricted to those who can afford to pay to apply, with the obvious social consequences that entails. We regard companies that peddle that kind of nonsense as being no better than the leechy things that append themselves to unprotected bottoms in the high seas.

So our advice if you are thinking of paying mandy.com for the right to apply for work is – don’t.

All the jobs worth applying for in the industry always appear on free sites such as those you find on Facebook. You don’t need to pay and you gain nothing by doing so. The only jobs that don’t appear on the free-to-use sites are the crappy “come and work for nothing for an IMDB credit” type operations. These are mostly not accepted on the reputable pages as they have no value on a CV and are a misery to work on, usually because you end up working till stupid o’clock for an underfunded, overstressed, inexperienced bunch of hopefuls making what turns out to be an unwatchable and unwatched short film.

In short then, our very fiorm advice is that you avoid “the mandy network” like the plague. Don’t waste your money on it, not least because if no-one pays, it will have to close. And if it does, those jobs won’t simply disappear, they’ll all just end up being available elsewhere for free.

And if you are looking for work, how about trying all these lovely free to use pages instead.

Maia Films. Kennington Film Studios. Fortemus Films.

Avoid this company. The individual behind Maia Films/Kennington Film Studios/Fortemus Films (Andrew Greener) has a longstanding and very poor record for failing to pay freelancers who work for his companies on time, and sometimes at all. He appears to have taken this habit with him from Spectrecom to this new venture(s).

Caution is therefore recommended for anyone considering having any kind of financial relationship with this company or any other he is a Director of.

If you are a freelancer who is encountering any difficulty with being paid on time by this company, please feel free to make contact with the details. Confidentiality guaranteed, no cost, no obligation.

***EDIT***
Please note that the other names associated with this company/individua
l

Spectrecom Films
Spectrecom Education
Kennington Film Studios

Kennington Creative Group
Fortemus Films
Maia Films

Tramp Television
TOA Television

Croga Studio Builds


Freelancers beware!


info@tvwatercooler.org

John Pavlakos – AVOID.

A warning to anyone considering working for this individual at any point in the future.

A considerable number of people have reported being left unpaid by this Producer after working on his films through his companies “Purple Lion Pictures”, “Macho Movies” and “Liontari Films”.

Due caution should be exercised before embarking on any kind of financial relationship with either him or any of his companies in the future.

Joe Gaffney. Jermaine Pinnock. Root2Fruit Media.

A warning to anyone considering working for either of these individuals or this company.

Please note that a considerable number of people have recently been left unpaid after working on a production for Joe Gaffney, Jermaine Pinnock and Root2Fruit Media (https://root2fruitmedia.co.uk/) and that due caution should be exercised before embarking on any kind of financial relationship with either of them or this company in the future.

Callum Johnston (aka Common Wisdom). Stone Empire Pictures.

A warning to freelancers and suppliers to take great care when embarking on any business relationship with the above individual and company. 

A large number of freelancers have had difficulty in being paid for their work for this set-up. BECTU were informed and a number of people have now been paid, however some have not. Caution is recommended for the future.

National Youth Film Academy (NYFA) – AVOID.

Are you considering paying a fee to attend an audition/interview for one of the National Youth Film Academy’s £1200 (+ costs) “Set Ready” courses?

If so it is worth bearing the following reviews in mind. Every single one of these is from individuals who have paid to go to auditions or been on the courses themselves (and is just a small representative sample of many others):

“I did an online 9 hour course (spread over 3 weeks) and learned more in those 9 hours than I did in 2 weeks”

“I only did the interview and then realised that it was way too much money for what it was offering”.

“I would not recommend the NYFA to anyone who is looking to improve their skill set in the film industry”

“I attended their Summer Course and found it to be extremely unprofessional – all the work and organisation for the course was loaded onto young apprentices who had no idea what they were doing!

“The main gripe really is that we paid a lot of money for very little return”

“I went to their ‘breakthrough courses’ and the staff were awful, rude and disrespectful to their students, the guest speakers were good but the nyfa demanded full ownership and copyright of our films, meaning they have never been entered into festivals or viewed again by an audience, they gave all students a member status on their website but it is worthless and has led to no new opportunities”

“For the money paid, it was atrocious”

“The course itself was very bare bones; Not only were the course tutors not that experienced (at 18 years old, I’m much more qualified than most of them), but I hardly learnt anything! The most interesting workshop for me was for screenwriting, but even then, I actually learnt very little”

I felt it was a waste of my time”

“I was put into a group with 8 other actors, a director, an AD and a writer. My group were missing a producer, editor and cinematographer. Other groups had 5 actors and a ‘full’ team, again when I point out the unfairness of this, I was told they would sort this. They did not”

“The amount of money for this course is dramatically out proportion for the experience received”

“In my opinion, the NYFA was a waste of money. I have not benefited in any way from being on this Course and could not recommend it to others”

“Fairly badly organised and overpriced”

“I would not recommend the course if people have any other way to network, and that instead they could spend half the cost of the course and produce a well funded short with a similarly sized group. Talking with friends from this course, they feel similarly”

“I personally wouldn’t recommend it as it certainly isn’t worth the money and the only thing my daughter got out of the course was to make new friends with like minded young people”

To confirm then – this is a company which has attracted a huge amount of negative opinion over the years (the above is only a tiny fraction). If it put as much effort into running its courses as it does in suppressing that poor feedback on the internet it would be a much more honourable organisation than it is. In short – be very cautious about handing over money to this organisation – the evidence is that their courses simply aren’t worth the money.

**UPDATE**

And if you have just arrived on this page after reading the scintillating reviews of this company’s offerings on Trust Pilot, you may want to reflect on the fact that, for some reason, fully 50 people within 72 hours decided to leave their first ever review on that site and all spontaneously decided to make it about their experience on these courses. And would you know – every single one decided, entirely independently, to express overwhelming satisfaction!!

Such an outpouring of effusive joy, it’s almost like a miracle.

*UPDATE 2**

And now it transpires that course attendees have been paid to leave reviews on Trustpilot – which does also help explain the enthusiasm on show! You’ll struggle to find mention of this salient fact in the reviews themselves though, which is not only against Trustpilot’s rules but a little shady to say the least…


Peekaboo Global Consulting Limited. Darlington Abuda. “The Accidental Spy”.

Please could all freelancers be extremely cautious if offered any work by a company called Peekaboo Global Consulting Limited or its owner, Darlington Abuda.

Numerous freelancers have reported that they have not been paid for work they have done on a feature film shot in the UK, produced by this company; “The Accidental Spy”.

Please email Mark Watson (derrywatson@gmail.com) if you would like more details.

Peekaboo Global Consulting
9, Animashaun Street
Progressive Estate
Ojodu Lagos
NIGERIA

AXS Pics. Tulsan Warner Project. YGT. WB UK LLC. HVN ESOTERIC CAPITAL. HVN GROUP. Jilliahsmen Trinity

 

WARNING

**NEW UPDATED WARNING:  This set up is very likely to be a money laundering operation. If you have passed over bank and passport details to these people please keep any eye on all your accounts and the possibility of companies being set up in your name. Do not hand over any information to this company and do not sign up for any work. Needless to say no-one who has worked for these people has been paid for their work to date.**

Red flags have been raised by a number of Runners about a company called “AXS Pics” which has recently been seeking to recruit workers to be researchers on a forthcoming feature film (often without the Runner actually applying for a job).

The company has claimed a link with Warner Bros however they have confirmed that they have no association with AXS Pics and have asked Shooting People (amongst others) to remove adverts which mention their name. The work in question does not appear to be related to film production and it is not at all clear what the company does or who they are.

Questions to AXS Pics have not been answered, there is no trace to be found of them at their claimed Berkeley Square office and there is no company of that name registered at Companies House.

Please treat all offers of work with this company with great caution and do not hand over any bank details to them. If anyone has any information about this set up and/or has done this work (and been paid for it), please could you let Mark Watson know (derrywatson@gmail.com).

Company details:

AXS Pics. Tulsan Warner Project.
2nd Floor,
Berkeley Square House,
Mayfair,
London,
W1J 6BD
UK

Bruce Al-Bright’s Office
bruce.albright.asst@gmail.com
careers@axspics.com

+44 7459 524060

Siddhant Bhatt.
CFO (U.S)
APEXIDUS
Level 33, 25 Canada Square,
Canary Wharf, London, E14 5LB
Tel: +44 (0)20 7193 4959
Fax: +44 (0)20 7193 4950 or 020 7193 4955

Jennifer Scott
Assistant to Aron Mann
Associate Financial Officer.
Contracts and Accounting at
AXS PICS
2nd Floor, Berkeley Square House,
Berkeley Square, Mayfair
London W1J 6BD UK​
Tel: 020 7268 5086
Fax: 020 7268 5010
Careers@AXSPics.com

HVN GROUP, Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate, London, EC2N 4AY

WB UK LLC 37th Floor, One Canada Square, Canary Wharf, E14 5AB

Jilliahsmen Trinity

Thinking of subscribing to My First Job in TV or Film?

Before you sign up, you may want to consider what others have said about the value of their subscriptions. Here are just a few – every one of these is a direct quote from an individual subscriber:

I paid a lot to these guys when I first started out and was always disappointed not to ever get anywhere with it!

It was such a waste of money!

I’ve emailed them a couple of times to try and get a refund but never get a response

Over the years I have sent tens of applications through those websites and as a result I was only getting upset that I wasn’t considered even for the jobs that did not require any experience

I didn’t find any jobs on there that weren’t already online elsewhere

I never received any responses to the number of jobs I applied for.

I found very limited paying jobs appearing on the site, and more internships and runner roles that, for the most part, were unpaid

Didn’t hear back from anything!

Every time I applied directly through them i never heard back. I have only used it successfully once, when I contacted the employer directly and decided to not listen to the advice of “don’t apply through employer”.

My subscription with MFJIF never got my any work

I didn’t even get an interview out of the service

Number of jobs obtained through MFJF/TV: 0

I was actually starting to question whether they were sending my applications out or not at one point…overall I haven’t been impressed and, having come across numerous other sites that offer the same/similar service for free, I have cancelled my subscription and feel a little cheated if I’m honest

Nothing ever came from my subscription or various applications

I spent 76 pounds between the two websites which was a lot when I was trying to find tv work and never got anything through the websites.

I paid MFJIF some money for subscriptions and inevitably never got any use at all from the site

I applied for SO many jobs and never even heard back

I applied to a number of jobs and never heard back from any of them

I never got any work out of the applications I made and it did annoy me for ages afterwards

I received no work

Got no work from it!

I never got anything from the service

I’ve had no interest from this site whatsoever, even when I’ve been an extremely well suited candidate for many of the advertised positions. It really makes you feel unemployable – which is certainly not the case!

I paid them £30 before realising what rubbish the site was

I sent 71 applications and got 1 unpaid internship

Absolutely nothing came from it despite a few dozen applications

Nothing came of the numerous applications i submitted via the site (the majority of which were only for work experience placements).

I subscribed to both websites…and received no paid jobs

Got absolutely nothing from it at all, and most jobs were available free elsewhere.

Out of the 29 applications made I received no response at all.

I had to cancel my MFJIF subscription last month after hearing barely anything back from the hundreds of jobs I applied for. I have a ton of experience working on independent films… I’m more than qualified for the positions I’ve been applying for.

I have had no work from them at all.

I remember applying to many things and never heard back. It often felt like sending my CV to nowhere. I have no proof my applications were even read by anyone, whether it was the people running the website, or the company recruiting. It didn’t feel transparent at all, and the level of secrecy was just unsettling, as was the lack of contact/support/help from the website

I subscribed to MFJ Film for around a year on and off and did not receive a single job.

I can’t help but wonder if the production company who advertised even received my application.

The team on these sites always sent emails offering help with cv and tips for interviews, I emailed them constantly but never heard back from them, to be honest I don’t even think the companies I was supposedly applying for received my application. I left because I wasn’t getting any jobs from the site, I realised some of the jobs were posted somewhere else for free and I never received any sort of help from them.

I applied to every single relevant job that came up in that 6 month period. I would only apply if I met the criteria and I truly thought I always applied in a professional manner and that I clearly had a lot to offer. I think I got a declining reply from 1 of 100 jobs, no other replies though

Overall MFJF was a waste of money and I will never use the site again, especially if payment was required to check vacancies that are already out there.

I have applied for many jobs on MFJITV, do production companies actually read and take these applications from MFJITV? I have applied for many but never heard anything back

I had subscribed to MFJIF previously but stopped paying after a few months when I wasn’t getting any work from it

I never received a single response back.

I subscribed to my first job in tv I think and had nothing from it. I quickly realised their jobs are advertised elsewhere so never renewed it

I’ve never even had an interview.

Many of the ‘premium’ opportunities are still work experience or talent pool schemes with little or no pay. Essentially people are paying money to apply for the possibility of gaining work experience (no guarantee at all), something which doesn’t seem fair or right at all.

I haven’t applied to every single job that comes up because I know the department I want to work in and I always read the job spec carefully, therefore I’m not always suited to the roles. However on the occasions where I am suitable I would apply in the same way as any other job – tailor my CV to the role, write a cover letter and send it off into the void. I have applied for less than 10 jobs in six months and not heard a single thing from anyone.

I never got any work through them even though I applied for every paid relevant job on the site. I always noticed that there were far more unpaid jobs on the MFJITV site than paid jobs and a lot of these unpaid “work experience” jobs seemed to advertised again and again over time for the same productions. My suspicions about this were confirmed when I heard from a PD that had worked on one of these productions that they had a constant stream of work experience people to do certain tasks.

I very quickly decided that the website wasn’t worth it as a lot of the stuff they had on there was unpaid work experience.

I applied for numerous jobs on MFJ but had no acknowledgment, responses or interviews from any. There never seemed to be many new jobs on there either, and a lot on the listings were closed and just hadn’t been taken down. Very few of all their jobs were paid – I don’t remember there being more than 1 page of paid work adverts on there. Not getting much for £60 subscriptions for a few months. The only time I ever heard from MFJ was when I emailed wishing to cancel my subscription!

I think that these sites are ridiculous as they just prey on people’s fear of not being able to find employment, or being left out of opportunities

6 months with them, paid membership, never got even the easiest 2 weeks long volunteering job and I’ve applied to a lot.

I paid a lot to these guys when I first started out and was always disappointed not to ever get anywhere with it

I used to apply thinking I am just not good enough to even get a rejection email.

I have never had any response from any job applications on there

In all the ones I’ve put my applications in for (a fair few!), I’ve only ever heard back from one. Plus, a lot of the jobs ads don’t disclose the companies advertising, so it’s tricky to know who you’re applying to further than the basic info provided by the site.

No feedback or responses.

No real benefit

Jobs are often advertised elsewhere for free

Most of the jobs advertised are posted on free sites

I applied for over a hundred roles via them over 6 months and didn’t get anywhere with any of them. I feel I conducted myself professionally and was definitely a viable choice for a worker, but I think I just got lost in the immense sea of fellow applicants.

Apparently there are people who have acquired work through this site but I’ve never met them. I have never received a single response for applications through MFJIF

Most of the jobs turn up in other places anyway.

MFJIF claims to have exclusive rights to big films jobs but I never got even a sniff of work on any of these so I am dubious. MFJITV advertises jobs that can be easily found in several other places for free so that is not worth paying for.

I never even received a response from any of the applications I submitted via the site, let alone an offer of work, yet managed to get work and places on trainee schemes through other means like the Shine Group’s online database and Creative Skillset. MFJIF was by far the least successful option for finding work and I don’t think that’s (entirely!) a reflection on my applications.

Many of the ‘jobs’ you have to pay to get access to are in fact unpaid internships

They post jobs that are posted for free on Facebook or The Unit Base (List) and they don’t offer you any sort of help regarding CVs or cover letters.

MFJIF and MFJITV rarely seem to have actual paid work anymore, lots of unpaid internships and work experience. When it started it proclaimed to be trying to stamp out this kind of thing

My first job in film – only ever got in contact with me when I wanted to cancel my subscription. Very disappointing service

MFJIF is a complete waste of money.

It’s expensive for what it is – a site giving access to work experience

I have applied to various paid and unpaid jobs but never heard back. It was just waste of time and money

I paid a total of £45 and I never got any work

Absolutely totally nothing came out of it, and I was applying again and again, and again

Sites like My First Job In Film not only take your money but also provide false hope for inexperienced runners

I made a lot of applications to both paid jobs and unpaid work experience schemes/runner pools and never heard back from any. This could of course been due to the high number of applicants/my limited experience – however since discovering most of the work post is listed for free elsewhere, except with direct employer contact details, I have serious doubts that any of my applications were actually forwarded to employers

I have applied to hundreds of jobs on their site and I haven’t had any feedback from any of them, needless to say it has been a very demoralising ordeal trying to find work because I don’t think I should be in this position.

It was such a waste of money

The jobs advertised are advertised everywhere else

I got nothing from it

I didn’t hear a thing at all; applying for everything that I was suited for both unpaid and paid.

I found the website to be totally useless, my emails were often ignored

They were a waste of money to me, didn’t help at all.

Nothing whatsoever came from it. After having paid for the subscription, most of the jobs were unpaid or ‘experience.’

During my subscription, out of all the jobs I have applied for I have never been contacted/shortlisted for an interview

All the jobs I have applied to on there have gone nowhere

I paid £80 for a years subscription. I’ve had no work from the site.

Not being successful in finding a job

Despite my existing experience in the industry I have never seen the shadow of an opportunity to thank them for.

I never had any replies from jobs on the site

I have paid for 3 one year subscriptions to My First Job in Film and 1 one year subscription to My First Job in TV. I did not receive any work from either site.

I paid for a 6 month subscription (needless to say I didn’t get a single job from this)

Although it said it would show me lots more job posts, got me absolutely nowhere

I’ve paid for subscriptions on several occasions and have had no luck in finding any work through them. In the past I’ve found the lack of information about the roles they give and the necessary payment before applying absolutely infuriating and I will never be giving them money again.

I lost £115 on that website, I still haven’t got any job from it. The only time they called me for a job interview, they didn’t actually offer the job advertised on the website and they were not going to provide expenses (it was a work experience).

I subscribed to the site with a large portfolio of work for high end clients and never once got an email in any form from a company. A friend of mine who has been on a course with the NFTS also never received any emails.

I did not only get a single response (not even feedback) but also found out that loads of the “exclusive jobs” advertised were actually found somewhere else. It is annoying and frustrating for someone like me to see how could I perfectly apply for so many opportunities advertised there but knowing it will never happen

I didn’t see any result from my applications

As a young naive graduate I signed up to my first job in film believing all those great opportunities they posted would help me on my way. So I subscribed, and got exactly 0 opportunities

I’ve certainly not got any work from the site

I’ve paid £75 in total for their subscription service, and I have yet to get a response from an employer. It’s one of those things, you don’t want to have to pay for the service, but you’re scared if you don’t you’ll miss out on an opportunity. I’m not renewing my subscription after this month. In my view, it’s been 100% useless.

I paid a £50 yearly subscription to My First Job in Film and never received a single reply from every job I applied for weekly

I paid £30 for a six month membership which of course was a complete waste of money

I have been a paying member of the site MyFirstJobInFilm.co.uk several times over the past few years, and I don’t think I have had a single response from this site

I used it for longer than 6 months and heard back from no employers despite my experience.

I applied to soo many places and have not heard ANYTHING from anywhere…not even a standard “NO” reply

In the 12 months of being a member I’ve not gotten one job. I know the market is competitive but once your application forms gone, it’s like it’s gone to Narnia!

After months of subscription and lots of applications I still never heard back

I have applied to loads of jobs through them and haven’t heard back from any of them at all. But have heard back through other websites I have used

I applied to many jobs through this site and never got even 1 reply

I do not think this site is worth paying for

If you want to find jobs in the industry, and don’t want to waste your money on sites like these you may wish to consider these free to use ones instead:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/tv.runners/
http://www.theunitlist.com/jobs/
https://www.thetalentmanager.co.uk/

Don’t give your money to job sites – an update

Following on from our survey about subscription jobs sites like My First Job in TV/Film and Production Base (and the promise from recruiters not to use them), the Sunday newspapers have shown an interest in what these companies are doing.

Here’s the article, from the Observer. And a reminder – you really don’t need to give your hard earned cash to these companies, there are masses of places where you can find all the jobs for free!

TV and movie workers revolt at ‘unfair’ fees for job adverts

James-May-Jeremy-Clarkson-009
Unsung heroes complain at being charged to apply to shows such as new-look Top Gear.

They make the tea, clean the sets and sort out lunch for the stars, and hope for an eventual promotion to a bigger, better role. But there is rebellion brewing among the unsung heroes of the showbusiness industry.

Officials connected to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills have launched an investigation after about 120 angry “runners” complained that to obtain their lowly jobs they first had to pay hundreds of pounds to showbusiness employment agencies, including one site that is currently recruiting runners required for a new Clarkson, Hammond and May car show, the Top Gear-style programme to be launched by the Amazon subscription service, Prime.

The runners – who are often paid the minimum wage – claim that websites such as Production Base, My First Job in TV and Film, and Film and TV Pro were illegally charging as much as £15 a month to have access to job adverts. The Employment Agencies Act 1973 makes it “illegal, except in specified circumstances, for an agency to charge a fee in Great Britain to someone who is looking for work”.

Each of the websites claims to have successfully assured the inspectorate that its business model complies with the law, since the websites are covered by an exemption designed to permit newspaper-style job pages.

But Laura, 26, one the complainants, who did not want to reveal her identity, said she had spent “easily £120” on the Production Base website – money that she could not afford and should not have paid. “I am very angry because I come from a council estate in Ireland, I don’t have the contacts, and this world is all about who you know,” she said. “So I paid out to see the adverts. And I don’t think it is right. That money could have been spent on rent and food.

“I only had two runner jobs from the site. To be honest, the Mama Youth project, which helps young people from under-represented groups, did much more for me and is the reason I have had a bit more success.”

Mark Watson, a television director who runs a campaign to expose poor work practices in the TV and film industry, said it was not fair to charge such fees to people on the lowest rung of the ladder.

Watson, who has helped the complainants to make their stand, said: “People are now asking for their money back. I hope the companies will just say, ‘Fair enough, here is your money back’. We are talking about thousands of people affected by this. “Charging anybody of any description to see a job advert does not seem right. There are exceptions for entertainment jobs in the legislation, but when you have got a runner who has thousands of pounds of debts, then being asked for fees to just look at jobs, and apply for them – well I saw red. I just don’t think it is fair.”

Production Base is one of the longest established agencies embroiled in the row. The advert on its website, for runner positions on the Top Gear-style show, neatly describes the lucky candidates’ expected lot. “You will be the unsung heroes who help this middle-aged trio make superbly entertaining TV,” the advert says. “Wit, intelligence, top-drawer work ethic, good in a brainstorm – all of these qualities required in spades.”

A spokesman for Production Base said it fulfilled a vital service in helping people into the industry. “We were asked by the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate to clarify that our business was adhering to all relevant legislation. After very positive dialogue with them, we are happy to confirm that we conform to their guidelines,” he said.

“We look forward to working with the EAS in future. Production Base has helped thousands of people find work within the television and film industry since we began in 1996, and we hope to continue to assist the freelance production community.”

A spokesman for My First Job in TV, who confirmed that it is still in discussions with the inspectorate over aspects of its website, said: “We were delighted to engage in dialogue with the EAS. They have confirmed that we are in total compliance with the regulations.” Film and TV Pro did not respond to this newspaper’s questions.

http://www.theguardian.com/media/2015/aug/23/runners-revolt-unfair-fees-job-adverts-tv-film-top-gear