Zuzanna Skurtys. Art Director.

One of the hazards of being a freelancer in our industry is the lingering fear of not being paid for our work. Employees are, of course, much more secure in their livelihood, knowing that they are on a payroll and that the money they are owed will definitely come in every month. On time and the correct amount, so they can pay their bills.

Freelancers though – ah, not so much.

Late payment and – occasionally -no payment at all, are twin dangers lurking with all employments. Sometimes that risk is greater with some jobs (independent film making) than others (big TV companies). And sometimes it happens with employers who you really would have thought should know better. Like other freelancers.

Freelancers like Zuzanna Skurtys. This individual recently employed a number of people to work on an event for a celebrity client. They all did the work which was asked of them and then duly submitted their invoices, expecting (of course) to be paid. Expectations which, it seems, were somewhat misplaced as Zuzanna not only walked away from her commitments to pay her workers, but also refused to discuss the matter at all, simply shutting up shop to all enquiries.

Happy to take the work, less happy to actually pay for it. Which has left a number of freelancers badly out of pocket and wondering how they would now be paying the bills they are facing (and knowing they can’t simply walk away from them as Zuzanna has happily done).

Big warning then: if you see sometime Art Director Zuzanna Skurtys walking towards you with a ready smile and the offer of work any time soon – you’d be well advised to turn on your heel and walk rapidly in the opposite direction.

If you want to get paid for your work, that is. Prospective clients – please take note too!

John Pavlakos

A strong warning to anyone who might be contemplating on working for John Pavlakos on his current production “The Abomination”, made by Purple Pictures.

It’s described as an “exciting feature film starring international stars” but pretty much every time this individual embarks on making a film, he leaves a trail of debts to freelancers and suppliers behind him. Many have gone in in good faith and left vowing never to do business with him again. This film is unlikely to be any different, so best advice is to use a very large bargepole to put distance between you and him.

And if anyone has any information about this production, please do get in touch (info@tvwatercooler.org). Many thanks.

“The Abomination” just about sums it up.

**Edit. This film has proved to be no exception to the rule. Pavlakos has once again stiffed a number of people who have worked on this production, as he has countless times before. If you have arrived on this page via a Google search of his name, do take firm note and also – for the sake of everyone else in this industry – spread the word as widely as you can that this man is absolutely not to be trusted and that he will, with all probability, walk away with the product of your work without paying for it, in the same way that he has on so many previous occasions. BEWARE!**