Scam Alert: Johann Martinez, Matthew Schwartz Production Jobs

The “Johann Martinez”, “Matthew Schwartz”, “Clement Cheung of Mei Ah Entertainment” scams have been exceedingly prevalent as of the summer of 2017.

UPDATE: As of August 2017, the scammer has been using several different names. If you see a different name beyond what is listed here, please leave a comment and I’ll try to update this post.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of scams out there preying on people hoping for a career in film and television. If something seems off, it probably is.

Remember:

  • NEVER give out your bank information to anyone via e-mail.
  • NEVER accept advance checks from companies you’ve applied to onlineIf they want you to pay for anything in advance, ask them to call ahead and put it on their credit card.
  • Scammers will pose as a real company or production person, and will direct you to a legit website. Their e-mail address never has the same domain as the legit web address; a letter may be omitted or added.
  • If a company offers direct deposit, you will receive a form in person on your start date; it will never be requested in advance via email.

How does the scam work?

It begins with an innocuous text message, “Hi, I found your information on *Enter Film Crew Directory Here* and think you’d be a great fit, please send me your resume”.

You e-mail your resume, and then you get a length reply (see below). It can be for any number of positions beyond production assistant or editor — there’s been reports of the scam offering a position as a boom operator, makeup artist, screenwriter, or camera op.

How the scam actually works: After applying (the application requires you submit your mailing address), you will receive a check within 2-3 business days for around $3,000. The scammer will ask that you deposit this check in your bank account and use the money to make some sort of dubious $500-$1000 purchase. What actually happens? The scammer voids the check, and you’re on the hook for the $500-$1000 purchase.

How to tell it’s a scam: Grammatical and spelling errors. There’s also an over explanation of expectations and job descriptions. After personally being a freelance hire for ten years, in my past experience, all details are discussed in person or over the phone. With these scams, though, there’s a lack of any sort of personal connection that is very unusual. Any real industry professional is going to want to talk to you on the phone to ensure you’re competent.

If you think you’ve been the victim of a production scam, alert your bank immediately.

Text of the “Johann Martinez”, “Matthew Schwartz”, “Clement Cheung” Scam:

My name is Johann Martinez (Matthew Schwartz, Clement Cheung) am a Editor and Composer with a background in fiction, poetry, classical music, jazz, and painting.I also combine the powers of music and imagery to deliver the most honest, raw, and powerful emotions in films. I tend not to seek out awards, because I believe our work speaks for itself; however, our clients have entered our films and won many awards.

For me, life is about finding passions, pursuing dreams and connecting with people.

I really feel I need some assistance at this time that’s why I need someone who can work with me hand in hand throughout the production period. We are presently working on a short film which I’m directing the production aspect, although work hasn’t commenced and we should start working on the film in next 15 days.

As a Production Assistant at Johann Martinez studio,you will work closely with me throughout the production process, Your duties basically would be;

To do this role, you will need to:

=Assisting a photographer in all aspects of their work.
=Doing whatever is necessary to ensure that a photographic shoot runs smoothly.
=Assisting in everything from administration, to the shoot, to scouting locations.
=Be willing to learn.
=Be organized and practical.
=Understand how to operate digital and traditional cameras, and scanning equipment.
=Anticipate the needs of the photographer.
=Have excellent communication skills.
=Be able to foresee and evaluate potential problems, and deal with them calmly.
=Be skilled in image-manipulation and image-management software.
=Possess good office skills.
=Pay close attention to detail.

NOTE:

Before our HR department reviewed your resume and gave their report I decided to consider you among the three applicants that will be on probation before i finally pick the right person as the Assistant to carry out some activities on my behalf.you need to be very honest because sometimes my personal or corporate items such as financial instruments or non financial items can be with you. In conclusion I’m looking for someone that can be trusted and reliable to work very well and with good understanding and i believe you posses those qualities.I have decided to offer you a probationary offer (Trial Period). Here i want to see how you will demonstrate your skills and how exceptional you are and how efficient and on time you will be. I will need you to perform a couple of tasks for me during this week, which are part of basic duties you will be performing when fully employed by me. Successful completion of the trial period qualifies you for an Oral interview,you will paid during the trial and temporary weekly wage for the trial period will be Three Hundred and Ten Dollars.($310)

Job Salary and Hours Schedule When fully Employed after the trial period is as follow:

Available Position: Production Assistant Position
Type: Part-Time(It may lead to Full Time depend on your active and passion for the job)
Hours: 9 Hours per week
Days: 3 days per week [ Each day 3 hours ]
Weekly Pay: $600.30

BENEFITS:

• AD & D Insurance
• 401(k)
• Medical, Dental, Vision

Willing to take this job position, reconfirm your information. I will have my financial adviser have payment for these purchases and tasks, mailed to you. The trial period runs for a week or two. If you want to sign up for this, Kindly provide the details below …

Your Full name ;
Mailing Address ;
Apt;
City, State, Zip Code :
Mobile Phone Number :
Two Work or Personal References ;

Sincerely,
Johann Martinez.

 

The “Johann Martinez” Editor Scam:

About My Production:

johannmartinez is a digital media strategist, Moving Picture Producer, Video Editor, Photographer, Videographer, Video Artist, Interactive Designer & Illustrator. Also i specialize in landscape and night-sky photography, motion-controlled time-lapse, and creative dSLR film-making. I also hold private and group workshops and classes, as I love to teach other people how to achieve their creative Editor.

site info: johannmartinez.com

I really feel I need some assistance at this time that’s why I need someone who can work with me hand in hand throughout the production period. We are presently working on a short film which I’m directing the production aspect, although work hasn’t commenced and we should start working on the film in next 3 weeks.

As the Editor , You will assists the film director by establishing the visual look of the movie.

You will work closely with me and other crew throughout the production process, Duties basically would be

. Have a good aptitude for technology

. assembling all raw footage, with camera shots either recorded or transferred onto video tape in preparation for inputting into the computer

. Supporting the whole of the post production process on feature films and working closely with film labs, and with the camera and sound departments

. Be able to react quickly and precisely

. digitally cutting the files to put together the sequence of the film and deciding what is usable

. creating a ‘rough cut’ (or assembly edit) of the programme/film and determining the exact cutting for the next and final stages

. reordering and fine-tuning the content to ensure the logical sequencing and smooth running of the film/video.

Additional tasks may include:

. overseeing the quality and progress of audio and video engineering and editing;

. Taking responsibility for the smooth running of the cutting room on feature films

. writing voiceover/commentary;

. suggesting or selecting music.

You may also carry out online editing duties, which involve finalising technical aspects such as correcting faulty footage, grading and colouring and adding special effects.

NOTE:

Your present job doesn’t affect the Status of the job because i need to place you on trial period i need someone who can perform his or her duties with resourceful and proactive in dealing with problems and queries, All i need you to do is to complete all task in a timely manner. I am being thorough and explanatory here because i have hired people in the past who did not live up to what i expected and this time, i do not want to make the same mistake. I have decided to offer you a probationary offer (trial period). Here i want to see how you would demonstrate your skills and how exceptional you are and how efficient and on time you will be. I will need you to perform a couple of tasks for me during this coming week, which are part of basic duties you will be performing before the project fully start and if i am impressed and convinced that you are right for the job, I will be setting up a meeting with you once am done with this shooting am presently working on. Successful completion of the trial period qualifies you for an interview and Temporary weekly wage for the trial period will be Eight Hundred And Thirty Dollars/weekly and full employment details and permanent salary package + bonuses will be discussed in our meetings.

If the above work with you, I will take all necessary step and make my financial adviser have payment for these purchases and tasks, mailed to you. The trial period runs for a week or two. If you want to sign up for this, Kindly provide the details below …

Available Position: Editor

Type: Part-Time

Hours: 9 Hours per week/3 Hours Daily

Days: 3 days per week

Weekly Pay: $830

BENEFITS:

• AD & D Insurance

• 401(k)

• Medical, Dental, Vision

Willing to take this job position, I will take necessary step to have my financial officer have payment for the purchase and allowance to carryout the task, mailed to you. The trial period runs for a week or two. If you want to sign up for this, Kindly provide the details below …

Your Full name :

Mailing Address :

City :

State:

Zip Code :

Direct Phone# :

Two Work or Personal References:

.   .    .    .

For more information on production scams and how to spot them, please read this post and visit our Facebook group.

film industry scam alert

Author: Laryssa

Laryssa has spent 6+ years working on an assortment of film and television projects. She writes about her experiences to help (and amuse) others. If she's not working, she's either traveling, reading or writing about travel, or planning travel. Follow , Twitter, or Facebook.

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25 Comments

  1. Hello Laryssa. My name is Austin Barbian and I was sadly a victim of this horrendous scam, thankfully I had a gut instinct to call my school, The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, just to verify this one last time before I cash the check. I thank god that I did because my career service advisor immediately said to stop everything I was doing because of your post. Thank you so much for creating this post because this post saved me from making a horrible mistake.

    Thank you,

    Austin Barbian

    Post a Reply
    • to clarify, I was offered a boom operator position, but the emails we exchanged are almost word for word from the post.

    • Wow, I’m glad this helped!! I can’t believe how widespread this scam is. The film office in Nevada has seen it a lot too, and I’ve seen it brought up at least 10-15 times elsewhere in the last couple of weeks. Interesting that they are trying to hire a full film crew with this, good heads up.

    • Not even 2 days ago I received a text stating, “Hello, I hope you’re having a beautiful day! As regards your Assistant post on Film/Tv Pro, i have a considerable offer, Kindly e-mail me at info.cavelightfilms@gmail.com to confirm your availability and also for further details. Your prompt response will be highly appreciated. Jordan Ehrlich”

      I emailed Jordan and he said it was definitely not him. Unbelievable that this person is posing as multiple people. Can’t stand people in today’s world. 🙁

    • This guy tried to scam me too. I am going to report him to the FBI

    • I’m a hairstylist, and got this exact same email under the name of “Matthew Schwartz.” I read the email, and something just didn’t feel right.

    • The “Matthew Schwartz” Screenwriter Scam…
      Same thing.

    • Just got the Michael Schwartz screenwriter text – thank God this site came up 4th on my Google search for the guy’s email. Thanks much for posting this.

    • Hi, this is the real Matthew Schwartz in Atlanta. Over a dozen people have contacted me about jobs that I am not offering. PLEASE DON’T SEND ANY PERSONAL INFO TO ANYONE THAT SEEMS FISHY.

      Unfortunately I was hit with the Johann Martinez scam. I think it originated from Film and TV Pro. I replied once and immediately recognized it as BS (“Johann” would not give me his phone number). My accounts were not hacked but they take public profile data and auto-generate messages. They created an email account mathewschwartzproductionreel@gmail.com (my name is spelled wrong) and created messages with my company and profile data. F THESE GUYS. I am now spamming them with anonymous messages.

      Here’s how you can call bullshit:
      – Names misspelled, grammar errors
      – Rates that are too good to be true (PAs for $1500/day)
      – Cut and pasted job descriptions that could be from Wikipedia
      – Emails/texts at weird hours (3 am on Sunday)
      – “Trial period” of a few weeks (no one does this)
      – Requests for personal info

      Sorry if you got a message from me, but it’s not me! Please help spread the word and look out for scammers pretending to be you. XOXO

  2. Hi there. I just received the text below from a cell phone number.

    Hi, I got your details from Mandy/filmandtvpro for the position of A Producer after some consideration, i will like you to work with me on a production. Kindly send your recent resume, availability and sample of your recent job(link) to my email (johannmartinezmediapro@gmail.com) and i will get back to you with the full job details. Your prompt response will be highly appreciated.

    It seemed really fishy to me.
    I’m very grateful for your post to confirm my suspicions!

    Thank you!

    Post a Reply
    • It’s a scam they texted me too

    • Well, that sucks. Here’s the text I just got, at 6:01 AM Chicago time, which would be 4:01 AM California time, with the exact same text, only using a different gmail address:

      “Hi, I got your details from Mandy/flimandtvpro for the position of Screenwriter after some consideration, i will like you to work with me on a production. Kindly send your recent resume, availability and sample of your recent job(link) to my email (matthewaschwartzmediapro@gmail.com) and i will get back to you with the full job details. Your prompt response will be highly appreciated.”

      The number he used was 510-313-5909, which is an Oakland phone.

      The spelling and grammar errors were a red flag for me.

  3. Add makeup artist to that list just got one from this Johann Martinez

    Post a Reply
  4. Michael Smith wrote:
    Hi,
    Thank you for the reply and willingness to work with me and also for the wealth of information you have given about yourself. You will be starting the trial tasks within 2-3 weeks from now, which will qualify you for oral interview and I am putting things in place for everything to work well . I will get back to you shortly with important updates.

    – Picking up of paperwork/Composing Sounds

    – You will Purchase some equipment on behalf of me for the project and for office/home use,The payment will be send to cover all the equipments (Mac or PC with dual monitors,Wireless keyboard with trackball or trackpad,DAW such as Logic Pro X,Quality 88 key MIDI controller and a good set of studio monitors or headphones).Please kindly let me know some other stuffs you might be needing as i have already ordered for all so working anywhere will be great and a good efficient work will surely be require,right?And since you will be the one to use all these that is why am giving you the task to pay and receive items,okay.

    As a producer/Director, I have been in touch with my associate (johannmartinez.com) Editor and I have arranged payment to carry out the tasks stated in the job description to be mailed to you and will be expedited to arrive in the next coming days. These tasks have to be done on time and in the best way possible.

    Thank you so much for your time. Kindly make sure you check your email daily at least twice to three times in a day for regular updates.

    I will like to confirm your information’s before i proceed to mailing the check payment to your address. Kindly confirm that the below information is correct so i can forward it to the payroll department for immediate processing of your check.

    Post a Reply
  5. I received a text read as follows:
    “Top of the day to you, I saw your AD posted for a Camera Operator position on ProductionHub. After reviewing your profile, i feel excited with your past experiences,Kindly confirm your availability and email your recent resume to (johannmartinezproduction484@gmail.com) so that i can send over the full job descriptions. Your prompt response will be highly appreciated”

    Top of the day?
    Also maybe I have a profile or something on productionhub, I don’t even remember. If I do the last time I looked at it was probably for years ago and I was out of a job and looking for one.

    Post a Reply
  6. I am not new in the biz, I received it tonight.
    Top of the day to you, I saw your AD posted for Assistant Make-Up position on filmneworlean. After reviewing your profile, i feel excited with your past experiences,Kindly confirm your availability and email your recent resume to (johannmartinezproduction484@gmail.com) so that i can send over the full job descriptions. Your prompt response will be highly appreciated.

    It’s posted everplace! This person is really sending to everyone on every board. I’m in New Orleans

    Post a Reply
  7. He is also trying to scam production make-up artists. He got my name off of the Film New Orleans Website. I knew something seemed fishy and too good to be true. I am so grateful for your site and postings that confirmed this. Here is his response prompting me for more info after I told him I was available.

    Dear applicant,

    How are you doing today? I received your resume in response to the my text Thanks for the confirmation of your availability and sorry for the delay in response.

    About Me:
    Johan is a digital media strategist, Moving Picture Producer, Video Editor, Photographer, Videographer, Video Artist, Interactive Designer & Illustrator. Also i specialize in landscape and night-sky photography, motion-controlled time-lapse, and creative dSLR film-making. I also hold private and group workshops and classes, as I love to teach other people how to achieve their creative photographic vision.

    I really feel I need some assistance at this time that’s why I need someone who can work with me hand in hand throughout the production period. We are presently working on a short film which I’m directing the production aspect, although work hasn’t commenced and we should start working on the film in next 3 weeks.

    As the Assistant Makeup Artist, You will assists the film director by establishing the visual look of the movie. As a Makeup Artist, you’ll help tell the story through the artistic and technical decisions you make regarding lighting, film stock, shot selection and other elements.

    You will work closely with me and other crew throughout the production process, Duties basically would be ;

    -Apply makeup to cast members using a color palette and different tools such as mascara, sponges, eyebrow shapers, lip liners, brushes, and applicators.
    -Work with cast to create various looks.
    -Style hair according to makeup.
    -Set makeup with hairspray or other setting material.
    -Apply touchups as necessary.
    -Remove makeup from clothes if some is transferred.
    -Use photographs or models for reference when consulting with cast on ideal look.
    -Read scripts to ascertain the materials and the look required.
    -Sketch designs for future looks.
    -Purchase cosmetics and applicators
    -Ensure makeup looks natural and well-applied under different lighting.
    -Match skin color to color palettes to determine best looks.
    -Suggest skin care routines.
    -Fit wigs and hairpieces.
    -Work quickly and accurately under pressure.
    -Maintain awareness of health and safety issues and legislation.
    -Taking care of Financial activities.

    NOTE:

    Your present job doesn’t affect the Status of the job because i need to place you on probationary period i need someone who can perform his or her duties resourceful and proactive in dealing with problems and queries, All i need you to do is to complete all task in a timely manner. I am being thorough and explanatory here because i have hired people in the past who did not live up to what i expected and this time, i do not want to make the same mistake. I have decided to offer you a probationary offer. Here i want to see how you would demonstrate your skills and how exceptional you are and how efficient and on time you will be. I will need you to perform a couple of tasks for me during this coming week, which are part of basic duties you will be performing before the project fully start and if i am impressed and convinced that you are right for the job, I will be setting up a meeting with you once am done with this shooting am presently working on. Successful completion of the trial period qualifies you for an interview and Temporary weekly wage for the trial period will be Eight Hundred Fifty Dollars/weekly and full employment details and permanent salary package + bonuses will be discussed in our meetings.

    If the above work with you, I will take all necessary step and make my financial adviser have payment for these purchases and tasks, mailed to you. The trial period runs for a week or two. If you want to sign up for this, Kindly provide the details below …

    Available Position: Assistant Makeup Artist
    Type: Part-Time
    Hours: 9 Hours per week
    Days: 3 days per week
    Weekly Pay: $1,500

    BENEFITS:
    • AD & D Insurance
    • 401(k)
    • Medical, Dental, Vision

    Willing to take this job position, I will take necessary step to have my financial officer have payment for the purchase and allowance to carryout the task, mailed to you. The trial period runs for a week or two. If you want to sign up for this, Kindly provide the details below …

    Your Full name:
    Mailing Address:
    City, State, Zip Code:
    Mobile Phone Number:
    Two Work or Personal References:

    Best Regards

    Johann Martinez

    Post a Reply
  8. As Jennifer S said, makeup artists beware too. I got a similar message saying they found me on another makeupartistdirectory.com – that’s actually what originally clued me in to this being sketchy because I haven’t even finished my profile on it. I’ll be alerting the directory ASAP. Thanks for this post to confirm suspicions.

    Post a Reply
  9. Hi, I am a freelance writer/producer in Atlanta.

    I was hit with the “Johann Martinez” scam but it immediately seemed like BS. When “Johann” refused to give me his phone number I knew he was a phony. Fast forward to last week and people are contacting me about jobs I am supposedly offering. Fortunately my accounts have not been hacked. The scammers apparently scrape public data from the web and auto-generate the messages with fake email addresses. Regardless I sent complaints to LinkedIn, Mandy, etc.

    DO NOT SEND ANY PERSONAL INFO to these people.

    I have turned the tables and now I am spamming the fake email addresses with threatening messages using an anonymous email site. They will probably stop…I hope.

    If you have received an offer from Castanet Creative Services (my company) then it is probably fake. Unless it isn’t, in which case, I look forward to working together.

    Matt

    Post a Reply
  10. I just got hit with this email, but with as a screenwriter. The funny thing is that they didn’t really adjust the thing, so it actually made it a terrible job offer of doing a week of work for a job interview and the chance of getting $850.

    That said, I did think it was a legitimate, yet terrible, offer until I saw this post. Thanks for getting the word out.

    Post a Reply
    • I got hit with an email about a screenwriting position. Unfortunately, I was naive enough to believe it to be true and gave the spammer some personal information as well as scripts. Thanks for posting the heads up and preventing more harm.

  11. Sensing a scam from the start, I played along with the guy claiming to be Matthew Schwartz from Atlanta. After the third e-mail, where he told me that he was sending a check to me and setting up a face to face meeting at a restaurant down the street from me, I wrote back “Great, looking forward to it, just send me a contract that I can have my lawyer look over” thinking that would end it but I just got a check. I’m not doing anything with it. Is there anything we can do other than mess around with him and waste his time?

    Post a Reply
  12. I just got the scam, too, from “Matthew Schwartz.” He sent me a check for $3,000+ to be deposited but held for release tomorrow. BUT he asked me to send $500 tonight to secure some “equipment.” Yeah, right. I texted him all kinds of reasons why not. He texted “wow, never expected you to think so low of me …” Sad that predators like this try to take advantage of honest people trying to find work. He found me through Mandy.com. I will be cancelling my subscription with them. AND I will follow up with the FBI as well.

    Post a Reply
  13. ****NEW NAME BEING USED*****

    Thank you so much for posting this information! I identified a scammer sending this exact email, but now they are using the name “Clement Cheung” of Mei Ah Entertainment. He wanted to send a $6k check to “secure locations and equipment” in the Austin area.

    Stay alert fam!

    Post a Reply
    • Thanks for this update, I’ll add it to the list!

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