I know it makes some people squirm every time I mention that the bottom rungs of our fair business are crawling with avaricious oddballs who spin big tales of big connections, and then take everyone they can reach on a wild ride. Picking on struggling creators (or aspiring creators) just trying to get by!
The Dame sans Merci Fallacy: The little woman’s arguments are dismissable because she’s a big meanie.
It doesn’t seem to matter if the predators turn out to be uber-creepy stalkers. For whatever reason, some folks take bad stories about these bad doin’s personally.
Please leave your insecurity about your aspirations at the door. It’s not about you.
It’s about people like this.
Mitchell Gross, author of several fantasy and suspense books under the pen name Mitchell Graham, conflated his credits into a scheme to defraud women out of millions of dollars. Apparently, the mere claim he was getting a movie made by Spielberg, starring Kirsten Dunst and Pierce Brosnan, inspired people to hand over their wallet.
Gross, whose books include the suspense story ‘Circle of Lies,’ was charged in October with duping least two women into investing about $4.4million in a sham company he set up, using some of the money to buy expensive artwork, a luxury car and a golf club membership.
But that’s nothing compared to the story of Mark Twitchell, which aired last week on NBC’s Dateline.
Star Wars fan film maker Twitchell told everyone he had the goods to make it in Hollywood. He loved comics, and was an avid cosplayer.
I dunno, maybe the DrkJedi license plate was a clue.
Because I am a geek, I found myself consistently annoyed at how the show referred to the cosplay outfits as Hallowe’en costumes.
Investigative reporter Steve Lillebuen has a new book on the case coming out this month.
Two weeks before Altinger’s disappearance, independent filmmaker Mark Twitchell began shooting a low-budget horror film about a serial killer who impersonates a woman on an online dating website to lure his victims to their gruesome deaths. But these are just the starting points of the stranger-than-fiction case of Mark Twitchell, a man with a startling plan to turn his life-long love of fantasy and desire for fame into reality:
- Did Twitchell, in a horrific example of life imitating art, act out the grisly premise of his own script?
- Obsessed with Dexter, the popular TV show and book series about a fictional vigilante serial killer, Twitchell assumed Dexter Morgan’s profile on Facebook. But how far did he intend to take his fascination with Dexter?
- Is the shocking document “S.K. Confessions” a graphic work of fiction that, as Twitchell claims, he wrote to promote his film? Or is it a diary he kept of his transformation into a killer, and proof that the police stopped a prolific serial killer at the very beginning?
Just because someone has a few credits – or claims they do – please use due diligence. This is a terrific business full of terrific people. But a few of them aren’t so nice. You can get hurt.
Take care of yourselves.