Sunday, January 28, 2007
double crossed by film crew and transwoman
Addendum 2/1/07:After the husband and wife team spoke amongst themselves, after receiving a call from the husband yesterday. He told me they would speak and come to me with a fair resolution. I had offered to buy the footage at a fair price. Their final verdict was this: They would provide me with certain footage, not including the B role for $10,000. Right, that was real fair. I not only found the interviewee's for them, but I was also their working side by side with her
( Director ) helping direct, and asking the questions I drew up. My wife, also with another camera to get a second angle, was involved in the shooting as well. Now, they feel that it is fair to have me buy the film for that price? No thanks, that is no deal or a fair arrangement. I will have to see what my options are since 40% of the film and profits belong to me.
Latest information regarding the documentary. I spoke with Edgar, the executive producer, we are going to come to some form of an agreement. Something that will hopefuly be fair for both parties. Will keep you posted. Negotiations are in progress.......
I must share this information with the world. I have been working on a documentary since February last year. First, I started with two individuals who work for America TV, one a camera man, the other a producer. They did not have the time, nor the money to proceed with the project, therefore, they handed over the material filmed, so I could go on with the project. I was contacted by a husband and wife team who have a small company called Spiral Media.
The two are here on a work Visa from Mexico and appeared to be trust worthy and good people. They were entering a competition on Current TV called Tolerance. I agreed to partake and be the subject for their short film which we named Nature’s choice. Never receiving a dime or compensation. I was impressed with their work, and decided to talk to them about working together on my documentary which would be called when nature fails, a struggle for gender identity. They seemed eager and excited. We proceeded on the venture. I was to rally up as many individuals that we could get to interview. Since I am well known in the trans community, it wouldn’t be a problem. I also, educated them with all the research I had done on the subject, and so they can see my vision and proceed with the film, on the same page as I.
We managed to get a good amount of interviewees, and I even put together a trip to Indianapolis where we would meet with a group I belonged too called Trans Youth Family Advocates.
I had spoken to the president of the group a Transsexual female and some of the members who were mothers of trans kids. They had verbally agreed to partake in my documentary. I paid for the trip, since the husband and wife team had no money for the production expenses, I agreed to front the money, and at the end of the product, I would get my money back. I had a bad feeling about things, and my trust of the couple was never fully there. They would constantly argue and disagree on things, it was a very stressful scenario. We finally drew up a contract, after much disagreement with the final out come. I first offered them 50% of the profit the film would make, they refused, but finally we came to the conclusion of 40%/60%. 60% to their behalf, they figure they were the film maker and had a camera and some lights.
In my eagerness to finally realize my dream and documentary, I had to settle for many things, including getting bossed around by the two. One thing that really threw me for a loop was what happened next. We never got release forms signed from the TYFA Group, thinking, there would not be a problem. They voluntarily went on camera, so I figured, why go through all the red tape. Well this was a big mistake. When Raquel De Antonio the wife of the film team, Spiral Media returned home, her husband Edgar, was enraged of us not getting signed releases. So I had to contact the group and asked them to please sign the forms as per Raquel’s husband. The release form was very invasive and threatening. Well wouldn’t you know, the TYFA group were not returning my emails. Raquel then decided to take matters into her own hands, and behind my back, she contacted the president of the group. Telling her how wonderful her interview was and asking her for the signed release. I received a carbon copy of the email from the president of TYFA, which is how I found out that Raquel went behind my back. I was upset, and smelled foul play. Long story short. The TYFA leader, now acting funny, and wanting to control the documentaries name, and context, started to give me a hard time. She explained that she did not agree with my concepts, and did not want to be associated with the docomentary and jeoperdize her new founded group TYFA. My format and outline for the documentary is to show that Transsexuality is a birth defect, therefore, the name when nature fails is appropriate to my believes. Also, I having a gripe with the religious extremists I wanted to include some of that by interviewing religious extremist on the film. Wouldn’t you know that the president of TYFA disagrees with the name and theory, and now is demanding to know what the documentary will entail and now wanted to discuss possible changes. She let me know she did not want her image on a documentary which she did not agree with. This back and forth went on for quite a while, but in the meantime the only signatures I received was from one of the mothers.
I had to go on vacation, so I was going to be gone for one week. I attempted one more email to the remaining mothers and the president of the group. Informing them that it was imperative they returned these release forms as soon as possible, that Edgar was planning on making a trailer and needed the forms to do so. But to no avail, still no signed release forms. Mind you these individuals would email me 2 or 3 times a day prior to the interviews and documentary ordeal. So now I am worried, hurt and puzzled as to why they are not communicating with me? Mean while, Edgar is fuming, and upset. Starts to ask me, the people in the group don’t like you do they? I answered, I think the leader has issues with me, maybe envy, and wanting to control the film. As she is a transsexual woman, who is trying to get her new founded group off the ground. Is in the music industry, she even asked Raquel if she could help with the sound track. All along ignoring the fact that I am the associate producer and part owner of the film. She had problems with that from the begining.
When I returned from the trip, I had a message on my answering machine from Raquel. Mark, do not contact anyone any more, leave it up to Edgar and I. I smelled a rat. I received another carbon copy of an email that was sent to Raquel from the president of TYFA. It was as if, she wanted me to know that she was doing business with Raquel, whether I wanted it or not. In this email it stated that she would be glad to work with them, and trusted their artistic views. Telling them that they as film makers could make a great film based on gender variant children. Now mind you, talk about back stabbing, and now having reasons to not trust the two. Later that evening I received a call from Edgar stating, "do not tell the president of the group of our contract and that you have anything to do with this film", just say you are helping us, that’s all. First, I felt why should I say this, and what is up your sleeves? I could not stay quite, first of all, the president of the group had informed me via email, that she did not agree with my vision and did not want to be part of the documentary. Now she changes her mind, because Edgar and Raquel lied to her about our contract. Well, I contacted her and confronted her about it. Wouldn’t you know I get a call from Edgar saying, you are no longer part of this project, we are ending our agreement, I told you not to talk to anyone. Well, first of all, I told him, we have a contract buddy, you do not tell me what to say. You are lying, and doing things behind my back. He proceeds to yell at me and call me names and tell me I am not a professional. That I screwed up the interviews, and turned everyone against me. I begged him to stop, and to please not lose focus on our project. We can always find other people to interview. He continued to rant and said I will not give you 40% of the profit, I will only give you 10%, max 15%. Now, I know for sure, I have been doubled crossed, he is probably offering the President of TYFA a cut. I have been double crossed, by the group and the film crew. I am planning on taking them to court, for I have spent too much time, energy and money on this project to watch it fall apart.
I had to share this with the world. Because I am hurt, I now have major trust issues. Here I am trying to do good for humanity, wanting to help this group take off the ground thinking they were my friends. The film makers, I never really trusted from word go, that is why I had the contract made up. But the mothers, and the president of the group I thought were my friends. I wanted to include them in this documentary which my hopes were to help open hearts and minds, to bring the message of unconditional love to the world. To educate people on transsexual issues. But wouldn’t you know it, even your own kind turn against you.
Goes to show you, can’t trust anyone, especially when you are dealing with money and films. All I want now is all the footage that has been taken. It is all my research and ideas on film. I drew up the questions and scenarios, I want justice served. It is wrong what they have done to me. The media often takes advantage of Transsexuals, wanting our stories and using us to get ratings. Film makers want to be discovered using our stories, but wanting not to properly compensate us for our work and efforts. We must stop this and send a message to the world. Our own brothers and sisters are back stabbing each other for their own convenience and purpose. This needs to stop. Please help me send a message to these individuals, that they will no longer get away with doing things like that.
Mark Angelo Cummings
Trans man on a mission.