I want to thank the folks who have sounded the warning cry about Platinum Productions on this site.
My wife and I were also approached by this company in much the same manner as has been reported earlier. The scenario for us went like this:
(1) We received an unsolicited phone call out of the blue from a lady named "Renee," who purported to be the Executive Assistant for a man named "Matthew Brindisi," whom she identified as the producer of a television program called "Great Tastes." Our business has recently been in the news due to some local awards we've won, and as a result, we have been contacted by numerous media folks lately (legitimate media folks, that is). Therefore, we initially assumed this was just another media contact for a story about our business.
(2) Renee wanted to set up a time for a 20-25 minute telephone interview between Mr. Brindisi and my wife and I. Indeed, she was quite insistant that BOTH my wife and I be available for the telephone call. I have to admit to thinking that Renee seemed a little "distant" and "aloof" in the way she was talking to me...as if she wanted me to think that Mr. Brindisi was some famous celebrity and that I really should be "honoured" that he was interested in talking with my wife and me. (Hmm.... first red flag).
(3) I did a Google search, and indeed, there is a nice website for a television production company called Platinum Productions, and their website does contain some impressive infomercials. After looking at their website and viewing some of the film clips it contains, I initially thought this company was on the up-and-up.
(4) However, my suspicions were aroused fairly quickly. This morning, we had the pre-arranged telephone "interview" with Mr. Brindisi. He was quite personable and disarming, although the conversation seemed a bit stilted, like he was reading from a script and had certain points he wanted to cover. He admitted at the beginning of the conversation that he knew very little about our company (Red Flag #2) -- which struck me as being odd, since he'd had several weeks' advance notice of this phone interview...a simple Google search of our business name would have revealed a lot of information about who we are and the nature of our business. After all, it was HE who contacted us, not the other way around, so I thought this was a little strange that he knew so very little about us. In fact, I'm not even sure he knew we are located outside the U.S.
(5) Well, to make a long story short, he asked us to tell him all about our business, and to convince him that we had a "story" that he'd be interested in filming for his television program. Toward the end of the conversation, he indicated that we had "passed" his screening test and that he now wanted to nominate us to his boss for further consideration of being "selected" to appear on the "Great Tastes" program.
THEN came the "fine print." He started listing all these provisions and scenarios...and then announced that, AS A GOOD-FAITH GESTURE (Red Flag # 3), we needed to send him a cheque for USD $19,000 to prove that we "really are serious" about having his company invest in our story. h*o-boy, I smelled a rat. I told him to put everything in writing, but he kept pressing for us to say yes to his cockamamie scheme... which we, of course, did not do. We left the conversation with an agreement that he needed to send further information in writing to us before we would consider going forward.
(6) As soon as we hung up the phone, we immediately did a more extensive Google search and came across this "Rip Off Report" website. The stories of other people here are now oh-so-familiar. It sounds to me like this Matthew Brindisi (or whatever his "real" name is...) is on a fishing expedition to find gullable business owners. Well, count us out of that group. We called his secretary back and told her in no uncertain terms that we are NOT interested in any further discussions on this matter.
Thanks again -- everyone who sounded the clarion call that this is a scam operation. I appreciate it. You've spared me a lot of time and money.
Vancouver, British Columbia