Written, directed, produced, shot, edited
by James Nguyen

Before you read further, beware -- SCAM
James offers pay, has actors sign contracts,
then reneges. Nguyen doesn't pay his actors
or crew! When they ask for their pay, he insults
them, saying they were lucky to be in his films
and they really have no talent.

I initially found James on Craigs List and Casting Connection. He was trying to find the cast for his latest feature, "Birdemic." There was a link to his web site and I found he had already made two other features. So, I thought he would make a good guest on my local cable interview show, Movie Close Up, in which I interview local filmmakers and show movie clips. I was already a bit suspicious of him because his audition notice had been up for many months, off for a while, and then back up again. Well, what's it to me anyway?

I've been told that James Nguyen is no longer allowed to post on Worth checking into if you're thinking about acting for or investing in him.

Poster for "Birdemic." If you see this, run!

The extent of James' equipment. Though he lists a cinematographer in the credits, we never saw one.

James gave me copies of his previous films. They were amateurish, blatant rip offs of Hitchcock themes, badly written and pathetically executed. In all his films, the lead is a computer software sales rep who is not doing too well at his job. He meets a woman, starts a relationship with her, and then his sales numbers go up and he becomes the best salesman in his company. This is in all three of his movies. Need you ask what James does for a living?

James behind the camera.
Though he lists Dainel Mai as cinematographer,
that person only has Birdemic as a credit on his/her imdb page and doesn't really exist.
Did James mean to make up the name Daniel?
Editor Kim Chow also only has two Nguyen
films to his/her imdb credits.....

That unfortunate meeting.

We had a nice enough time on my show. James told me off-camera not to ask about his crew since he doesn't have one. He does all the positions himself, sometimes recruiting an actor to help out. He makes up credits at the end of his films to look more professional.

At the end of the show, James said he would find a part for me in his next film. I have to admit, after seeing his films, I didn't expect this to be my breakthrough. But at least he "pays" his actors and I'll get another film credit on my resume. Fine. Eventually, he contacted me and said it would be a one day featured extra role and he'd pay me $100, but for some reason, the contract would say the $100 was for costume costs, not acting. Again, a twinge of suspicion.

The day after James appeared on my show, I got an email from a very angry actress asking me how I could have such a lecherous, disgusting, etc., etc., man on my show. Seems she's started a lawsuit against him for alleged sexual harassment during an audition in a men's room. You can read an email from her below.

My casting couch potential days have passed uneventfully, thank goodness. I have to admit, I always smiled internally after hearing about his casting mishap, imagining him trying to manhandle an engeneau in a men's room, and not having the physical prowess, yet acting so businesslike on the set. I also began to understand why completion of casting took so long for this film.

Location of my day's shoot. See back of the bus on right.


I'm in the bus fearfully watching the attacking birds.
Oh, the angst!

So, the day of the shoot arrives. My scene takes place at Cameron's Pub in Half Moon Bay. Oh, forgot to say, this Hitchcock "Birds" rip off is about birds of prey -- eagles and vultures -- attacking people. I didn't have the heart to tell James that vultures were not birds of prey, but scavengers -- so ironic and telling.

He does literally dozens of takes of a few tourists, including me, in an English tour bus hiding from the birds. A hero with gun says the birds have gone now, so let's escape. He drags us all out of the bus screaming. Once we're in the open, the birds come back and shit on us -- a mixture of Cool Aid, Sunny Delight and other fluids. We seem to be burned by the bird urine and fall to the ground like the Wicked Witch of the West melting in Doris' tears. Then the camera comes in for a close up of our dead bodies and our throats have inexplicably been slashed even though there is no shot, even after effects, of the birds coming near us. Absurdist? I'll say.

Whitney Moore, originally "hired" as lead actress, than added
make up artist to her credits (doubly screwed), applying slashes
to Kim Caster, while daughter, co-lead, Janae Caster, ponde

This armed man says we can all get out of the bus.
The birds are gone. He drags me and a few others
out of the bus, and then we're attacked.

My job is done. Now the postponements of paying begin -- not just for me, but the whole cast, including two child leads. Do I hear "Child Labor Laws"? They were on the set all day every weekend of the summer of 2008, no tutor, and below union scale pay, and then screwed out of salary.

Finally, many months later, James says he's going to have a "premiere" at a local theater, not a public theater, but a very nice venue available for screenings only. He asks me to emcee it -- give a bit of background to the film and introduce him onto the stage. He will pay me another $100 for this night's work. He will pay me at the screening a total of $200 for emceeing and acting.

Oh, he also gets the children to take photos of the event, promising them pay which, of course, he never gives them.

We then watched the film, a supposedly serious romantic thriller. The whole audience of actors and their families is laughing. Strangely, James, who is sitting a couple of empty seats away from me, is laughing, too. I think he's just happy so many people are "enjoying" the film.

He doesn't pay me.. Nor does he pay anyone else. Did I say that before? He spends his money on the rental of the theater and booze and chips and shrimp so he can be the center of attention at the premiere. He gives a long speech about how each of his stars can get somewhere in the business if he and she works hard and studies.

Sure, a lot of actors work for copy, credit, meals, film festival exposure, but they know going in what their payment will be. If you say you're going to pay, you pay.

Feeling a little down about the whole experience

James' latest excuse is he won't pay till he gets money from distribution. Well, that's not what the contracts say. You can't change a contract after it's been signed by both parties. And I can't imagine he will ever get distribution for Birdemic or any other film he has made or will make in the future.

The lawsuits against him are being filed as we speak.

James has skipped town and moved to L.A., hoping to become a big time Hollywood director. Beware, potential investors. Check out his pending lawsuits, check out his credit rating, view any of his films first. If you decide to give him a cent after due diligence, you deserve what you get (don't get).

James is now posting audition notices on several L.A. websites for the sequel to Birdemic. So, he's got money to make another movie, but still not paying the actors he's already used (up). What is the point of a sequel to a movie that nobody has seen? I can't say enough BEWARE -- you will be taken, robbed, used, maybe even abused. But you will not get paid and the movie you work so hard on will not be seen!

James and I at the screening of Birdemic
See my smiling face as I get stiffed for my fee.
Remember his face -- and don't believe a word
he says.

With the stars of Birdemic, including children.
Oh, those shiny, innocent faces. How many laws
did he break? The courts will determine.
Naturally, James is not happy with this website. He threatened a lawsuit. I told him he could pay a lawyer to fight my First Amendment Rights or he can pay me $200. He wrote back to me on August 6, 2009:
"Dear Ms. Steiger,
"We don't have the money to pay cast and crew for now. However, we are willing to borrow some money to settle with you as follows:
"1. $100 for BIRDEMIC costume expenses for September 2009 (wrong year).
"2. $100 for MC at the BIRDEMIC premiere October 2009 (again wrong year).
"3. $100 for the license to use the Movie Closeup Show interview of Director James Nguyen in November, 2009 (yet again wrong year).
"However, you must drop any complaint with the Labor Commission. And keep this offer CONFIDENTIAL from cast and crew.
"Please reply ASAP.
"Moviehead Pictures"

And I immediately wrote back:
"Agreed upon receipt of payment, but not before."

Never heard from him again.

Lazlo's Closet posted a kind of fun rundown of Birdemic when the DVD came out through Nguyen's site since no distributor would touch it. He nicely skirts the issue of the quality of the film or review of any kind, but instead displays a series of posters he would have preferred for the film and it's proposed sequels. Great fun. (Irrationally, Nguyen thinks this is a serious suggestion and is now in pre-production on the sequel.) Here is the actual Birdemic review by Lazlo. You can read the whole stinking tragedy scene by scene, with drawings, thereby avoiding the awful mistake of buying it online. Thanks, Lazlo.

And here's a blog from Lazlo's Closet. This describes James' distribution efforts, trying to get out of paying his bar tab, giving a potential distributor a trailer instead of the film (didn't know he's supposed to bring copies of his film to a festival for distributors, or didn't think they deserved it for the $15 bar tab they covered for him). Actually, this article is kind to him. Just in case the blog disappears over time, I'll reproduce most of it here:

Furze, a good friend of Lazlo's Closet took the trip to Sundance this year searching for licensing opportunities for the studio he works for; and while walking up the strip, couldn't help but notice a mini van covered in blood and bird parts slowly rolling up and down the street. An Asian man was driving while the sounds of many screeching angry birds blasted from the mini van's speakers. On the side door was a sign with the ominous title to the film he was promoting, BIRDEMIC Shock and Terror.

Furze being a purveyor of the strange, I'm sure felt an immediate draw to see what this guy was about so he made a point to get himself to his screening which was that night at a small Bar which was dressed up for the screening with a really bad stuffed Eagle perched on the bar with wings spread as if waiting to strike. The man driving the van was there; Director James Nguyen, owner of Moviehead Productions and self proclaimed "Master of Romantic Thrillers (TM)". He was very happy to see Evan and the few friends he convinced to go along to see the film, He welcomed them and the screening had begun... I believe there were like 7 people including Mr. Nguyen at the screening which can't be much of a morale booster but Mr. Nguyen seemed unfazed by the low turnout.

Birdemic is probably what Lazlo's Closet would consider "Pure Cinema (TM)" an original idea like this comes once every few decades or so. In the film an insane number of Vultures, Eagles, Seagulls, and probably sparrows get crazy and for who knows what reason attacks a small coastal California town... hmmmmm... Well anyway, after two hours of wooden performances and CGI effects from 1991, Evan and crew were ready to pack it in, but the Master of Romantic Thrillers (TM) would hear nothing of it. He offered them drinks and they chatted for a while about the film, but when it came time to pay the bar tab Mr. Nguyen came up short. He motioned to the bartender that he would be right back with the $15 he owed and attempted to pick up his bird and leave. The bartender quickly grabbed up the stuffed eagle and said he would hold onto it until he came back with the cash.

Nguyen left the bar and after a few minutes Furze and friends were leaving as well. There they saw the Director looking upset and a bit worried, so they offered to pay his bar tab in exchange for a copy of the movie. Nguyen said he only had one copy of the film with him... "You came to the Sundance Film Festival with only ONE copy of your movie? You don't have any burned copies in your bag?" one of the friends asked. Nguyen suddenly remembered that he had a copy in his bag. He rushed to his Blood and Bird part spattered van and brought them a disc with the word "Birdemic" written on it in red sharpie. Money was exchanged for the disc, The master of Romantic Thrillers (TM) was able to pay his bar tab and reclaim his bird, and Furze and his crew were already making plans for the next night to screen Birdemic with friends in their hotel room.

James at Park City, not in Sundance;
and not welcome back at this bar.
Did the bird nip at his armpit?

Much to their dismay... After getting some twenty or so people into their hotel room, over three times what Nguyen had seated in the screening, all with PBR's in hand waiting to see the much talked up "Hitchcockian" Romantic Thriller. They popped the disc in their player only to see the Trailer for the film and then nothing... He had duped them into paying his bar tab and gave them only a movie trailer for their troubles. Or maybe it was an honest mistake, who can say? Though as far as track records go... a few potentially slanderous you tube warnings about said Director concerning non-payments and sexual harassment allegations make a case for the guys holding the PBR's.

So, now having a personal interest in this film, Lazlo's closet is working on getting a full copy of the film so we can be the first to give it a proper review. Why do you ask? Well we don't want to be like the bloggers who turned down reviewing SAW before it became popular and spawned all those sequels. If we get in on the ground floor of this Mega-Franchise waiting to happen we will be able to say we were fans long before all those sequels came, like Birdemic II - Birdtopia, Bridemic III: 3-D, Birdemic IV: Birdokalypse, Birdemic V: The New Hatch...

Interesting comments about James Nguyen found on YouTube

Yeah this guy is a total shit. I would have no problem seeing him locked up for years and I was just involved in post...briefly, until his erratic behavior and failure to pay ended that relationship. He is the biggest joke. Our 'screening over dinner' was watching a rough cut on his computer... at a CARL'S JR. I wish I could get my name pulled off the imdb for this movie that won't get released. Prick.

Due to a pending sexual harassment lawsuit, we are looking for anyone who has information on Mr. James Nguyen. If you have experienced an inappropriate audition, if you have been asked to remove your clothes for an audition, if he has tried to touch you or anything else, please contact me via email directorscouch at gmail. Any and all information is appreciated.

OMG!!! He's right. James Nguyen is a piece of shit. Once I arrived @ my audition, he tried to convince me it was to take place in a bathroom where he tried to get me naked, kiss me and grope me before I ran out. Visit thedirectorscouch for more info. He is just trying to get you naked so he can watch a love scene. sfcasting alerted me that he has priors

Don't do this movie, John N. is a piece of shit. He going to try and scam you. He wouldn't allow me to see the script, and the paper work he was going to have me sign had nothing about payment. The movie is going to be shit. Don't waste your time.

If anyone would like to file a lawsuit, James'
strip mall mail box (not office) address is:

James Nguyen
7119 West Sunset Boulevard, Suite 187
Hollywood, CA 90046
Tel.: (323) 335-6993

The Cast -- James also threatened to take their names off the film credits if they continued to bother him for the money he owes them. So, here they are.
Alan Bagh
Whitney Moore
Janae Caster
Colton Osborne
Rick Camp
Damien Carter
Laura Cassidy
James Z. Feng
Stephen Gustavson
Milan Lee
Steve McCoy
Mona Lisa Moon
Cameron Carter
Adam Sessa
Jaime Soria
Eric Schwartz
Joe Teixeira
Patsy van Ettinger
Danny Webber
Natalie Yonkers
Kim Caster
Bonnie Steiger

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