The Media Business and Empty Promises
The media world is full of people who make a lot of empty promises or try to sell themselves and their project way above value. You need to develop a sense for such people an generally be very sceptical.
Usually, when something seems fishy, it is fishy. A few general advices in this regard: never let yourself being talked into working “this time for free, but on the next project we will have the big money” unless you are really convinced or trust the person on a personal level because you know him/her etc.
Do background checks. If somebody seems to be no big deal but acts like one, be sceptical. Insist on a contract practically on every bigger project and especially on first projects and don’t invest anything (time or money) before you don’t have this contract sealed (apart from reading scripts etc. and the usual things to figure out whether you’re interested).
Never sign anything before you haven’t properly read and understood it. No serious business person would want you to do this. In general a good portion of healthy scepticism is always appropriate, don’t let yourself be manipulated or just being talked into something just because the person is very eloquent and seems like a cool guy.