Case Study

Bad Hiring Experience: IMDb Actress Malinda Money & The Sundance Film Festival Fiasco – Part 4 [Case Study]

Malinda Money Facebook

Bad Hiring Experience Case Study Part 4

The fourth and final segment of this case study about the 2018 Sundance Film Festival and IMDb actress Malinda Money offers reader the fiasco’s finally days as well as a postmortem and takeaways from all the events that transpired.

Recognition of a Fiasco and its Architect

On January 29, 2018, in the email entitled “Podcast & Email Query – Sundance 2018 – FilmBook,” FilmBook wrote to Malinda Money:


Can you explain to us why you are sending us podcast episodes yet you are not answering the numerous emails we have sent you over the last three days?

Sundance was the most important event for FilmBook this month. You provided zero coverage during the event. Instead, you sent us unrelated podcast episodes.

The 2018 Sundance awards were announced yesterday.  The news media is moving on now from Sundance.

To the outside world, FilmBook never attend the 2018 Sundance Film Festival.

Sundance utterly wasted their admission on us this year.

Sundance is dumbfounded and FilmBook, for the first time, is speechless.

FilmBook never received a response to this email.

FilmBook wasn’t expecting one.

The Nightmare had already been realized. There was nothing more to say. Its architect had gotten what she wanted and was already packing her metaphoric bags.

FilmBook tried salvage the podcast out of what they saw coming in a let-bygones-be-bygones email to Malinda Money on January 31, 2018. Malinda Money replied to that answered that email and agreed, pleased that FilmBook would look past the Sundance Film Festival fiasco and what she had just perpetrated.

Malinda Money emailed FilmBook another podcast episode on February 4, 2018.

Then came what FilmBook had seen coming.

On February 11, 2018, three hours before FilmBook finished the first edition of their podcast publication guide for Malinda Money (which they were going to email to Malinda so she could self-publish podcasts on FilmBook), she sent FilmBook an email entitled “Resignation”:

I have been attempting to get an MP3 of this week’s podcast up for about 7 hours due to complications with equipment and internet. This is above and beyond the limits of what I’m willing to invest in my time and efforts. With that being said; I’m afraid I am unable to continue contributing to filmbook.

Malinda Money’s deleterious Sundance plan had run its course and had concluded.

This is what FilmBook thought when they read Malinda Money’s resignation email, reading its resignation pretext, thinking about all that they had done on Malinda Money’s behalf, and all she had put FilmBook’s staff through (Malinda is the actress in the following clip, figuratively speaking, and FilmBook is the recipient of her “alternative facts.” The recipient knows the actress’ story is a complete and feeble fiction, hence his unabashed reaction):

How do you resign from a position you were completely derelict in from the beginning (i.e. news writing) and whole-heartedly never performed (i.e. Sundance 2018 reviews)? Malinda Money sent FilmBook an email saying that she was going to continue doing what she had already been doing. Almost nothing.

Remember, Malinda Money never produced: a single news article, a single Sundance Film Festival review, or anything related to Sundance, including social media postings.

Instead, she wrote one editorial, two advanced screening film reviews (which FilmBook secured her admittance into), and sent FilmBook mp3 files (which FilmBook, in writing, asked her not to do) during a film festival she was supposed to be covering, a transparent, diversionary ploy that never had a shred of a chance of taking FilmBook’s focus off of the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, film reviews from that festival, or media postings from that festival.

The only reason that FilmBook had not fired Malinda Money after the Sundance Film Festival fiasco was because they hoped to gain a long term positive i.e. the podcast. Because of that sole factor, FilmBook did not fire Malinda Money on the spot, something any other news organization, human resources employee, film studio, magazine, director, or hiring manager would have done.

As was mentioned previously, FilmBook was fully cognizant of the type of person and employee that they were dealing with half way through this ordeal. Malinda Money’s pretexted resignation email was the summation of that knowledge and those worst fears.

Lesson Learned

This case study presents a nightmare situation if good hiring practices are not in place.

FilmBook had no one to blame for the fiasco that ensued but themselves. They had read the Malinda Money signs correctly through their performance management system but choose to ignore them.

Postmortem analysis

Poor decision-making on FilmBook’s part. They had a tired and true reviewer that we had sent to the Sundance Film Festival three times in a row. During their fourth year of being eligible for press accreditation at Sundance, they sent Malinda Money, someone that they had previously never sent to cover an event, in the hopes of gaining someone that would contribute to FilmBook year-round. That was a mistake on their part. More egregious, half way through the process, it was a mistake that FilmBook realized yet they faltered in correcting it.

Like with any case study, there are lessons that the reader should learn. Things that the reader should take away from the case with them to institute, in practical ways, in their hiring, managerial, or business life. This case study is no different.

First Case Study Takeaway

Your Gut.

Trust your gut, your intuition, and never be swayed by beguiling words. Be convinced by actions and only actions i.e. the work that your employee consistently produces. Trust the bad vibes that a writer or contributor sends out e.g. constant excuses for why they are not doing what they said they would do.

When you find a writer that is trust-worthy and that keeps his or her word, stick with them (Valuation). Through any turbulent times or rough patches, stick with them. Praise them when appropriate. They are diamonds and no one throws away diamonds.

Second Case Study Takeaway

Cut the cord immediately.

When an employee turns out to be a bad employee, when they reveal themselves to be what they truly are (when in doubt, verify with multiple assignments then look at their assignment completion rate – Performance Appraisal), let them go immediately. Do not let them fester within your organization, infecting the behavior of current employees and future projects.

Third Case Study Takeaway

Save the communications.

Save your emails and other digital communications with your employees, writers, and contributors. You never know when you might need them. FilmBook saved every single email that they sent and received from Malinda Money. Those backed-up and stored communications allowed me to research, verify, and write this case study.

Four Case Study Takeaway

Do not give incentives first. Instead, reward hard work.

Don’t give a single incentive (perk) to an employee, especially a new or inconsistent employee, without them first earning those perks through steady and timely completed assignments. If they can’t fulfill the basic requirements of the job that they are in, you should not be giving them the perks inherent with said job. Use common sense i.e. Quid Pro Quo.

Fifth Case Study Takeaway

Set up Contact Times.

When you send a writer to a film festival or convention, setup contact times when you know he or she will be in front of their computer so that they can receive your emails, information, etc., and respond to them in real-time.

Sixth Case Study Takeaway

Test Social Media Logins.

Before you send an employee to a film festival or convention, and your desire is for them to post to your website’s social media channels, have them do a dry run. Make sure that they can log into and publish to your social media channels with no impediment.

Seventh Case Study Takeaway

Be nimble.

When a writer, contributor, or employee presents you with a problem, always be ready to pivot. When Malinda Money presented FilmBook with the video review issue during the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, they immediately had her pivot to writing written reviews.

Eighth Case Study Takeaway

Hire Ned Starks.

Make sure the person you are hiring is of good moral character (as best you can). Make sure they are the type of person that keeps their word. Not all employees can have the truthfulness and the unbreakable word of Lord Eddard “Ned” Stark. Nonetheless, as an employer, you should always be on the look out for those golden employees and be wary of direwolves in sheep’s clothing.

Previous segments of this case study:

Disclaimer: This case study is not meant to denigrate, defame, or to assassinate the character of any person or company. The words or statements that could be characterized as such (and not substantiated with facts and/or proof) have either been deleted or are behind stars (*****). This case study is for educational purposes and only represents facts.

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About the author

Rollo Tomasi

A cinephile who started ProMovieBlogger to educate others on what he had learned through trial and error. Cinema and TV addict. Former writer at Empire Movies, Blogcritics, and Alternative Film Guide. In addition to writing for FilmBook (, he also edits the copy published on the website, manages its writing staff, manages the back-end operations, site finances, its social network accounts, and works with publicists, actors, and companies on press coverage and promotions.

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