Season 3, Episode 6 - How to retell what you saw on Netflix

Apr 12 / Charlie Baxter

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What's this episode about?

In this episode Charlie decides to tackle an everyday communication skill which is retelling what you saw on TV.  After he saw a gripping documentary Charlie thought he'd example an attempt at doing exactly that. So get ready to experience a rollercoaster of emotions as he informs you of a true story that is being aired on Netflix right now. Not only will you be exposed to some wonderfully native expressions in a fascinating tale but you'll also be able to see how he goes about retelling it which will give you a better understanding of how to do so in English the next time you get asked... "Seen anything good recently?".

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Transcript of S3/E6 Pt. 1 - Transcript

Charlie:
Well, hello there. Thank you for tuning in to today's episode. And I wanted to explain that this one is going to be very different for me indeed, because I've just watched a documentary on Netflix and it's coming up to half past eleven in the evening. Normally I would go to bed, but this documentary was incredibly shocking. It was it was so packed full of drama, twists and just intrigue that it grabbed me by the bollards. It really, really caught my attention. And then after that, I thought, God, I can't wait to tell Stacey this or I can't wait to tell somebody about this. Which led me to realise that telling people about a TV show or a movie is a very day to day activity, I believe. And then I thought, okay, why don't I try to tell you it in the best way that I can, off the cuff right now as it's fresh in my mind and then, and basically giving you a guide on how to improve your storytelling when it comes to reporting a movie or a TV show or documentary or whatever you like. And I will admit that this is very much on my mind at the moment because I am preparing some master classes in storytelling. I don't feel completely adequate yet to host these masterclasses, so I'm training myself up in it. And one of the activities that I was suggested to do was do something similar to this. So let me take this opportunity to tell you about this documentary Off the cuff.

Charlie:
All right. So I sat down to watch something on Netflix. I was pretty tired. And I just wanted to, you know, wind down for the day because I'd been staring at the screen at my computer for way too long, like probably about like 12 hours a day, an unhealthy amount. So, you know, I naturally go from one screen to the bigger screen and I put on Netflix and the first thing that comes up is the Tinder swindler. Now, if you've already seen this, then it might actually be interesting for you to hear how I talk about it. If you haven't seen it, then I will be giving you massive spoilers, but hopefully you can forgive me for educational purposes. Alright, so the Tinder Swindler. I put it on. And the preview immediately informs me that there's going to be a kind of catfish situation where a guy or a girl tricks somebody for mistaking them as somebody who they're not online, you know, via Tinder or whatever. You meet them online, you tell them who you are, you know, a fake person, and then you fall in love gradually. You build their trust and then you meet up and they are not who they thought you were at all. So I thought I was in for a catfishing story, but oh, no. Was I wrong! So the documentary follows 2 to 3 girls. They're the main characters in this documentary, and they're reporting a real life situation of them going on Tinder and matching with this one guy who goes by the name of Simon Leviev.

Charlie:
This guy has some very interesting photos of him travelling the world, looking very, very wealthy and, you know, having an exciting life, partying in one country, jet-setting off to another one and wearing the most ridiculously high end clothing money can buy you. So they match. And then he immediately messages the one girl that we're focussing on for now saying, I'm leaving the country tomorrow. Would you like to meet up for a coffee first thing tomorrow morning? As the viewer, I think. What's this lady going to say? She seems very keen for this. She's obviously taken by the photos. So they go for coffee and they meet up in a hotel, a very expensive hotel, I might add. A five star hotel in the middle of London. They meet up, actually, I should add. She goes to the lobby, she texts him that she's arrived and then she sees the lift come down, ping. And here he is, her knight in shining armour. So they get on very well in that first hour. Then he says, I would love to take you to wherever he's jetting off to and my chauffeur can take you back to your apartment, pick up a suitcase, get your passport, and you can come on the flight in the next couple of hours to my next destination. Prior to this, she googles him and it seems that he is the son or the prince of a diamond business.

Charlie:
The father is the head of the diamond business. And yeah, so he's the son of an incredibly wealthy man. So then she's like, okay, he's got loads of money. He's really fun. We got on great. We seem to have great chemistry. He's just offering me a fun trip. Why not? As she said in the text, YOLO, which is an acronym for you only live once Y O L O, that would be the initialism and then the acronym YOLO. Her friends think she's crazy, but she gets on the plane and on the plane she not only meets his bodyguard, but also a woman who has a two year old son that is apparently his own child. So the plot thickens, doesn't it? But this is literally the tip of the iceberg. I'm almost exhausted thinking about how far we've got to go. Right. Let me skip forward a bit, because, you know, you as a friend at the pub, you're probably going to be starting to look at your phone right now. You're getting bored. Come on, Charlie. What? What's this documentary all about? Get to the point. All right, so they fall in love. He splashes the cash on her. He shows her a great time. Over the next month or so, they build on their relationship, even though he's not in the country very often. But when he does fly in, he makes sure to show her a good time and then he asks her to move in with him.

Charlie:
She goes and looks for flats with a budget of £15,000 a month for rental, according to his budget, according to his budget. And then in the middle of the night, he sends messages to her showing that his bodyguard has been attacked, violently attacked blood everywhere on all of his expensive clothes, his Gucci t shirt, absolutely ruined. His bodyguard's head is absolutely battered. And he's saying that the people that are after him are criminals and that they are tracking his every payment with his credit card. Long story short, he then asks her if she could create a credit card for him in her name that he could use. And this goes on for a while. And then he manipulates her in many ways, you know, booking a flight here, accommodation there, various other things. And he promises that he's going to pay her back once the criminals that are after him calm down and he's allowed to use his bank again. A couple of weeks, maybe even months later, he finally meets up with her again and he gives her a huge cheque, you know, like double or triple the amount that she was concerned about,that she had lent him over that period of time. So she thinks, oh, my God, wow. Yeah, he's come through okay. She banks the cheque and then, you know, naturally checks on it every day. The status of her bank balance, still nothing is coming in. Four days later, she rings the bank to ask about the cheque of $250,000.

Charlie:
And they say, I'm sorry to tell you, but we are not going to be banking this cheque. So she's royally fucked because she's got nine credit cards to her name with about ten, fifteen grand in each one, and has no way of paying them back. And this guy has given her a faulty cheque. She rings him. They're still apparently in a relationship, but he turns sour very quickly and he tells her that, you know, I've done you a favour. You know, I've I've given you more than enough. If your bank isn't taking my cheque, that's that's not my problem. So then I think. Right. Well, there's the documentary. That's it. Over and done with. Oh, no, no, no, no. In comes date number two. Now date number two isn't actually taken by him. She finds him charming and funny, but he doesn't have everything that she wants. So she rejects his move on her on the first date. But they remain friends. They seem to have a lively connection that she doesn't want to miss out on, so they keep in contact over the coming months, maybe even a year. I'm not sure how long this period of time was, but again, similar situation. They party together, crazy nights out. He's got like a whole harem of women at this at this nightclub where you have to pay £2,000 just to reserve a table. And he's paying all these women to be around him. Champagne all around, no problem. And he's got, like, Lamborghinis, Ferraris, private jets, watches that are worth £100,000.

Charlie:
So he's clearly so wealthy. She's just, like bowled over by this. And then in the middle of the night, she gets a text from him. A couple of images come through the exact same images that the previous date received as well. His bodyguards head bludgeoned, his Gucci t shirt, loads of blood on it, and then a few texts explaining that the criminals that are after him have tracked his every move with his credit card and he cannot use his bank account at all. And then he goes a step further and says his life is in danger. He needs to leave the city, but he has no money. Please, can you lend me 30,000 and I will repay you within a couple of weeks. So yeah, same thing happens again right? Now, if I remember correctly, the first person comes back into the story and she actually gets in touch with the newspaper. She wants to tell her story. And the newspaper pick it up in Sweden, and then they find an article from some Finnish journalists saying that this person with a different name had swindled three Finnish ladies out of a huge amount of money. And they do some digging and they realise that it is the same person. So he's been doing this trick on Tinder, befriending them or even sleeping with them and gaining their trust and love and then exploiting them for as much money as he can possibly get out of them.

Charlie:
And it turns out he's been doing this over and over and over again, and this is what they call a Ponzi scheme. Now, I'm just going to go on to Wikipedia to define a Ponzi scheme. Okay. So Ponzi schemes are investment scams that pay existing investors with funds collected from new investors. There is no real investment. So Ponzi scheme promoters use money deposited by early investors to pay the first bit. Investors feel comfortable and decide to invest more. Investors often encourage their family and friends to join. Eventually, all Ponzi schemes fall apart. They collapse when the promoter spends the money too quickly or the pool of investors dries up. So he's getting money from one person and then getting more money from another person and then paying that first person a little bit of money to then build their trust, I guess. I mean, he doesn't have to pay the money. Anyway, it's recruiting more and more members to add to the pile of wealth that he can do what he wants with. Right. So he's got two in there. The Swedish journalists are on his case and they try to track him down with one of the girls. They go to Munich and they manage to get photos of him. They get back to the police. And the police say that they have indeed been trying to track him down, but believed that he was a small timer and wasn't worth the hassle or or he wasn't able to be tracked with the small funding that they had for this one criminal.

Charlie:
They then connect him to his place of birth. So they go to Tel Aviv in Israel and they track down one of his legitimate addresses. The P.I., the private investigator or journalist I guess, goes with them and they record them investigating a very, very different neck of the woods. And they go out to this address, which is in an incredibly traditional Jewish neighbourhood that has very few Ferraris parked on the street. And they go up the block of flats and they find some letters on his door requesting to pay the money back that he owes for another thing. They're about to leave, and then an old lady goes up the stairs and it turns out to be his mother. She says she has nothing to do with him. He left home when he was 18. And she, you know, has very clearly parted ways with him and thinks that he's no good. He's a he's a bad egg. And, yeah, she doesn't want anything to do with him and for good reason, because they go back to the local police department and once they find a photo of him, they cross-reference with a previous identity that he had and he has a history of doing very similar things. I think they said that his first fraudulent activity happened when he was just 18 years old. So he's been on the run ever since, basically because they still want him. But he changed his identity and he fled the country.

Charlie:
With this information. The journalists go back home and come up with a plan and they look through his history. And with the information that they now have, they can see some previous women that he's been in contact with through financial evidence, and they find the second woman that is being interviewed in this programme and she's, you know, told her horror story. And they get in contact with her through Facebook saying, I'm a journalist, I'm doing this paper on Simon Leviev. Would you be able to talk about your situation? At that moment, she had received the same photos that the previous girl had got about Simon and his bodyguard getting attacked and needing a credit card in her name to help him escape the, quote, unquote, criminals that were after him. So her stomach drops and she goes into panic mode immediately and she messages Simon saying, who is this journalist? Why is he telling me this thing? Surely it's not true. Apparently, Simon rings back and says they're trying to collect evidence on me. It's not real. They're the baddies. Don't trust them at all. But she meets up with the journalist and they conclude together that if he's not only pursuing financial benefit from romantic relationships, but also just literally platonic friendships, then he might have broadened his net even wider and been able to con just an insane amount of people. And this girl, she does comment on how lavish his lifestyle is and in comparison to how much money she gave him, she thinks he must have been doing this, you know, hundreds of times to be able to get the amount of wealth that he has accumulated based on what she saw of, you know, the fancy cars and and drinks and restaurants and places that she would go to with him.

Charlie:
And the reason that he's not getting caught with this is because his name is never attached to any of this, because he's managing to trick people into opening up a credit card for him under their name. So he's basically a ghost. And really, it's ugly to say it, but it's like the perfect scam because there's no evidence, there's no way of him being caught unless they take it upon themselves to do something about this con artist and put a stop to him once and for all. And we will get into whether they manage to do exactly that in part two. And then a further twist occurs, which we will cover in part three of this episode. We will be leaving part one there for today. But don't worry, we have part two and three round the corner for you to enjoy. But first make sure you utilise all of the learning resources available to you for this part. And then when ready, I'll see you in part two to continue the conversation. Thanks again for supporting me. This is my full time job. So here's to many more episodes of the British English podcast to help you improve your English.

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Podcast host: Charlie:
This will be quite a bit harder for you to understand, as there are a number of accents in the conversation, some poorly delivered at times, as you will notice.

Podcast host: Charlie:
But the aim is to give you a variety of dialects in one conversation and some dialogue to give you native expressions in context. So enter, if you will, to Charlie's pub and his imaginary world.

Character: Mike:
Alright geezer, how's it going?

Character: Chris:
Yes, I'm well thanks. How about you? Have you had a good day?

Character: Mike:
Can't say good mate. No my old man he's been giving me a right old earful for what happened on site last week.

Character: Chris:
Oh that's a pity. Are you back on your dad's building project again?

Character: Mike:
Sad to say mate, but yeah, I am. Couldn't resist this one though. Cash in hand, you know.

Character: Chris:
Oh fair play, hard to resist those I imagine. Oh, here she is.

Character: Emily:
Oh, hi.

Character: Chris:
I was wondering if you're ever going to join us tonight.

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