View Full Version : Script registration

01-13-2005, 02:18 PM
When do you do it?

By example, here's my situation. I've just finished a first draft, and I have two local working film people (a director and a producer) who want to read it. I also have some folks who are familiar with the subject of my screenplay who would like to look at it.

I would love to get the feedback and I would love to hand out copies to get some.

I suppose I should register the script before I do, so in a way I'm answering my own question, but frankly this is a first draft and it needs significant work before it hits the market.

If I want to hand this out, I should probably register the first draft I have, though, right?

Deus Ex Machine
01-13-2005, 03:27 PM
I wouldn't show my first draft to anyone. Wait until you have a draft that is as good as you can make it and then register it with the LOC and show it to people.

No worries if you don't register because you are still fully protected by law at the moment you write your script. Registering it only allows you to seek additional damages in court rather than being limited to actual damages if you don't register it within three months of sending it out for others to read.

01-14-2005, 09:18 AM
I'd want to show them the best possible script. A first draft is never this. Re-write it first, cut out the unneccessary scenes, then do it all over again.


01-16-2005, 07:27 PM
Register your script immediately online with the Guild and show it to as many people as possible. If a “director and a producer” and “folks who are familiar with the subject” want to read and comment on the script, knowing it’s just a draft, then by all means get as much feedback as you can.

What the laws are means diddlysquat if you can’t prove the script is yours. Just because you wrote it doesn’t mean you can prove it. That’s the point of registering it. Also, no one is going to steal your story – except, of course, us, if we like it. (Hey, that’s what writers do!).

Be sure, though, when you turn the script over, that you tell these people it’s a draft, and possibly ask them what kind of feedback you want – this makes it more helpful to friends who really are just trying to help. Do you want someone to comment on structure, style, spelling and grammar, plot sequence? Sometimes people like to know what it is you think you need, so they can concentrate on that.

Your instinct to register it first is a good one – more importantly, listen to your instincts first, then write a screenplay about them, then get feedback on the screenplay.

Johnny Stacatto
01-17-2005, 03:31 PM
yeah, i'll answer the question that was actually asked originally.

yes, i think you should register the script when you are finished with it unless you think you are going to make so many changes in rewrites that the script will be fundamentally different from what it is now.

and if you ever actually ask if you should show a first draft to people, i'll answer that question then.

01-17-2005, 11:47 PM
Well, I did two things:

1) Registered the current script, but at the WGA instead of the LoC, since the WGA is less expensive.

2) Showed the first draft to friends and parties interested in the story, but not to anyone with industry contacts.

I'm forcing myself not to look at it for a week, and it's amazing how many good modifications are popping into my head. When I sit to draft it again, it will be much, much better, regardless of any notes I get from current readers.

02-08-2005, 02:23 PM
Here is what I did in the same situation:

1. First draft was read by my friends (novelists, not screenwriter) it was very helpful - no registration.
2. Second draft was read by my friend (documentaries director from BBC) another happy result - no registration.
3. Third draft I have registered with the WGAE and then it was read by two executives at the production company.

All three drafts were path the way to the fourth draft (which is current now), no embarrassments - great result!