View Full Version : What Kind of Forms?

11-04-2004, 12:08 AM
Not sure where I could post this, but I figure this might be the section.

I'm writing a screenplay with two other people. I know there needs to be release forms signed between us as writers.

Question is.. I'll be planning to Direct this film in the future, and start planning the pre-production once we are done writing. Now is there a release form between a writer and a director, even though I'm writing it too. I'll be planning, preparing the budget, asking for grants, etc doing all that. Basically wanting control, and not later having troubles with the other 2 writers saying let me do this, No it has to be like this.

I was told, Register the script with all the writers attached. Then you as Company XYZ option or purchase the script for $1. You will then have a nice paper trail and will own the rights.

But If I do the $1 dollar buying from the writer's
does that mean they don't get any money from the project. The thing is if this project gets distributed and if we got some money for it, I want them to get paid also. Plus why would I be buying the script from myself?

And if I find a producer for the film, how does that gurantee me as the director?

I'm confused about this.

Don't know how to go about it. I mean the script is registered under myself, and 2 other people, same with the copywrite, its all under our names.

How Can I can make sure that I direct it?

Are there release forms out there for this?

11-04-2004, 04:57 AM
What you need is a contract.

What you appear to be trying to do is sell your screenplay, (the product of three co-writers), and attaching yourself as the director. Unless you have some directing experience, that might be very difficult to sell to a producer, (who might have his own thoughts about changes to the screenplay and using a more experienced director).

If you can raise some financing, yourselves, (grants, etc.), why not form your own production company, assign shares or percentages of any profits, (if you haven't already done that in a collaboration agreement), and seek a co-producer or investors. What you need is a lawyer, (if you don't know how), 'cause there aren't any release forms for what you're looking for.

11-04-2004, 03:36 PM
Well yes I am getting some financing, and applying for grants, just want to direct the project and have full control of directing, I guess that entitles me as the producer also right?

But I might need more money for example therefore I would need more producers.

So I should start a production company?
Do I need a lot of money for this?
Or just basically registration of the businness name.

And get a lawyer right away?
Entertainment lawyers are they called?

I wonder if there is such a thing in my city.

You said assign shares or percentages of any profit...

What about if a distribution company picks it up?

11-04-2004, 06:31 PM
So I should start a production company?
Do I need a lot of money for this?
Or just basically registrating the businness name.

Yes, but primarily for liability reasons. Lots can go wrong on a movie set and you don't want to be personally liable. It's not expensive in most states. You can do it yourself, if you're careful. Check out the business section of your local bookstore. There's lots of how-to-guides.

And get a lawyer right away?
Entertainment lawyers are they called?

Not a bad idea, if you're getting investors. If you're smooth, you can get a lawyer to donate his/her services for a screen credit (think "Executive Producer".) Barring that, try to get him/her to consider it an in-kind investment. Barring that, you'll have to pay cash.

What about if a distribution company picks it up?

You're giving shares of "producer's net profit." That's the money you get from the distributor minus your costs. Say you get a million and you spent 100k, you split the 900k as dictated in the contracts.

Don't worry about how to divivde 'back-end points' from the distributor. It'll never happen.

Check out the fine book, Contracts for the Film & Television Industry by Mark Litwak. It's got a lot of the contracts you need in it. You can find it in most Barnes & Nobles, or online.