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streaker12345
10-12-2009, 01:58 PM
I have a company reading a script and they seem very interested. I had a phone conversation and the person told me he loves the idea but not script. He wants to have his writers rewrite the script. He said we'll get story credit. If optioned or sold what type of payment should I be expecting from this? Thanks.

beejay
10-12-2009, 04:39 PM
how reputable is the company?

did you go over what changes they will make, and why they think your script is not up to par?

what are there plans with it -- first-look deal, star attachment, etc.

the fact that they are giving you this option bodes well for their credibility, but the odds are still long
that it will sell given the current stats of scripts that are going wide.

Alliebro
10-12-2009, 06:47 PM
I'm a newbie and ask what value to a screenwriters career would a *story by* credit be? The OP says they liked his story but not his script. Would others, producers, say, find his credit there of value or, possibly, signify he doesn't have what it takes as a screenwriter. Good story teller, though. Anybody can be a story teller. It takes much more to be a screenwriter.

He got some interest in his script. That's a good thing. Might it not be more advantagious to take another look at the script, another polishing, and maybe submitting it elsewhere? Rather than settling for a much lesser credit?

Alliebro
10-12-2009, 07:09 PM
To add to my reply above. I am aware that a script may be sold and further extensive revision by other writers results in that minor credit is allotted to the original writer due to such revision. But, at least it was a script sold, not merely a story sold.

If the OP gets his script sold, even knowing he will only get *story by* credit, then I'd assume it will be a full credit for him and a requirement to join the WGA union soon after.

Hopefully, he gets WGA min payment, at least, for his script, up front.

streaker12345
10-12-2009, 07:12 PM
At the moment we're waiting on this persons readers coverage. He didn't say the writing was bad, he said he would go in a different direction. After reading the coverage we'll decide if we can come up with what he's looking for, it's our choce. If not, we then would take "story by". I'm wondering what % we would get if script is sold. I would rather take "screenplay by" but at this point something is better then nothing.

jimjimgrande
10-12-2009, 09:04 PM
You can negotiate any price or percentage that you want.

Just know that if the movie gets made, it's up to the WGA, not the producers, to determine what the credit will be.

The producers cannot guarantee you a screenplay by or story by credit.

They can put whatever they want on the cover when they shop the script, but if the movie gets made, the credit will be determined by the Writers Guild

jcgary
10-12-2009, 11:15 PM
I don't like this deal -- it sounds suspect and my antennae perk up.

First, he should give you a shot at rewriting it according to his notes, if you're inclined. It'll probably be for no money. That's to be expected if you're a first time writer.

If he doesn't want to let you try to rewrite it, then he should be willing to plunk down some cash. But an option where the producer can rework the material? It doesn't make sense -- if he doesn't own the underlying material, why would he pay a writer to do a page-one rewrite? And if he isn't paying writer2, why would writer2 rewrite someone else's material for free? This one doesn't pass the smell test. And if the producer is hoping that coverage is going to somehow show him the way, then he's doubly suspicious.

As for whether or not a story credit matters, yeah, it matters as long as the movie gets made. But you're putting the cart before the horse here. If you had someone else on the hook interested in you as writers, then we wouldn't be having this conversation. If this is the only party interested in the script, then work on getting as much out of this person as you can and move on. Whether or not you end up with a story credit is so far out of your control, you should ignore it. A caveat: if this is a non-guild production, you should be able to get your lawyer to get you a deal guaranteeing you credit. Non-guild productions don't adhere to guild rules. The producer dictates credits.

Look -- if it's for some good money, then sure, take it and go work on the next project and forget about this one. Screenwriting is about the aggregate, not project to project. When screenwriters get screwed is when we fixate on one piece of material and forget about moving to the next one. But I fold my arms in this producer's general direction. From what you've said here, I don't believe him.

lucidimage
10-13-2009, 08:59 AM
I don't like this deal -- it sounds suspect and my antennae perk up.

First, he should give you a shot at rewriting it according to his notes, if you're inclined. It'll probably be for no money. That's to be expected if you're a first time writer.

If he doesn't want to let you try to rewrite it, then he should be willing to plunk down some cash.

Actually the stated situation is that the Producer is offering the original writers the chance to rewrite based on their co's coverage or to let their writers move forward with it in a different direction. It's up to the original writers.

Alliebro
10-13-2009, 11:02 AM
You can negotiate any price or percentage that you want.

Just know that if the movie gets made, it's up to the WGA, not the producers, to determine what the credit will be.

The producers cannot guarantee you a screenplay by or story by credit.

They can put whatever they want on the cover when they shop the script, but if the movie gets made, the credit will be determined by the Writers Guild


If it's a non-WGA deal from the start, would the WGA have any say in the details of their agreement? I was under the impression they would not. It was my belief WGA rules would only come into play afterward, such as starting with his second deal. Is that correct?

jimjimgrande
10-13-2009, 11:14 AM
If it's a non-WGA deal from the start, would the WGA have any say in the details of their agreement? I was under the impression they would not. It was my belief WGA rules would only come into play afterward, such as starting with his second deal. Is that correct?

I was assuming the producers would try to sell the rewritten script to a studio or some other signatory. Final credits would not be determined until the picture was complete and any agreements the producers made to assign writing or story by credits would not be legally valid.

But, if their plan is to raise the money and produce it themselves, then yes, they can assign credits however they want.

Alliebro
10-13-2009, 07:20 PM
At the moment we're waiting on this persons readers coverage. He didn't say the writing was bad, he said he would go in a different direction. After reading the coverage we'll decide if we can come up with what he's looking for, it's our choce. If not, we then would take "story by". I'm wondering what % we would get if script is sold. I would rather take "screenplay by" but at this point something is better then nothing.


Well, isn't it true that for them giving you "story by" credit they will have to first buy the script from you? If that comes to be the case then at least you will have sold the script and have that feather in your cap thereafter even if you end up with just a "story by" credit in the produced film.

But, as you say, after the readers coverage, you have the choice to do the rewrite or not. If you decide not to do so, what other choices are you are left with? Ideally, they will buy the script from you. But, what if they don't want to? They will try as hell to get off as cheaply as possible. That is a given in this business. They may offer just to buy the idea, the story. And, if you go along with that, and in line with your, "But, at this point, something is better than nothing," comment, it comes across to me as a defeatist attitude. I hope you don't settle for that. In such a case you will have done nothing to advance your career, with just a pittance of a few hundred dollars to show for all the toil you expended with that script.

I'd sure like to see you stick to your guns and either require them to buy the script, accept the rewrite option, or decide against that option and go elsewhere. And retain your honor and dignity.

With all due respect. Best wishes to you.