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heavenlysurfer
10-28-2010, 09:04 PM
I'm currently reading a non-fiction Novel and just think it would make a great screenplay..should I go ahead and write it..contact the author first or publisher...not sure if author still alive..came out in 1995 and he was in his 60's then..or does a studio that buys the script (if one does) take care of all the rights stuff? Thanks for any replies..

nic.h
10-28-2010, 09:11 PM
Contact the publisher first, then they'll direct you on rights. (They'd more than likely still be with the publisher or the author.)

Also, is it non-fiction, or a novel? It can't be both. :)

Writr
10-28-2010, 09:13 PM
I'm currently reading a non-fiction Novel and just think it would make a great screenplay..should I go ahead and write it..contact the author first or publisher...not sure if author still alive..came out in 1995 and he was in his 60's then..or does a studio that buys the script (if one does) take care of all the rights stuff? Thanks for any replies..

I'm sure the copyright still exists since it's only from the 90's. Which you mean you would have to option the rights from the publisher. The only novels you don't have to option are those in the public domain which the copyrights have expired, one example of a public domain story is Alice in Wonderland, I believe.

heavenlysurfer
10-29-2010, 08:55 AM
Yes, it's non-fict..thanks for the replies..I'll follow up with publisher..

Geoff Alexander
10-29-2010, 10:07 AM
I'm currently reading a non-fiction Novel and just think it would make a great screenplay..should I go ahead and write it..contact the author first or publisher...not sure if author still alive..came out in 1995 and he was in his 60's then..or does a studio that buys the script (if one does) take care of all the rights stuff? Thanks for any replies..

I would try to go around the publisher and go directly to the author so you can pith your vision and passion for the book right to them.

heavenlysurfer
10-29-2010, 11:02 AM
Perhaps you are right SBS..I will see if he is still living first..

Ravenlocks
10-29-2010, 10:32 PM
I would try to go around the publisher and go directly to the author so you can pith your vision and passion for the book right to them.
And chances are the author will say, "Talk to my agent." :D

wcmartell
10-29-2010, 10:51 PM
I will see if he is still living first..

I suddenly feel as I should be writing up my will.

- Bill

DavidK
10-30-2010, 01:01 AM
And chances are the author will say, "Talk to my agent."

Very unlikely if it's non-fiction. Contacting the author first is definitely the way to go in this instance. Even though he's now in his 70s there's a good chance he's still living. Second option is to contact the publisher.

If it's an academic work you'll also need to see it was a commissioned work in which case the author might not own the rights.

Alliebro
10-30-2010, 10:48 PM
A copyright is property so if the author is dead his heirs need to be dealt with.

Also, if other personalities are mentioned in the book and you wish to include them and their actions in your script, you will have to deal them in too. Even if you try to skirt this issue by using fictitious names you may head in to legal trouble if one of them declares "that's me he wrote about, without my permission!". Legal challenges are very expensive to deal with.

I would never write the script first and then hope to get an okay. You may not get it if they think a better known writer will serve them better,
or for any other reason. But, you will have gained the writing experience, if that will satisfy you.

In any case, a production company will never put up money for a movie
without all the rights lined up and in order. The insurance company underwriting the production will insist on it.

catcon
10-31-2010, 06:59 AM
Even if you try to skirt this issue by using fictitious names you may head in to legal trouble if one of them declares "that's me he wrote about, without my permission!". Legal challenges are very expensive to deal with...

Hmmm.. I've known this for a long time, but in my "fictional treatment of a historical wartime disaster" I did manage to kill off a little boy and girl who were friends to my fictional protagonist.

I suppose I should find a record of the dead/wounded to see if there was really a little boy or girl who died, just to make sure...

Thanks

heavenlysurfer
11-01-2010, 10:21 AM
Now for the hard part..trying to find contact info on the author..

KatPau
11-03-2010, 05:41 PM
You might try the Authors Guild--there's a list of members and many have websites through the Guild--and Poets and Writers.

KatPau
11-03-2010, 05:56 PM
Also PEN American Center--look at member profiles.

heavenlysurfer
11-05-2010, 11:15 AM
Found his address..now for a letter of introduction...

NikeeGoddess
11-05-2010, 11:24 AM
you should call the publisher first. they will tell you what you need to know. it's their job to have and know this information anyway. they probably have a website.

DavidK
11-05-2010, 05:24 PM
you should call the publisher first. they will tell you what you need to know. it's their job to have and know this information anyway. they probably have a website.

Yeah, well... good luck getting any timely information from a publisher. It's often much more efficient to contact the author and mostly the author responds in one of three ways. They'll refer you to their agent, or they'll explain someone else owns the film rights, or they'll be flattered by the interest and want to follow up. Rarely, they might have no interest but I've never heard of that scenario. The publisher usually doesn't own the film rights so is of limited help anyway, except to forward the enquiry to the author.

KatPau
11-18-2010, 04:46 PM
Agree with DavidK. Publishers are notoriously slow.