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View Full Version : Redeveloping with a producer...


gravitas
10-30-2010, 08:59 PM
Answered and thankful :)

prescribe22
10-30-2010, 09:22 PM
Nobody here can answer this for you. It's your call.

My suggestion is to go with what scares you the most. Typically those are the best learning experiences.

:)

Ulysses
10-31-2010, 03:36 AM
So you are saying these producers have no money, and you don't like their notes.

Did I miss the point of this exercise, or is there nothing to miss?

Why don't you just write another script?

I have re-re-redeveloped my own work and found that if you stay too long with a project you get numb to what you liked about it in the first place. You throw things out, not because they are bad, but because they were in the script for such a long time.

But, you know, never take a stranger's advice on the internet.

Make your own decision. This way, it's easier to blame the culprit: you know what he looks like.

tucsonray
10-31-2010, 03:43 AM
I'm going through the same thing right now.

I had a comedy script go wide. It died. Then connected on my own with a producer who loved it. Or more accurately, he 'mostly' loved it... 'needed a few fixes', he said. In my case though, the producer also has a close friend who is A-list talent and is giving me direction to re-write my script for this actor. I like the idea of the attachment and while I agree with some ideas from the producer I don't agree with others.

At least as for me, I'm re-writing it per the producer, although I did have a conversation or two trying to get him to come around to my point of view... but it didn't work.

I'm doing it because I know there are people who know way more than me about this business, and he's likely one of them. Plus, he knows his friend and what his friend's looking for.

Hell, I'll writing anything, any time; I'll do whatever it takes to make myself better, to learn from someone who may know more, who thinks differently.

I love my stories when I write them but don't feel I know the only way to tell the story. The producer's suggestions were not off the wall, and while they're not how I'd write it, the way I wrote it died on the vine so I'm open to suggestions so long as they are remotely close to my original premise/characters.

Not sure if this helps, but at least it's a take from someone close to being in your shoes.

catcon
10-31-2010, 06:51 AM
As usual, lots of sage advice here.

Hopefully, what I'm going to say isn't the first "batty" response.

But for me, it's "show me the money!"

If you can afford to do the job for nothing, or if there's something in a contract that forces you to continue to a later stage, or think you'll get contacts or a good experience out of it, proceed. But that's what the others, optimistically-speaking, have already said.

As for something being a good "learning" experience, I don't know why it always has to be painful to be most valuable -- or expensive, because time is an expense.

Even in my very early stage of writing, I've been fortunate enough to have an offer for work (an "assignment"), but the original source material was so "indescribable", I didn't even start it before we (mostly) amicably agreed to part ways. It seemed more that I was hired to simply translate a synopsis into a screenplay, but it didn't seem apparent I'd be able to offer much creative input. It would have been nice to make some moolah (which was fully outlined in the contract) this early in my career, but I would have felt, as was stated, suffocated.

Since I have no trouble churning out specs, learning with every page I write, this wasn't the way for me to go. I think in the early stages of our career we have to have fun. The slogging part will come soon enough, if we're "lucky".

We're already such an unempowered lot, I don't see why we should do stuff for free, especially, if it's unpleasant. All for the lust quest of seeing our names in little white letters on a screen somewhere?

But my thoughts are probably more relevant to those just beginning to claw their way in. Since you're an experienced writer, things are probably different. Good luck.

Matias
10-31-2010, 10:04 AM
Wait. You have reps, right? What did they say about this?

Bellabell
10-31-2010, 10:50 AM
IMO it's an issue of trust. If you trust this person fully as a producer and their ability to package and sell something than maybe you should trust their opinion on story development. Use this opportunity while the project is still in infancy stage to see if it truly a partnership or if they demand their way on everything. Also, always define the scope of work upfront, timeline and create an exit clause, even if there is no money being exchanged.

If there's no trust or you question their ability than don't waste your time.

Grandmaster
10-31-2010, 01:16 PM
Hmm, a tough call, dude.
From my understanding of Hollweird, a producer buys a script he/she loves and then hires another writer to come in and change it to how the producer sees the end product.

So what's the difference between you changing it or a hired gun?
We don't kill our babies and that's as much a reason for bringing in someone else as having a "name" put in a draft.

If this producer has credits, has money, has a name and can attach talent, I'd say he likes your sh*t and wants to see if the two of you can make something lasting... starting right now.

Nobody can tell you what to do, and where money makes the world go round (yeah, yeah, I used to think it was gravity too), what do you have to lose?
Time.
Time and this screenplay being filed away by everyone including you... whether you rewrite it now or not.

I'd say Go for it! But then, I'd also stress that the day job will slow down the re-working process considerably (cough, cough).

Geoff Alexander
11-03-2010, 11:23 AM
I do have reps and this producer does make movies, have access to talent. The reps think this is a great opportunity to build a working relationship. And I don't disagree. I think I've found a way to creatively incorporate the notes, and I agree with tusconray. I'm open to suggestions if they service the story. I think last night I was going through one of those apocalyptic brain farts where anything and everything I tried sucks. I'm going to try to make this work, and if it doesn't, then I tried. What makes it all so difficult is that people say to follow your gut, but the more people get their hands involved, and I mean agents, managers, producers, executives, all with input, it becomes difficult to discern WHEN to follow your gut. Right now I'm going to try and make this challenge fun for myself, if possible. Approach it like that. Anyway thank you all for the input.

If you can square their notes with your script and make it work, then do it. If you can't, and you think the notes are way off and will not work, then don't.

jcgary
11-03-2010, 12:21 PM
Do it. Consider it practice at performing a notes rewrite you might not necessarily agree with. Relationships are important and they're the biggest determining factor of whether or not you work again. If you think the notes make the script worse, your job is to incorporate as much of the notes as you can while still retaining the key ingredients of the script. Sometimes you'll do the rewrite and it's not so great and then you can show the producer, "See?" and then you pull it back a little bit. It's a process, and an important one to learn. Taking producers' notes and learning how to balance twenty different opinions is a key ingredient in building a successful career.

Writing another spec will teach you more about how to write another spec. Working with a producer will teach you more about how to be a working writer.

TurboBard
11-04-2010, 08:01 PM
I would not do it. They will not respect you if you write for free. My rule is if a producer wants changes, he should option or buy the script. EVERYONE has an idea to improve your script. Your dentist will tell you how to make your story better. Also, if you spend a lot of time with them making changes, the ownership can get muddy unless there is a contract that states you will own everything. Just the threat of a lawsuit can make your script smell bad.

TurboBard
11-04-2010, 08:22 PM
Of course, you are already in the situation now. I would simply set a time limit. "I would love to keep working with you, but I am excited about my new spec script. I'm sure you understand."

jcgary
11-04-2010, 11:34 PM
Also, if you spend a lot of time with them making changes, the ownership can get muddy unless there is a contract that states you will own everything.
In practice, this is not true. It's certainly a good idea to paper the agreement regarding an attachment, but it is impossible for a producer to make a claim on a script if they haven't paid for it in some form or another, no matter how much time and effort and however many great ideas they give you.

tucsonray
11-05-2010, 08:45 AM
Do it. Consider it practice at performing a notes rewrite you might not necessarily agree with. Relationships are important and they're the biggest determining factor of whether or not you work again. If you think the notes make the script worse, your job is to incorporate as much of the notes as you can while still retaining the key ingredients of the script. Sometimes you'll do the rewrite and it's not so great and then you can show the producer, "See?" and then you pull it back a little bit. It's a process, and an important one to learn. Taking producers' notes and learning how to balance twenty different opinions is a key ingredient in building a successful career.

Writing another spec will teach you more about how to write another spec. Working with a producer will teach you more about how to be a working writer.

I agree with JC. I did this and it has been a great opportunity for all the reasons JC describes. Led to more contacts and now I understand where a producer is coming from. I am hoping to self-produce some day, and this has been a great opportunity to learn that end of the business too. The thought process... As I see it, the producer is putting time in for free getting me notes and reading/reviewing so it's not a total one way street.

Also, for notes I didn't agree with, I went back to the producer and said you may not want to do it this way, let me explain... I did, he didn't change his mind, so I'm writing an alternative ending to give him (just a few pages) in case the investors want a different ending. But that's me, I like writing and learning about where a producer might be coming from.

But I don't give advice. I simply tell what I do or would do, reasonable people can differ, so gather up all the info you can, as you're doing, and figure out what's right for you.