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streaker12345
02-04-2013, 12:13 AM
I've been writing for awhile and know how hard it is to get reads by respected people and even harder to gain reputation. I wrote a script a few years back and brought on a second writer who I met on this site and we rewrote the script and it came out pretty good. I got it into a producers hands who has two franchises under his belt and within 24 hours he got back to me saying "he loved the script". We had conference calls with these people and he even gave us one of his producers to work with us. We got offered an option with no money up front but that wasn't a problem considering these guys track records. My writing partner was reluctant to sign and it took over a month to sign. When he finally did we got rolling and really banged out some great notes with this producer. After agreing what to add or subtract from the script we were ready to start the rewrite but my partner needed some time so we gave it to him. Long story short I haven't hard back from him in over three months. I've called, sent emails but nothing. I kept the producer waiting but he still contacted me showing as much interets as he did when we firts started talking. I finished the script myself and will be sending to producer in next few days but I still can't get over my partner's attitude. I don't get it? People would kill for this oppurtunity and he blew it off like it was nothing.

goldmund
02-04-2013, 02:26 AM
Maybe the guy doesn't love working his socks off for free.

Australis
02-04-2013, 03:00 AM
Hmm, if it was me, I'd proceed alone, no matter how good the other guy is. Maybe he'll turn up again. The other option is to go to where he lives and say, "What the hell, man?!"

LIMAMA
02-04-2013, 07:22 AM
Doesn't take Stevie Wonder to see what's going on here. Barring some explanation (like this co-writer has been in a body cast or coma or on the moon for three months with no way to contact you or have someone else contact you) he expects you to do the heavy lifting, but if this actually goes into production and there's money to be made, he will awaken with a vengeance.

spinningdoc
02-04-2013, 10:43 AM
Email, text and write to him by recorded delivery to tell him if you don't hear from him in the next seven days you'll assume he has no further interest in the project and you're going to sign a deal with the producer with you as sole writer.

He'll either re-appear, in which case you can have a frank and invigorating exchange of views, or he won't, in which case the work and money are all yours.

LIMAMA
02-04-2013, 10:49 AM
Email, text and write to him by recorded delivery to tell him if you don't hear from him in the next seven days you'll assume he has no further interest in the project and you're going to sign a deal with the producer with you as sole writer.

He'll either re-appear, in which case you can have a frank and invigorating exchange of views, or he won't, in which case the work and money are all yours.


This won't work, as the co-writer ALREADY signed the contract. So for better or worse, he is a part of the project unless he renounces the contract (for moolah).

CameronAlexander
02-04-2013, 10:50 AM
Move forward.

... I think I may even agree with spinningdoc (http://messageboard.donedealpro.com/boards/member.php?u=10749)'s slightly Machiavellian sentiments too. At some point you have to cut the bullshit and make a definitive choice so you don't lose this opportunity.

YakMan
02-04-2013, 11:00 AM
Something else to consider may be that he has a "fear of success." Here it is - the BIG DEAL - all laid out for him. And he freezes - due to what's happened to him before on the verge of success!!! BUT . . . all you're given is a communication blackout, as right now, strangely enough, he's in panic mode. :eek:

Unfortunately I have firsthand experience with this when a band member would not accept my help in getting his music copywrited to where we could sign with Warner Bros. Records and . . . the deal tanked. :mad:

Or...he may be doing as others have commented??? :confused:

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/somatic-psychology/201101/fear-success

spinningdoc
02-04-2013, 11:03 AM
This won't work, as the co-writer ALREADY signed the contract. So for better or worse, he is a part of the project unless he renounces the contract (for moolah).

Contracts generally have a 'Dear John' clause though, and you just have to put the onus on him to respond, so the default when he doesn't gets the result you want. It might work out more like cancelling the original co-writing contract and redoing it with just the OP, I guess.

tucsonray
02-04-2013, 11:47 AM
This won't work, as the co-writer ALREADY signed the contract. So for better or worse, he is a part of the project unless he renounces the contract (for moolah).


Contracts generally have a 'Dear John' clause though, and you just have to put the onus on him to respond, so the default when he doesn't gets the result you want. It might work out more like cancelling the original co-writing contract and redoing it with just the OP, I guess.

While Spinningdoc, you make a good point about what may be contained in the contract, unless we have seen the contract we have no way of knowing what it says. With this in mind, PJ's guidance is on the money as, at least as I see it, any project where the legalities are not tied up in a neat little package will not make it too far up the foodchain in any production company/studio. It seems almost universal now, and this likely reaches the entertainment world too, that there is a tremendous fear of getting tied up in litigation (cost, anxiety, uncertainty, time, cost, uncertainty, cost) even if it means missing an opportunity. My 2 cents here is get it all worked out and resolved to a point where there is no fear on the part of the producer that co-writer will come out of the woodwork down the road and raise a legal ruckus (I know, easier said than done - hence the post, but if you want to pm me we can brainstorm a bit), as even if the co-writer doesn't have a legal leg to stand on, the thought of potential litigation can be too distasteful for a producer.

Kind of like the all too true observations of the matrimonial lawyer -- too easy to get married, too hard to get divorced.

BurningWorld
02-04-2013, 12:01 PM
Your co-writer wants a hand out if you get the project moving. He sucks.

But you worked with him, you signed a contract with him, and now you'll have to sleep in the bed you made. A valuable learning experience.

Max Otto Schrenck
02-04-2013, 12:07 PM
I learned a lesson from this, even if it only put into words my own long-standing (but unacknowledged) policy: no co-writers, on top of no managers, and no freebies for mysterious "producers."

That door is shut, locked, and barred.... :shifty:

spinningdoc
02-04-2013, 01:20 PM
My tactic was aimed at leveraging his passivity into getting him legally dumped, but yes, obviously you'd have to get it all lawyered.

Reg Thorpe
02-04-2013, 01:42 PM
Have him killed. :eek:

No joke. This hits really close to home for me as I've offered 50% rights of my personal material just to get closer to producers/agents/managers and this guy just blows you off when you're so close.

He's not just hurting himself, he's also screwing you.

Badly.

The one certainty is that he WILL come back in the future...once you've made the deal happen.

Question- Even though he's already attached, about what percentage of the material did he actually write?

An important aspect when it comes to "lawyering" him out of the picture.

spinningdoc
02-04-2013, 02:16 PM
From the OP, it seems the original idea and script was his, and the rewrite after producer's notes was his. Then Random Internet Guy contributed some ideas or notes after talking to the producer. In other words, it sounds like he's contributed about as much as the producer.

If that's the case, he's going to have a hard time proving authorship, since he hasn't actually physically sat down and typed any of the script, or a treatment, or outline. But the mere fact of a dispute, and potentially over the OP's ownership of rights to sell could end up putting people off.

Hence the suggestion of legally cutting out Random Internet Guy by getting the producer to cry breach and cancel. Then the OP doesn't object, and Random Internet Guy will hopefully be too uninterested and lazy to get off his ass and do anything (this is a gamble, I admit), since I'm betting it'll just be another in a long line of opportunities he's screwed up with his own inertia. Then the producer gives OP a new, solo contract.

I imagine Random Internet Guy would then have to prove his contribution to a script he actually didn't contribute to, and to which the option was legally cancelled when he failed to object. I'm betting Random Internet Guy will not be up to fighting this once his position and that he has to actually pay a lawyer for this kind of stuff is explained to him, .

Yes, it's a bit Machiavellian, and a bit like telling the bass player in a teenage band that it's broken up, before reforming with a different bass player, but Random Internet Guy has it coming, really.

But I'm not a lawyer. My skills as a cunning bastard are entirely self taught.

UnequalProductions
02-04-2013, 04:17 PM
Am I the only one who clicked on this thread scared that it was started by my writing partner?

MJ Scribe
02-04-2013, 05:49 PM
Streaker,

I feel for you. Sounds horrible. You can cut him, writing partner out. But it could come at a cost if you reach success.

First you have to honestly evaluate his contribution. Objectively. Only you know this, whether it's in actual writing, effort, ideas, legwork etc.

Second, you have to honestly evaluate this within the express terms of the contract you've agreed upon. Oral or Written. But, especially if it's reduced to a written contract. This part, you want to have counsel review IF you think any issue may arise in terms of damages.

In the end, I can't see a judge thrilled getting bogged down in what does or does not count for consideration in a co-writing agreement.

It may not be as all-or nothing proposition as many would think.

I recommend you provide notice either way and consult counsel, given what you've described with a hot project. Especially if you plan to ditch him. Just my 2 cents.

Juno Styles
02-04-2013, 10:53 PM
This guy will pop up as soon as something major comes of it. Sounds like a legal train wreck waiting to happen.

EDIT: Make sure you keep your paper trail showing you have tried to contact him multiple times....cell phone records showing you called, etc. You might need all of that if there is a big pay day in the future or the film gets made.

Bill WiggleArrow
02-05-2013, 07:50 AM
Here I am focused on not getting screwed by the suits--and it's the fellow artistes you gotta look out for.

What a racket.

DavidK
02-07-2013, 08:44 PM
This won't work, as the co-writer ALREADY signed the contract. So for better or worse, he is a part of the project unless he renounces the contract (for moolah).

Yes - if it's a real contract and he's party to it, then that's the deal you have and we can't suggest what your alternatives are without knowing what's stipulated in the contract. You could let the option expire and re-negotiate the other writer's participation but you don't want to do that because the deal could go cold, or consult an attorney to see how you can move forward. But as someone else said, the mere suggestion of litigation or rights conflict will generally make producers back-pedal so fast they'll be out of sight while the word 'goodbye' is still ringing in your ears.

Southern_land
02-07-2013, 10:35 PM
Have him killed. :eek:

.

Crap I thought that was a link :( can't use that

Ire
02-07-2013, 11:51 PM
Am I the only one who clicked on this thread scared that it was started by my writing partner?
:D