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View Full Version : Finished my script, same idea just got optioned by another writer


Filmmagician
06-24-2013, 12:32 PM
So I finished a screenplay, I found out that last month the same idea (historical) was just purchased and they're shooting it to release next year. Should I bother sending this around to query? I feel robbed, or at least that it was all for not. I know at the very least this is a good writing sample, but would any agent/studio even read/have an interest in a screenplay for a movie that's already in pre-pro?
Thanks.

EJ Pennypacker
06-24-2013, 12:57 PM
Is the version that's shooting a large/big budget production? Is A-list attached to their project? Is your smaller in concept/execution? I would say EFF IT and just query it regardless, and hope no reps notice it's comparable project is already green lit. I would then try and get a rep interested and see what they think. Let them decide if it should go out or not. If anything, they could use it as sample like you said for OWA.

EJ

grumpywriter
06-24-2013, 04:29 PM
This is pretty common. :) Good ideas just tend to come in pairs if not triplets/quadruplets. It's happened to me AT LEAST three times and each time after an initial period of panic/regret I went ahead and finished the script and/or sent it around and it turned out that none of my fears were justified. Definitely send the script around.

Ronaldinho
06-25-2013, 09:19 AM
Unfortunately, this happens to everyone at some point or another.

However, I will say this:

Don't assume that your script is that similar to the other script, even if it's based on the same event, until you read that script or see the film. Yes, it just got harder to market your script, but never assume that projects are too similar based on blurbs in the trades, loglines, or trailers.

It may just be that you have to change the way you talk about your script. Or it may not. But you don't know.

emily blake
06-25-2013, 09:46 AM
This has happened to me a couple of times. I looked at my script and toyed around with ways to take the same idea and twist it around so that the comparisons were minimal. It usually ended up greatly improving the script. So see if there's a way you can rewrite out the similarities.

asteven50
06-25-2013, 12:13 PM
1. Get your hands on the other script.
2. Destroy it. Assuming that's the only copy...you're golden. :D

Filmmagician
06-25-2013, 06:09 PM
Haha, I would love to destroy the other script. I think they want to attach Johnny Depp as the lead. This is a terrible feeling. It's like you had the winning lotto numbers, but so did someone else, they just went to cash in their ticket sooner.

Two agencies have requested it, actually. So, I'm not gonna not send it to them. Hopefully the other film at least shows that there's a market for this story. Damn, just wish I had completed it 2 months earlier.

Thanks for the advice/input. Sorry to hear this is such a common occurrence.

madworld
06-25-2013, 08:14 PM
Haha, I would love to destroy the other script. I think they want to attach Johnny Depp as the lead. This is a terrible feeling. It's like you had the winning lotto numbers, but so did someone else, they just went to cash in their ticket sooner.

Two agencies have requested it, actually. So, I'm not gonna not send it to them. Hopefully the other film at least shows that there's a market for this story. Damn, just wish I had completed it 2 months earlier.

Thanks for the advice/input. Sorry to hear this is such a common occurrence.

Wait, you're not going to send your script to agencies that requested it, because someone purchased or optioned a script about the same historical event? You do realize most scripts that are bought never get made right? If they have to cast and go through development with a director, their plans could fall through. Send your script to those who request. It would be absolutely, monumentally ridiculous to not send it for that reason. Let an agent decide if they can sell it, your job is to focus on the content.

EdFury
06-25-2013, 08:18 PM
Wait, you're not going to send your script to agencies that requested it, because someone purchased or optioned a script about the same historical event? You do realize most scripts that are bought never get made right? If they have to cast and go through development with a director, their plans could fall through. Send your script to those who request. It would be absolutely, monumentally ridiculous to not send it for that reason. Let an agent decide if they can sell it, your job is to focus on the content.

This. Times 2.

CthulhuRises
06-25-2013, 09:41 PM
Wait, you're not going to send your script to agencies that requested it, because someone purchased or optioned a script about the same historical event? You do realize most scripts that are bought never get made right? If they have to cast and go through development with a director, their plans could fall through. Send your script to those who request. It would be absolutely, monumentally ridiculous to not send it for that reason. Let an agent decide if they can sell it, your job is to focus on the content.


He *is* going to send it to them. He just used a clunky double negative to say as much. (Not going to not = are going to.)

madworld
06-25-2013, 11:11 PM
He *is* going to send it to them. He just used a clunky double negative to say as much. (Not going to not = are going to.)

Good, my apologies for misreading. When I read it initially, I was like WHAT? My fault.

asteven50
06-26-2013, 10:13 AM
Seriously though, best advice... Do your own thing. Don't worry about anything else that's going on, especially at the point you are at where you've got a finished spec that is getting agency attention. This may work out in your favor. Hell, look at this year's box office. Olympus Has Fallen and White House Down. These things happen and if the script is good it won't scare off the right parties.

Out of curiosity, are you looking at this as more of a sample or as a spec you want to get made? Because if it's the former, you REALLY don't have anything to worry about. Just tell the agents its a sample of what you can do.

Filmmagician
06-26-2013, 12:41 PM
Haha, yes, sorry, I definitely will send the script out. I would send an agent a lung if it were to help my writing career.
Thanks for the advice/replies!

Filmmagician
06-26-2013, 12:44 PM
Seriously though, best advice... Do your own thing. Don't worry about anything else that's going on, especially at the point you are at where you've got a finished spec that is getting agency attention. This may work out in your favor. Hell, look at this year's box office. Olympus Has Fallen and White House Down. These things happen and if the script is good it won't scare off the right parties.

Out of curiosity, are you looking at this as more of a sample or as a spec you want to get made? Because if it's the former, you REALLY don't have anything to worry about. Just tell the agents its a sample of what you can do.


You're right. Well I do want all my screenplays to be made, as I think any writer does... right? But if at the very least it gets me repped and assignments, then that's ideal too.

I've sent it to two agencies that asked to read it. Just waiting to hear back now.

MoonHill
06-26-2013, 02:40 PM
Get that sucker out there, and you might wind up being the Outbreak to their Hot Zone, the Volcano to their Dante's Peak, the Saw 2 to their Saw 3.

finalact4
06-27-2013, 05:26 AM
This has happened to me on four occasions. With one exception, I scraped the projects and have come to regret it. I'd have 4 more specs to use as samples.

One of them, the director actually died, and I don't think the film was ever released. Not sure though, hafta check.

Yea, it sucks, but you've got a finished spec, take it to the finish line and maybe, just maybe yours will get picked up, too. There is value in having a great script, it shows you've got chops. Or maybe it'll get picked up later. Maybe it'll lead to an assignment, maybe you'll be asked to pitch a take on a concept--

And, feel good about writing a concept that someone wants to make into a film. That says something, too.

Having good ideas is valuable.

Good luck,
FA4

Filmmagician
06-27-2013, 08:58 AM
This has happened to me on four occasions. With one exception, I scraped the projects and have come to regret it. I'd have 4 more specs to use as samples.

One of them, the director actually died, and I don't think the film was ever released. Not sure though, hafta check.

Yea, it sucks, but you've got a finished spec, take it to the finish line and maybe, just maybe yours will get picked up, too. There is value in having a great script, it shows you've got chops. Or maybe it'll get picked up later. Maybe it'll lead to an assignment, maybe you'll be asked to pitch a take on a concept--

And, feel good about writing a concept that someone wants to make into a film. That says something, too.

Having good ideas is valuable.

Good luck,
FA4

Thank you. All of that really rings true - and I hadn't realized it before. I did just send it out two days ago, and one agent said he'll get back to me with notes. So, still waiting.
Sorry to hear about that director.
I'll def keep you (all) updated on what happens.
Thanks for the kinds words and well wishes.:mpopcorn: