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NotTheBard
05-18-2014, 09:20 AM
So, an actor/stuntman with his own very small prodco, after having read two crappy action scripts I wrote, decided to hire me to turn a basic concept of his into a full script.

The contract itself was not well executed, since it was for a script acquisition rather than a writing assignment.

Whatever, I didn't care, I just really needed the cash.

He ended up paying nearly 7k before I wrote a single word. Not bad, considering that his company is so small (this would be his first feature length project, after a previous failed atempt with which I was not involved).

That was nearly 3 years ago, and he had decided with two other projects instead.

If he had paid nothing, I obviously not be surprised at all, no money no skin in the game, nothing to lose.

But given that he responded really well to the script (incluiding free rewrites I did to get it properly tuned up), plus the actress who would be the female lead, plus the guy who would be the director and co-producer...

Isn't it odd that, after having paid actual money for the script, after having invested a good amount in a script that is low-budget, with a good contained location, and that the main players were on board and pleased with the script, he decided to put it aside or in the backburner?

Again, if he had paid nothing, I wouldn't be asking this, but 7k, although not a fortune, is not something to sneeze at either.

Is it usual for such a thing to happen?

canela
05-18-2014, 09:48 AM
It doesn't really sound mysterious. To you 7K seems a healthy investment, but it's a very, very small amount compared to what it would take to mount a legit low budget production. He might've loved the script and so did the actors, but if you can't attract investors, it doesn't matter.

This is why you'll hear independent producers talk about taking 10 years to make their first feature. These projects become money-sucking machines.

Curious, though. Were you in touch with him during the 3 years that passed, or did you go your separate ways after you turned in the script and he appeared to be moving forward with it?

NotTheBard
05-18-2014, 10:21 AM
We exchanged emails every now and then. Not anymore.

Still, indeed 7k is far from being a lot in this biz, but still, for a guy who's a very low level stuntman with bit acting parts here and there, and who always said that he had it covered in terms of production (contacts and such).

Don't know about mysterious, but for a guy on that level of the food chain to have invested that money and then set it aside, well, I know he's not swimming in rivers of money, so why onvest that amount in the first place. Just found it odd, that's all.

madworld
05-18-2014, 11:47 AM
I know the stunt community fairly well. If you want to PM me his name, I might be able to tell you what he's up to lately.

My guess is, however, that he showed the script around and didn't get the response he wanted and lost interest after that. People tend to lose enthusiasm quickly if they get a couple adverse responses -- which isn't a reflection on the quality of script necessarily. Could be taste, timing, marketing, etc.

NotTheBard
05-18-2014, 12:54 PM
I know what he's been up to.

Thing is, he didn't even try after he had the polished and revised script in his hands, not even after the approval of other people involved. He didn't even try to shop it around.

He simply threw it into the backburner and was done with it.

I should have asked for more money.

DangoForth
05-18-2014, 02:01 PM
I did a feature adaptation of a graphic novel. The publisher had a good track record with their own series. They were publishing a new graphic novel based on a short story by a well-known science fiction author.
The original producer ended up bailing. But the publisher still owns the rights and gave me permission to shop the script around, which is what I've started doing. You might try contacting the guy and see if he'll let you shop the script around yourself.

wcmartell
05-18-2014, 02:14 PM
It sounds unusual to me. In the low budget world when people put in a nickle they tend to want to make that nickle back. And the lower you go, the more likely they are to stick by their investment instead of shelve it.

The probable answer is that the guy had one money contact, he approached them and they said no... and might have even made it sound like it was due to the script (since the "star" was standing there... you always blame the guy who isn't there) and whatever the real reason was, it became your script's fault. So the script got shelved... when really it might be that the stuntman guy isn't big enough to star in a movie.

The low budget world in in turmoil now, with no more Blockbusters to sell to and cable nets doing TV style shows instead of movies. The middle is *gone*. Now you either have bigger budget movies with names in the cast or "garage films" made for what's in your checking account (okay, most are kickstartered these days). The days of making a $500k film with Loren Avedon starring are over.

Could these 2 other projects be much less expensive kickstarter type films or films where the $ guy provided the screenplay?

Bill

NotTheBard
05-19-2014, 03:41 AM
It sounds unusual to me. In the low budget world when people put in a nickle they tend to want to make that nickle back. And the lower you go, the more likely they are to stick by their investment instead of shelve it.

The probable answer is that the guy had one money contact, he approached them and they said no... and might have even made it sound like it was due to the script (since the "star" was standing there... you always blame the guy who isn't there) and whatever the real reason was, it became your script's fault. So the script got shelved... when really it might be that the stuntman guy isn't big enough to star in a movie.

The low budget world in in turmoil now, with no more Blockbusters to sell to and cable nets doing TV style shows instead of movies. The middle is *gone*. Now you either have bigger budget movies with names in the cast or "garage films" made for what's in your checking account (okay, most are kickstartered these days). The days of making a $500k film with Loren Avedon starring are over.

Could these 2 other projects be much less expensive kickstarter type films or films where the $ guy provided the screenplay?

Bill


Your first sentence sums up why I posted this question. That's exactly the case.

On those 2 other projects, I only know about the one that seems to have been completed. I take it he'll move to the second one after the first been released. He's the main lead and the budget seems to be the same that the script I wrote would have called for.

One lesson I should have kept in mind, which I learned long ago - never assume things.

I was counting on the money I'd be paid once the cameras started rolling. I assumed that since he was putting that amount out of his own pocket, he'd want to at least try to milk the profit asap.

But from what I gathered, the dude didn't even try to shop it around, guess he just changed his mind.

If the fault's in the script, well, so be it. But didn't seem like he even tried. In any case, as a matter of professional courtesy, a writer deserves to know that the script simply didn't fly, nothing wrong with that, quite the opposite.

Whatevs. Good thing I didn't write it for free.

Bunker
05-19-2014, 11:07 AM
I'm really surprised you got 7k without writing a word! That seems to be a rarity even among mid-sized companies these days.

It could just be that he got busy. Shopping for financing is a huge job in-and-of itself. These other two projects might have been lower-hanging fruit that didn't require him to push a boulder uphill. 3 years is a long time... and yet it's completely believable that someone could simply find themselves busy for that long.

Why not just ask him straight up?

"Hey, just checking in. I'm still really excited about this project and wanted to know what the plans are with it?"

canela
05-19-2014, 12:01 PM
I'm really surprised you got 7k without writing a word! That seems to be a rarity even among mid-sized companies these days.

It could just be that he got busy. Shopping for financing is a huge job in-and-of itself. These other two projects might have been lower-hanging fruit that didn't require him to push a boulder uphill. 3 years is a long time... and yet it's completely believable that someone could simply find themselves busy for that long.

Why not just ask him straight up?

"Hey, just checking in. I'm still really excited about this project and wanted to know what the plans are with it?"

And if he really doesn't care, maybe you can negotiate back the rights. You said the original contract was junky. If you think you can get the film made, you can try working something out.

BurOak
05-19-2014, 01:46 PM
Your first sentence sums up why I posted this question. That's exactly the case.

On those 2 other projects, I only know about the one that seems to have been completed. I take it he'll move to the second one after the first been released. He's the main lead and the budget seems to be the same that the script I wrote would have called for.

One lesson I should have kept in mind, which I learned long ago - never assume things.

I was counting on the money I'd be paid once the cameras started rolling. I assumed that since he was putting that amount out of his own pocket, he'd want to at least try to milk the profit asap.

But from what I gathered, the dude didn't even try to shop it around, guess he just changed his mind.

If the fault's in the script, well, so be it. But didn't seem like he even tried. In any case, as a matter of professional courtesy, a writer deserves to know that the script simply didn't fly, nothing wrong with that, quite the opposite.

Whatevs. Good thing I didn't write it for free.

You're still ahead of the game. I've written several scripts under similar circumstances and I've yet to see a single cent for any of them.

BurOak
05-19-2014, 01:52 PM
I'm really surprised you got 7k without writing a word! That seems to be a rarity even among mid-sized companies these days.

It could just be that he got busy. Shopping for financing is a huge job in-and-of itself. These other two projects might have been lower-hanging fruit that didn't require him to push a boulder uphill. 3 years is a long time... and yet it's completely believable that someone could simply find themselves busy for that long.

Why not just ask him straight up?

"Hey, just checking in. I'm still really excited about this project and wanted to know what the plans are with it?"

Concur.

NotTheBard
05-19-2014, 02:03 PM
Quite some time ago, I did that. He simply said that he was going with 2 other projects instead.

This was little after the draft was polished and done, and having said that this would be easy to get the thing going, concerning the location, the fact that it was contained, that he and those other players liked it, that I had kept the budget low, etc.

There was no "Couldn't find an investor" or "There's another actor or producer that wants changes" or whatever.

Simply "I'm going with this instead of that", just because, as simple as that. He put 7k of his own money forward, and then changed his mind.

In an age of increasing free options, a guy putting 7k of his own money and then just not feeling it, well, I found it just weird. And after years of combing the dd message board, I hadn't come across a similar case.

Again, only when the writers do it for free. In that case, I'd understand. But it wasn't a freebie.

Hence my perceived oddness of the matter.

EdFury
05-19-2014, 02:23 PM
Quite some time ago, I did that. He simply said that he was going with 2 other projects instead.

This was little after the draft was polished and done, and having said that this would be easy to get the thing going, concerning the location, the fact that it was contained, that he and those other players liked it, that I had kept the budget low, etc.

There was no "Couldn't find an investor" or "There's another actor or producer that wants changes" or whatever.

Simply "I'm going with this instead of that", just because, as simple as that. He put 7k of his own money forward, and then changed his mind.

In an age of increasing free options, a guy putting 7k of his own money and then just not feeling it, well, I found it just weird. And after years of combing the dd message board, I hadn't come across a similar case.

Again, only when the writers do it for free. In that case, I'd understand. But it wasn't a freebie.

Hence my perceived oddness of the matter.

It may not be as odd as you think.

I did one where I got 25k on a write for hire with a lot more promised on production. Never went anywhere. I didn't even think they tried either. Then, out of the blue, it's alive again after about 8 years. You never know.

I know it's sad because it was a write for hire you don't get the script to sell again, but you got paid a decent amount to write with a chance on the back side that isn't coming for the foreseeable future. Doesn't mean it's dead. Trying to get into the brain of another is an effort in futility.

And... It may not have even been his money... making it much easier for him to walk away right now.

Yours is not to reason why sometimes. It's a very strange business and stranger things have happened. Put it on your resume and keep writing and check back with him in a year or so to see where it is. To worry or fret over it doesn't accomplish anything. I wish you the best.... and it may come back sometime and surprise you.

NotTheBard
05-19-2014, 04:18 PM
Thanks for the encouragement, Ed, as well as everybody that has chipped in.

I haven't lost slept over it, and have long since moved on.

Pretty sure it was his own money, so that's why it kinda nagged me a bit. Just wanted to know if the same had happened to other people.

Or maybe someone else in such situation will come across this thread and it will help to kind of inform them. Dunno.

Darn, if I'd invest even just a grand, I'd like to see some profits asap.