Done Deal Pro Forums

Done Deal Pro Forums (http://messageboard.donedealpro.com/boards/index.php)
-   Business Questions and Advice (http://messageboard.donedealpro.com/boards/forumdisplay.php?f=10)
-   -   Week with director, uncompensated? (http://messageboard.donedealpro.com/boards/showthread.php?t=79981)

Mpimentel 11-02-2015 12:49 PM

Re: Week with director, uncompensated?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by ProfessorChomp (Post 930015)
If you do write the director per Mpimental (and I'm not saying you should, but if you do), I wouldn't ask "Would you consider paying..." The director's certainly not the one who would pay. In fact, the director shouldn't get that email at all, I don't think - the producer who optioned your script should. My opinion? Let your reps handle all of this.

I guess I was going from my experience, on low budget in-house stuff since he said this was not WGA... As a (bad) actor, the low budget stuff I have done the director has been the one who has offered the pay, and pretty much drips into every facet of the project... (Bar a commercial I did where the director was not involved in the negotiating)

But yes if its something a bit bigger, where agents, lawyers, ect. are involve listen to these guys rather than me, I am not familiar with that aspect of this. Sorry if that does not pertain to the size of your project.

madworld 11-02-2015 01:01 PM

Re: Week with director, uncompensated?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ronaldinho (Post 930026)
It won't completely, because sometimes producer passes are good for everyone involve. The notion that you should hand in your draft and do nothing else, ever, no matter what, is sort of silly even by the letter of the MBA that is what should happen.

Most writers have turned into things and had the producer notice something which can be fixed in not too much time. Most of the time we're better off doing that work.

The problem with producer passes is when they morph into whole new rewrites. "I know we were aiming for X, but now that we've seen X, and you did a good job of executing it, we now think we need to aim for Y."

The challenge is that it's not always so easy to draw a bright and clear line between those two categories of things.

I've heard two ideas. One is "raise the minimums, accept that they include a producer pass." This is probably unworkable. The other is "every deal that is below 2x (or 3x) scale must include a mandatory second step." This makes more sense. Once you're being paid a lot over scale, not only do you have more ability to say no, but you also can afford to spend the extra time.

Unfortunately, I don't think feature writers are a big enough part of the guild to put a lot of muscle into getting something like that done unless we can convince the studios that it's actually in their interest. (I think it is, but I don't think they'll see it that way).

Personally I've been through both scenarios with producers. Both smart. On both counts I felt the script improved, but one was a very clear and definitive rewrite that was done in under a month. The other was brutal. Almost a page one rewrite and the producer had really tuned out to work on another movie, then returned with tons of notes outside the agreed changes. Took me months.

A second mandatory step would be nice, some sort of producer pass step. Not very realistic I guess.

jimjimgrande 11-02-2015 04:05 PM

Re: Week with director, uncompensated?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by madworld (Post 930025)
Do you think the guild will ever be able to deal with producer passes? It seems so tricky, almost impossible to regulate.

I agree with the other posters on this topic. Also, full disclosure, I write TV not movies, so I don't have to deal with this firsthand.

BUT since I hear about this every election cycle and from feature writer friends here's my two cents:

The guild will not have any success dealing with it the way they are currently going about it, which is 1) to put the onus of "just saying no" on the writers individually and having them report those people to the guild so that 2) there's some kind of naughty list that the guild will take around to the studios on the semi-annual meetings they have and "shame" them into behaving better.

My solution, to this and several other issues, is that we stop spending $ on organizing and do spend lots of money to beef up our legal department and then litigate the **** out of studios for every contract violation they perpetrate, from late pay, to free rewrites, to improper residual payments, the list goes on. Granted, it's not as easy or simple as just suing everybody, but my point is that nobody fears the guild, like at all, ever. If our lawyers had teeth and writers were able to let the WGA be the bad guy in abusive situations, a la let my bodyguard take care of the bullies, I think many of these problems would be minimized. But again, that's my two cents and kind of off topic.

JeffLowell 11-02-2015 09:15 PM

Re: Week with director, uncompensated?
 
Producers aren't signatory to the MBA. (The WGA's contract with the studios.) They are not bound by their rules. There was a large arbitration about this very issue that the WGA lost. The ruling is available on their website.

madworld 11-03-2015 09:05 AM

Re: Week with director, uncompensated?
 
Thanks for the input guys. I just went to the WGA and found the arbitration, which basically states that producers share the same goal as the writer of creating a movie the studio will make and that although producers accept small fees for first look deals, they are not studio employees and therefore, not to abide by the MBA. So there you go.

Every legit producer I've worked with personally, I've had a great experience.

But I've seen devastating scenarios where writers have been beaten up for more than a year doing free drafts before it's taken out. I think this is much less likely as long as there is a cohesive vision for what the movie is. Seeing the same movie is a big deal.

OP, personally I would do the rewrite and let it ride.

I do question the legitimacy of your management though, not considering this very basic tenet of an option. Before I was even in the WGA, my reps would use the MBA as the standard for negotiation.

Ronaldinho 11-03-2015 10:06 AM

Re: Week with director, uncompensated?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by madworld (Post 930058)

I do question the legitimacy of your management though, not considering this very basic tenet of an option. Before I was even in the WGA, my reps would use the MBA as the standard for negotiation.

Agreed.

To me, there's a baseline of discussion that needs to happen between your reps and the producers to get a sense of what their expectations are and make sure you're being paid appropriately.

There's also a discussion that needs to happen between you and the producer before you sign an option, where you make sure you agree on the direction of the project. If they're dumping a boatload of cash, that's one thing but if they're not you need to be in agreement about what the script needs to be before you sign.

That neither of these things happened is a huge black mark on your rep.

JeffLowell 11-03-2015 10:08 AM

Re: Week with director, uncompensated?
 
OP, it's unclear if the producer is paying for the director to fly out and putting him up for the week. If he is, it seems like at least asking for that amount of money, given that you're the one doing all the f'ing work, seems fair.

grumpywriter 11-03-2015 10:36 AM

Re: Week with director, uncompensated?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by JeffLowell (Post 930061)
OP, it's unclear if the producer is paying for the director to fly out and putting him up for the week. If he is, it seems like at least asking for that amount of money, given that you're the one doing all the f'ing work, seems fair.

I think he is, actually. Thanks for the input, Jeff.

JeffLowell 11-03-2015 11:35 AM

Re: Week with director, uncompensated?
 
Best of luck. If the guy's paying thousands for someone to give you notes, they can pay for you to do the notes. ;)

grumpywriter 11-16-2015 09:08 AM

Re: Week with director, uncompensated?
 
As an update, the producer and director agreed to reduce the meeting time from one week to a weekend. However, since my work was going to extend far beyond just that one-weekend meeting with the director -- in the form of a few weeks' worth of applying his notes and the notes of the executive producer, plus further changes down the line when they get to the shooting script -- I decided that meaningful compensation was needed. My manager brought up compensation with the producer without naming the price, and the producer went from zero to $300 pretty quickly. But $300 is a token amount, so I told my manager to ask for $1,000 and that we weren't going under it. The producer then came up to $500 and expressed disappointment, and I started to get all the usual stuff... you're not committed, this is a team effort, we all need to chip in for free at this stage, etc... Even my manager warned me that I was risking being labeled as "hard to work with" and burning a few bridges, and I told my manager that I hope we don't live in a world where asking for a totally reasonable amount of compensation means being hard to work with. The director called me, asking if I was committed to the project. I was. Of course I was, but that still doesn't mean my time isn't valuable. I stuck to $1,000. Yesterday the producer agreed to it.

Is it enough? Hell no. They should be paying me $5000 at least. But it's literally 1,000 times more than their initial offer.

MORAL OF THE STORY: If we, as writers, respect and value our time, so will others.


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:53 PM.

Powered by vBulletin Version 3.6.2
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Done Deal Pro