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-   -   Consulting on a Major Studio Project (http://messageboard.donedealpro.com/boards/showthread.php?t=66392)

JeffLowell 02-28-2012 05:11 PM

Re: Consulting on a Major Studio Project
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Rhodi (Post 790243)
Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems to me like this guy has followed advice similar to that often dispensed by pros on this forum regarding working on spec for production companies and has gotten seriously burned.

Not one pro has ever suggested anything even close to the situation he finds himself in.

Geoff Alexander 02-28-2012 05:34 PM

Re: Consulting on a Major Studio Project
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by JeffLowell (Post 790254)
Not one pro has ever suggested anything even close to the situation he finds himself in.

Seconded, Rhodi, you must have misunderstood what people have advised on this sort of thing in the past.

Rhodi 02-28-2012 06:10 PM

Re: Consulting on a Major Studio Project
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by JeffLowell (Post 790254)
Not one pro has ever suggested anything even close to the situation he finds himself in.

That is a gross misrepresentation of my comment.

If the OP had asked for advice on this forum 2 years ago about this particular situation, it seems to me the consensus would be 1) Working for free is now an industry norm; 2) Don't talk about money, it makes you look like an amateur; 3) Don't ask for terms in writing. "It's like asking for a pre-nup at the same time you accept a proposal." 4) If terms are even discussed, they can be done so on an informal basis.

JeffLowell 02-28-2012 06:21 PM

Re: Consulting on a Major Studio Project
 
You're simply wrong. First off, we're not talking about speccing a script for a producer, so this is already two completely different things.

Second, here are the three things I said to keep in mind when considering speccing a script. I think it's a pretty fair summary of what the pros who've talked about speccing with a producer have advised:

Quote:

Originally Posted by JeffLowell (Post 787178)
I think the three questions to keep in mind are:

Do I love the idea?
How credible are the producers?
What happens to the script if it doesn't sell?

It seems like the OP in this thread loved the idea.

The production company who controls the material and he signed the contract with is "an outside first-timer."

Again, there was never a script to sell, and obviously no conversation about what would happen to it, since it never existed.

So, it passes the smell test on one out of three criteria.

To suggest that the pros here would have told him to do this isn't supported by any conversation that's taken place on this board.

DangoForth 02-28-2012 06:40 PM

Re: Consulting on a Major Studio Project
 
If memory serves, Nimoy and Keogh were in a similar situation on one of the STAR TREK movies where they came up with the original ideas for the film. Pretty sure after all was said and done they ended up with "Story By" credit. Might be worthwhile to research.

Rhodi 02-28-2012 06:54 PM

Re: Consulting on a Major Studio Project
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by JeffLowell (Post 790260)
To suggest that the pros here would have told him to do this isn't supported by any conversation that's taken place on this board.

So your advice two years ago on this particular case would have been to negotiate a rock-solid contract with Unscrupulous Productions through an entertainment attorney?

JeffLowell 02-28-2012 07:02 PM

Re: Consulting on a Major Studio Project
 
They were never asking the OP to write a draft to take out and sell. This was a pre-existing property, not even a spec situation. They were asking for him to basically serve as a consultant/producer. And yes, my advice would have been to get hired before he started writing.

Speccing is very different. You're creating something that you own and can sell. There was no chance of that happening here.

BattleDolphinZero 02-28-2012 11:55 PM

Re: Consulting on a Major Studio Project
 
Jeff, you leave no room to respond with those concise answers.

Rhodi, do you not see how this situation is fundamentally different from speccing a script for, say, Lorenzo, or Grazer, or Rudin?

Geoff Alexander 02-29-2012 10:30 AM

Re: Consulting on a Major Studio Project
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Rhodi (Post 790264)
So your advice two years ago on this particular case would have been to negotiate a rock-solid contract with Unscrupulous Productions through an entertainment attorney?

Rhodi, no one has ever asked about providing consulting services and how to handle that.

Folks have always discussed writing for free. You see the difference?

tucsonray 02-29-2012 12:53 PM

Re: Consulting on a Major Studio Project
 
Just wondering if you're familiar with the concept of quantum meruit (you may have a little issue with whether there was an expectation of compensation here, but perhaps it can be implied given the duration and nature of the work)/unjust enrichment (this is a remedy I like a lot... of course I do not work in CA so things may well be different there... ask your lawyer). It may give you a little comfort to do so as depending on the facts this is one thing that is worth noting.

Unfortunately often the only way to get 'Unscrupulous' to pay attention to claims like yours it through legal intervention (or the hint of legal intervention), but I know things are delicate as there's a balance between getting what you deserve and getting a reputation as being litigious, even if it's justified.

This is where the art of law practice comes into play... your lawyer is hopefully good at finessing the unscrupulous folks into doing the right thing by letting them know he/she is 'aware of and not afraid of litigation' while making it abundantly clear that he/she is in no way suggesting litigation.

As they said in Nashville, the sign of a top shelf songwriter is being able to write a love song without ever mentioning the word love. Same here with litigation (different art/same result)

So... for what it's worth, in my opinion, it is this quality in your lawyer that you should be paying attention to, in addition to the qualities many folks here have rightly pointed out.

Jeff's comment "Maybe the first person you should have your attorney have a strong conversation with is the outside producers. They're the ones who are treating you shabbily, so it doesn't seem like you're risking a lot by pushing them a little." makes a lot of sense to me.

And yes, I agree with those who see this situation as clearly different from spec'ing for all the reasons mentioned... here there is definitelty a benefit/enrichment being bestowed on the others in this project. I think depending on CA law the OP can get a little traction depending of course on the facts.... your attorney's assessment:

Our attorney's advice was that the deeper we got with the studio, the stronger our situation was.

...seems pretty sound from the way you describe it





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