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Old 05-02-2004, 11:51 AM   #21
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I didn't mean to imply that outright sales "almost never" happen. My original response to the topic of 'six-figure options??' began, "Someone may need to clarify, but I think the majority of sales, such as those on are, as you put it, 'non-sales'. The upfront cash is actually option money, not purchase money". The question that clarification spurned began "I was under the impression that the typical script deal with a studio commences with a purchase option..." The implication of all this is that I'm suggesting outright sales are atypical and make up the minority of script deals.

As has already been pointed out, I was under that impression having absorbed a number of posts on the mws newsgroup that dissect the typical script deal in detail, written by a writer/producer who also had several sales/options to studios under his belt at the time he was posting (back in '96). Such specifics on the business side of things are hard to come by and these are the most thorough explanations I've ever come across on the subject:

Considering Lulu's contribution, there are obviously a number of experienced and well informed people with diametric perspectives on the question of whether the majority of deals that are announced as 'script sales' are options or outright purchases...
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Old 05-03-2004, 09:15 AM   #22
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Default ......

This is really an exceptionally interesting thread -- I knew a lot of this, but not all -- I'll have to copy this stuff down for reference when it matters......

Thanks to everyone who spent so much time typing the details out ......
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Old 05-03-2004, 09:16 AM   #23
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This is all quite educational, and I've enjoyed reading the informed opinions. My suggestion to the original poster, though? Put it out of your mind and worry about something you can control, like writing an even better script.

I've seen SO SO SO many writers, including yours truly, get so worked up when a player asks to read something, that they sit around in a state of utter paralysis, daydreaming and fretting over something that will probably never happen. It's easy to waste weeks or months in this state, during which you lose all manner of writing momentum that could've been put to good use.

If they call and want your script, you'll figure out what to do in a great big hurry. Until then, focus on becoming a great writer. When something's ready, intelligently put it into the submission pipeline, then move on.
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Old 05-03-2004, 09:30 AM   #24
donald gregory
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Just to toss in another opinion.

You're not going to get offered really big bucks as a first time writer, unless A your spec gets involved in a bidding war, B your spec is soo good that the company that has read it will pay a large amount to get it before others companies can read it and start a bidding war.

Anyhow, I wouldn't worry about it, because if this becomes a problem, it's a really good problem to have.
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Old 05-03-2004, 10:25 AM   #25
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Default $

I was just able to pull myself out of my paralyzed daydreaming to respond to CHOP. I was just asking a question, not going into paralysis, but thanks for the concern and for the overwhelming positivety;

"daydreaming and fretting over something that will probably never happen."

That's always a help.
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Old 05-03-2004, 03:49 PM   #26
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Default Re: $

Hi, Billy & Brough...

I just wrote a lengthy post (all mine tend to be, don't they?) and then I got tossed offline and it's now gone into the ether. So I don't have much more time, but...

I do want to thank you, Brough, for that link. Interesting and also frustrating.

The guy who posted the first few responses... he's using "backend" in a way in which most business affairs people don't. He's really using it to kind of mean "middle." He makes himself clear, but just so you know, I've never heard a b/a person use it this way. And that purchase price is considered by the studio/producer an upfront expense.

Bonuses are negotiated, unless there's been a recent WGA change I'm not aware of. It's not unusual for a 1st time writer not to get one.

When someone on that link posted that he'd once received a bonus that included the purchase price? Baloney. I suspect he received a single check -- triggered by the 1st day of principal photography -- that covered both amounts, and apparently the stub didn't break down the total into the two amounts. There's no such thing as an option agreement that doesn't specify the purchase price.

The usual deal for rewrites is for 2 sets of revisions and a polish. And the WGA specifies how much of the writing fee is to be paid for each step.

Oh, yeah... the length of time a writer has for the rewrite? This guy is... well, nuts. 18 months?! The Guild specifies the length of the writing period -- I'm recalling 6 weeks, but that may be television. Anyway, it's going to be a long, long time only if the project is in 2nd position to other work the writer is doing (and the studio knows that). The WGA specifies also the length of time the studio has to read the rewrites and get back to the writer.

I'll post more eventually, when I finish reading that link, but I must here and now declare to the world that I go absolutely crazy when someone -- that guy posting info on the link, for example -- misuses the word "comprise." Really crazy. If the link weren't so old, I'd make myself really obnoxious and post to him to explain that A is composed of B and C; B and C comprise A.

The fact is, Billy, that -- as some of the posters have already mentioned -- most of this stuff you don't need to know, and when you need it you'll have someone there to deal with it. As someone here sagely posted, it's not something you can control. The marketplace, the ever-changing creative input and business models... none of us can. All we can control is the words we put on the paper and how we act on our responses when we read them.
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