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Old 05-28-2002, 06:43 PM   #1
Furious Bowler
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I have a producer who wants to develop one of my screenplays in a direction of his choosing and then take it out with himself attached as producer. Problems include he has no option money (I'm assuming he's doing on his own - outside of the company he works for) and wants part ownership of the project - even if he doesn't get it set up.

The only reason to even consider this at all is - I did the Venice Arts route and he was the only person to respond strongly to the material and want to do something with it. So it's not like I'm tying the script up and missing out on a potential sale.

Would someone please tell me: Am I an idiot? Should I keep looking for a sale?Will this lead to something down the road if I do it?
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Old 05-28-2002, 06:50 PM   #2
Basic B
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What is this producer's track record? Does he have significant credits, sufficient clout?

More importantly, do the notes he's giving you make sense?

I was in a similar situation working with established people in the biz, but they'd never developed a script before. It endly badly, and I regret having agreed to it now.

A wise writer once told me, only work for people who will make you a better writer.

So, if you think this producer will make you a better writer, I say go for it. Otherwise, it might be a huge waste of your time, efforts and talents.

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Old 05-28-2002, 10:47 PM   #3
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Sounds like a similar deal I was offer from one of the "contacts" I made using Venice - this guy had a production company, and wanted to direct, but......needed $20K from me! No friggin' way.

I have since optioned this script by posting on Writer's Script Network. Why don't you give that a try?
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Old 05-29-2002, 08:03 AM   #4
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Did you tell Venice Arts about that crook? They do try to stamp out the bad guys from their email lists, but there's always another one popping up to take his place ...

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Old 05-29-2002, 10:24 AM   #5
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I would second Bonita's input. I took a deal that was no money up front from someone that did not have a strong track record. Wouldn't do it again, and thank god, it's worked out so far, but after many, MANY, headaches.

Check 'em out completely, before you make a decision.
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Old 05-30-2002, 09:26 AM   #6
Cole Blackburn
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Default to "ho" or "not to ho"

I'm against it.
If he won't give you a couple of grand to option it,
he's playing you for a sucker. And attaching himself
whether he sets it up or not, ain't right. As for
letting him "develop" the script, where'd he get
his writing credentials?
I gave a producer with a film in the top ten box
office films of all time a free option and permission
to run with it. He immediately attached a worthless
UNbankable director, pitched the story with the
director attached and RUINED any chance of my
getting the script produced. I can't give it away
right now because of his "help".
I have two sayings.
No deal is better than a bad deal.
If a deal starts bad, it won't get better.
Keep shopping your script.
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Old 05-31-2002, 12:04 AM   #7
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Default Whores Get PAID

The big red flag is - wants part ownership even if he doesn't set it up.

It's your script.

In fact, it should work the other way around. Because you aren't being paid anything up front, that makes you a producer. So you should get a portion of his producer's fee. In fact, if all he has is your script, you're the gorilla. You should get 50% of the producing fee.

If this person is someone who can get your script set up, and if their notes make sense, you might decide to take the chance. But no way should you agree to this guy owning part of your script - ever. Tell him if he can't get it set up, then you manage to get it set up without him - there's the strong possibility that he was the liability... in other words it was HIS fault. So why should you have to pay for something that was his fault? If he can't get it set up - clean divorce, no script visitation rights.

And LIMIT his rights. You want a short option period - maybe 3-4 months. And/or you want to limit the places he can take it. Basically, give him his best shot at his best connections - and nothing more. You don't want him wandering around town for the rest of his life with your script under his arm.

If you think about his notes - really consider them - and think they stink... don't do it. If you're gonna get screwed, do it for money.

- Bill (my article this week is on this subject)
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