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Old 10-27-2016, 04:34 PM   #1
rtolz
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Default Option advice please

Well, my Selling Your Screenplay email blast went out about 48 hours ago, and I've just been approached for an option. The name of the interested company is MJR Films.

I may be a senior citizen, but I'm a babe when it comes to this. We haven't discussed terms at all, other than they were up front about they rarely pay for options. My law partner (yes, I'm a lawyer) says to stay away from giving an option without payment, for a number of reasons.

Can I get you folks to chime in with your advice and opinions?

Thanks,
Bob
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Old 10-27-2016, 10:11 PM   #2
ClintW3
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Default Re: Option advice please

I'd listen to your lawyer.

Value your work.

But, what do I know?
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Old 10-27-2016, 10:39 PM   #3
Danigirl
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Default Re: Option advice please

^^ This.
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Old 10-28-2016, 07:33 AM   #4
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Default Re: Option advice please

Sometimes companies/producers like to snag up a bunch of projects so they have a slate and can get investors interested and seem like a big deal. Those kinds of things freak me out.

Do these guys seem specifically passionate about your script? Did they say things that make you think they are worthy?

You can always option a short time. But once you option it, it's theirs. (Good grief, I sound like an article in a teen magazine you might find in the school heath office...)
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Old 10-28-2016, 07:49 AM   #5
rtolz
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Default Re: Option advice please

Your response was pretty much along the same lines as what I heard from my law partner.

The production company does sound like they love the script, but I think I'll get them on the phone to really feel them out.

Although it's flattering (this is the first time I've been approached for an option) I don't want to be just one small book in an immense library that suits their purposes and not mine.

Thanks for your input.
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Old 10-28-2016, 08:17 AM   #6
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Default Re: Option advice please

Did you look at their website and see the type of stuff they do, which includes services such as line producing?

http://mjrfilms.com/

Make sure they or any company fits your screenwriting needs, dreams, desires, etc. Also, studios have immense libraries of material. Not small indie film companies, for the most part.

And yes, you should get paid for an option, even if it isn't lots of money.
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Old 10-31-2016, 09:43 AM   #7
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Default Re: Option advice please

Quote:
Originally Posted by Done Deal Pro View Post
Did you look at their website and see the type of stuff they do, which includes services such as line producing?

http://mjrfilms.com/

Make sure they or any company fits your screenwriting needs, dreams, desires, etc. Also, studios have immense libraries of material. Not small indie film companies, for the most part.

And yes, you should get paid for an option, even if it isn't lots of money.
Ok wow. After looking at their website and history of produced films, I'd say YES. Get money for the option and make it as short a time period as you can. They've never produced anything anyone has ever even heard of.

Since the OP is an attorney this next part isn't as much for him/her as it is for new writers.

The thing most new writers don't understand is that you have the right and responsibility to question producers, what they do, how they do it, their past, and anything else you want to know. If they're honest, they'll have no problem answering. And you have the absolute right to get money for your hard work and creativity. As you should. You also have the right to say no if it isn't what you expect. I'd rather turn down a bad option than to tie up my script on the hopes I'm wrong. Do your homework. Arm yourself with all the knowledge you can to make a good decision.
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Old 10-31-2016, 02:02 PM   #8
muser777
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Default Re: Option advice please

Quote:
Originally Posted by rtolz View Post
Well, my Selling Your Screenplay email blast went out about 48 hours ago, and I've just been approached for an option. The name of the interested company is MJR Films.

I may be a senior citizen, but I'm a babe when it comes to this. We haven't discussed terms at all, other than they were up front about they rarely pay for options. My law partner (yes, I'm a lawyer) says to stay away from giving an option without payment, for a number of reasons.

Can I get you folks to chime in with your advice and opinions?

Thanks,
Bob
Did they read the script, by the way, Bob? I ask because it sounds like you sent the script with the query letters.

And agreed with everyone else - don't part with an option without at least some payment and under a short term; the fact they are interested at all suggests you could do better than this.
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Old 11-01-2016, 07:14 AM   #9
cvolante
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Default Re: Option advice please

Quote:
The fact that they are interested at all means s/he could do better?
You're like a friend of mine in high school. Sometimes the geeks turn out to be kinda cool.

But yeah, if they haven't even read it yet, I would definitely not trust that.
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Old 11-01-2016, 07:14 PM   #10
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Default Re: Option advice please

There's no reason for a writer to take a zero dollar option.

Reputable companies, that have produced films out this year, do the same. It's insulting, really, to expect to pay nothing to get something that has so much value.

The bad news is that if the option starts off with a zero sum or a $1 option and renewal, chances are that the rest of the next 13 pages of the option might be less than meager themselves. By the time they're done with the development process it might be unlikely that you even receive writing credit.

And while they're off potentially making millions off your sweat, you've been served up a slice of pittance pie.

You can say no. And, man, it feels really good when you do. Because there's a sense of self-worth, self-esteem, and self-confidence that goes along with it.

You can also change the deal to a shopping agreement for less time with a single renewal if they can show solid progress. Otherwise, what's the point of taking your hard work off the market when three months down the line someone else might be interested in it.

That way if they get it set up, you have a lot more leverage-- you get to (or your reps) negotiate a deal that everyone already wants to produce.

And best of all, you don't have to do any writing for free, which hopefully, if you have reps they won't let you anyway. And if you don't have reps then you have to be the emotionless business person that looks out for yourself. There are so many people here that will help guide you. Their wisdom has helped me often.

Saying no sends a clear message.

Besides, if you have one person interested in your project, you can find another. I really believe that.

Don't sell yourself short. My 2 cents.
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Last edited by finalact4 : 11-01-2016 at 09:05 PM.
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