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Old 10-31-2015, 06:11 PM   #11
LateNightWriter
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Default Re: Week with director, uncompensated?

Grumpy,

Yes, you should be paid. But if this point is not in your contract, you probably won't be. Yes, it sucks. Writers should be paid for every point. However, if you're not yet in the WGA, I would stress that you try to see the cup half full. The director is coming to you. He's making a commitment of his time to the writer.

Try to see how it looks to the producer or director if the writer is whining about having to spend a week with the director working on the script. They might start to wonder about your commitment to the project.

Take Ronaldhino's advice -- let them know it's a sacrifice, but that you'll try to make it work.

Just my $.02

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Last edited by LateNightWriter : 10-31-2015 at 09:06 PM.
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Old 11-01-2015, 04:16 PM   #12
rkeller
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Default Re: Week with director, uncompensated?

Is there any wiggle room or is the five days fixed? What if you took three days off of work and worked through the weekend?

Above all, get in writing that this is above-and-beyond, that you won't do this a second or third time for no-fee. They obviously have little respect for your time and may make even more demands. (If I were them and on a shoestring budget, I'd consume as much of your free time as possible, till you screamed.)

In the end, it's really up to you. Is this the path your want for your life, where employers pay you lump sum then make (un)reasonable demands on your time? Or do you enjoy the lower risk of hourly wage? No one but you can answer that.
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Old 11-01-2015, 04:49 PM   #13
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Default Re: Week with director, uncompensated?

I would do what someone here already suggested, and that is to explain your situation and set a price. They already said is unpaid, but they may have been expecting you to charge WGA minimum and perhaps would be open to a smaller number offer.

I would word it literally like this, if you speak to the director personally and not via just your manager:

Hello X, hope all is well,

I am really excited that you would take the time out of your schedule to continue working on my script, as I would love nothing more than for the project to be the best it can be and want to help as much as I can.

Unfortunately, outside of writing, my main source of income is my 9-5 job. Meeting up for a week for re-writes and maintain my normal work/life schedule is a bit out of reach.

I'd be willing to take off of work for the week in order to better be able to help out in this situation, but unfortunately I would also need to be compensated for that time to make up the loss of wages. Would you consider paying me X amount of dollars for this period of time or re-writes?

Again, I really appreciate the interest and vote of confidence in bringing this project to the next level, and hope we can work it out. At worst I would be more than happy to meet up for one or two nights during the weekend to help out as much as I can within my normal schedule.

Best,

X


That for me says what you need to say but also leaves it open to at least still meet up a couple of times and stay in the loop.
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Old 11-02-2015, 02:43 AM   #14
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Wink Re: Week with director, uncompensated?

First of all, congratulations on your project. It sounds really positive.
Ultimately, if I were in your position, I would welcome spending time with this director for the following reasons.

1. You will learn so much more about where the project is headed, what the director's intentions are, and what will happen with it.

2. You will build a relationship with this person. It's amazing how close you can get to someone in a few days and this may benefit you for years to come if you can get on well together.

3. You may see the script from a director's perspective which might give you another angle during a re-write. Being someone who writes from home and has little interaction with directors and producers, I personally would be really keen to get a new perspective on my work.

4. Regret the things you do, not the things you don't. You don't wanna be kicking yourself a year from now wondering what may have potentially happened if you hadn't turned it down.

I know there's no money, but this guy is staying in San Fran for a week, which ain't cheap! He clearly is willing to take a punt on you and maybe you should be gracious and just say screw it, lets make the most of this.

Whatever you choose, I wish you all the best.
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Old 11-02-2015, 04:31 AM   #15
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Default Re: Week with director, uncompensated?

Something that just occurred to me: just because they're flying the director out, doesn't mean the director is getting paid, either. It would be an interesting conversation to have with him/her when (if) you are working together.

If you do the rewrite for free, can you insist on owning the rights to the rewrite, free and clear? I have no clue about legalities, so it's a talk with your rep. If you can at least own the rewrite, without any worries about ownership, then if the deal falls apart your (presumably) new and improved draft isn't dead to you.
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Old 11-02-2015, 09:39 AM   #16
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Default Re: Week with director, uncompensated?

something to consider -

IF you were in the WGA and IF this were a studio project then it's just as likely that the producer and a director just brought on could come to you and ask for changes - FOR FREE.

That's the reality. Same dilemma wherever you are on the food chain.
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Old 11-02-2015, 10:12 AM   #17
grumpywriter
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Default Re: Week with director, uncompensated?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jimjimgrande View Post
something to consider -

IF you were in the WGA and IF this were a studio project then it's just as likely that the producer and a director just brought on could come to you and ask for changes - FOR FREE.

That's the reality. Same dilemma wherever you are on the food chain.
Very interesting. Had no idea. That doesn't seem right but then I guess that's the biz we're in.

Thanks everyone for the thoughtful responses. Now I'm thinking no/minimal compensation is the best route...
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Old 11-02-2015, 11:39 AM   #18
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Default Re: Week with director, uncompensated?

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.
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Old 11-02-2015, 12:27 PM   #19
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Default Re: Week with director, uncompensated?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ProfessorChomp View Post
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 agree completely. Let the reps do their thing. Particularly since they dropped the ball in the beginning not negotiating these things. In fact, I don't think I've ever seen an option agreement that hasn't.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jimjimgrande View Post
something to consider -

IF you were in the WGA and IF this were a studio project then it's just as likely that the producer and a director just brought on could come to you and ask for changes - FOR FREE.

That's the reality. Same dilemma wherever you are on the food chain.

Do you think the guild will ever be able to deal with producer passes? It seems so tricky, almost impossible to regulate.
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Old 11-02-2015, 12:47 PM   #20
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Default Re: Week with director, uncompensated?

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