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Old 03-13-2017, 11:35 PM   #1
BrickFlare
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Default What if a producer/studio likes your concept, but doesn't like the script...??

Alright, so, this might be a long post, and I'm new to all of this, so please bare with me. God bless you if you stick through this sob story. So, a while back I sent in this screenplay to a contest website for a short. Now, I did this on a whim because I had an idea for a story that I believed in, I thought it'd make a good story, and although my experience with screenwriting is limited to nonexistent, I told myself, "Hey, why not?"

So, I write up this screenplay, and I send into this contest, right? But then I realize I'm absolutely not hot on this screenplay at all. I don't think it's good, and I'm not saying this to be modest, I just really, REALLY didn't think it was good(I'm very new at this, in my infantile stages), so I ended up withdrawing the screenplay from the contest. And also, the deadline to this contest was so quick that even if I somehow, by some miracle, edited that thing to perfection, no way I would've made that deadline.

The PROBLEM here is that, apparently, someone in this contest strongly hinted that they liked the concept of this particular screenplay and would've/might still like to see it. Cool, right? But I'm pretty sure, if it doesn't flat out SUCK, it's barely decent, and I ain't confident in sending it in.

And this all brings me to my latest question. If someone, a studio, an agent, an exec, a judge, whomever, thinks that the concept of a script has potential, but the script itself sucks, how likely is it that they might steal that concept and do something with it themselves? How worried should I be about this?

Sorry for the long write up but I wanted to be as thorough as possible, and I didn't know where to officially introduce myself on this forum so I just decided to post this here. Thank you so much for reading this! I appreciate it!
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Old 03-14-2017, 12:20 PM   #2
omjs
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Default Re: What if a producer/studio likes your concept, but doesn't like the script...??

Well, on the one hand, you can't generally copyright ideas. So if you have a broad concept, like, "What if you crossed a frog with a spider...in space?" Then yeah, anyone can go ahead and write their own take on that. Etiquette demands that you don't steal an idea someone's actively working on, but if I overhear an idle musing then I might just take that Interstellar Spiderfrog and run with it.

Someone stealing your specific story beats is where copyright issues start to come in. In that case, if a producer/studio loves your overall story, but dislikes your execution on it, then they'll most likely just buy it from you and pay someone else to write the version they want.

As for whether you should worry, I'd say generally not. It's just not something that happens very often. The majority of cool concepts earn a person saying, "Oh, cool concept" and then just going back to what they were doing. Besides which - and don't take this personally - it's very rare that they're really THAT original. It's pretty common for multiple people to come up with the same concept independently. That's why the execution counts for so much more than the underlying idea.
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Old 03-16-2017, 10:47 PM   #3
BrickFlare
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Default Re: What if a producer/studio likes your concept, but doesn't like the script...??

Ah okay, that makes sense. I didn't know that about the issue of copyrighting broad ideas, to be honest. This post actually helped alleviate my concerns more than anything. Thanks!
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Old 03-28-2017, 12:10 AM   #4
EdFury
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Default Re: What if a producer/studio likes your concept, but doesn't like the script...??

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrickFlare View Post
Alright, so, this might be a long post, and I'm new to all of this, so please bare with me. God bless you if you stick through this sob story. So, a while back I sent in this screenplay to a contest website for a short. Now, I did this on a whim because I had an idea for a story that I believed in, I thought it'd make a good story, and although my experience with screenwriting is limited to nonexistent, I told myself, "Hey, why not?"

So, I write up this screenplay, and I send into this contest, right? But then I realize I'm absolutely not hot on this screenplay at all. I don't think it's good, and I'm not saying this to be modest, I just really, REALLY didn't think it was good(I'm very new at this, in my infantile stages), so I ended up withdrawing the screenplay from the contest. And also, the deadline to this contest was so quick that even if I somehow, by some miracle, edited that thing to perfection, no way I would've made that deadline.

The PROBLEM here is that, apparently, someone in this contest strongly hinted that they liked the concept of this particular screenplay and would've/might still like to see it. Cool, right? But I'm pretty sure, if it doesn't flat out SUCK, it's barely decent, and I ain't confident in sending it in.

And this all brings me to my latest question. If someone, a studio, an agent, an exec, a judge, whomever, thinks that the concept of a script has potential, but the script itself sucks, how likely is it that they might steal that concept and do something with it themselves? How worried should I be about this?

Sorry for the long write up but I wanted to be as thorough as possible, and I didn't know where to officially introduce myself on this forum so I just decided to post this here. Thank you so much for reading this! I appreciate it!
If it means anything to you, I've made quite a good living rewriting these kinds of scripts for producers. Scripts they optioned or in some cases bought because the concept was great but the execution of the idea left a lot to be desired. They didn't steal anything. They paid, fired the original writer, and hired me or someone like me to do a page one rewrite. Sometimes that means the original writer has to share writing credit or only get story credit, but they don't steal.
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