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Old 02-13-2007, 10:59 AM   #1
Gumsandals
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Default How far are you willing to go to get your screenplay on the screen?

Are you willing to invest your own money to do it? Someone elses?

I recently got a phone call from a Hollywood producer about a screenplay I sent in five months before. The company and the "producer" shall remain anonymous because I'm holding out that maybe someday, they will actually want to buy one of my screenplays outright and therefore it would be prudent not to burn my bridges now by dissing them in public. The company has a website which reveals it has secured $60 million in financing and has produced two films with more in the pipeline. You may ask then, why would they want a screenwriter to assume half the cost to produce a 10 to 15-minute "teaser" to sell his story? That "investment" would cost the screenwriter around $50,000 with the other half coming from the company. The producer gave lots of reasons why this is a good idea-- besides having contacts with name talent and professional moviemakers who would make the teaser so good it would convince those that count to greenlight the project and, no one has time to read a screenplay but everyone can find time to watch a short, to the main reason that it's tough to sell anything to Hollywood, especially the work of an unknown writer. Unfortunately, they called up one writer who doesn't have any money nor does he know anyone who does.

My question then is, if you could, would you take this offer?
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Old 02-13-2007, 11:31 AM   #2
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Default Re: How far are you willing to go to get your screenplay on the screen?

RUN AWAY.

If your script is good enough to be made into a movie, other prodco's that don't charge money will want it too.

If it's not, then no amount of your own money is going to help.

Just my .02 - but that's two cents they are not going to get from me, even if they poney up a nickel.

RUN.
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Old 02-13-2007, 11:39 AM   #3
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Default Re: How far are you willing to go to get your screenplay on the screen?

If this is The Vine Entertainment Company, they are hitting up a lot of spec newbies with this sort of offer. Offering paid coverage service on your script is also usually tossed into their deal. I got a similar offer, I dont' take it as a negative, I just took it as I don't have a spare $20k laying around to invest in making a short of my own. I'd rather hold out and shop the entire script around and see what it does.

If it is The Vine, Gino is legit, they do have funding and they are making films, just be careful what you sign on for that's all...
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Old 02-13-2007, 11:39 AM   #4
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Default Re: How far are you willing to go to get your screenplay on the screen?

I wouldn't take that offer. Not without a guarantee. If the teaser doesn't secure a deal, they pay you back with interest. If it does secure a deal you get 150% of your investment back and a high writing fee.

I don't buy this companies belief that no one has the time to read scripts. I was a reader for 4 years - that's why they hire us. It's the number one aspect of this business.

Also I don't know of any examples where a $100,000 teaser was used successfully to find financing. Sure, many filmmakers have made a short film, won awards or appeared in one of the top 10 festivals and have gotten money to make a feature - but a $100,000 teaser?

This seems like a poor investment. And not something for a writer looking to make a living by selling scripts.
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Old 02-13-2007, 11:41 AM   #5
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Default Re: How far are you willing to go to get your screenplay on the screen?

Well, as a writer, I wouldn't. If I wanted to be a director, maybe.

I have a friend who hosts a radio show and thinks he knows everything. And he told me that I should raise capital -- $50,000 to $60,000 -- to let Hollywood know I was serious about going into filmmaking. I'm like ...what are you talking about.

Then he began rattling off all these supposed self-made people...but they are mostly directors...like Spike LEe who used his credit card, etc. ...of course they use their own money to make movies. It's not the same for writers, I told him.

Then he wanted to tell me that's how Ben and Matt got Good Will Hunting -- I'm like I know their story and that's absolutely not true.

I'm not interested in spending money in hopes of getting attention on some second-rate market. If I can't seduce the real Hollywood market to fully invest in me, then I'm not doing it.
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Old 02-13-2007, 12:44 PM   #6
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Default Re: How far are you willing to go to get your screenplay on the screen?

TOTAL AND COMPLETE SCAM.

And you SHOULD name the company because 9 times out of 10 they use the fear of "You'll never work in this town again" because they know this is the average experience most beginners have with Hollywood given what they've been told.

If they are the kind of people you will "never work in this town again" with... Consider it a blessing.
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Old 02-13-2007, 01:23 PM   #7
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Default Re: How far are you willing to go to get your screenplay on the screen?

If this company has 60M sitting around, why are they wasting their time making teasers? There's no profit and a high risk. They have absolutely no reason to try and sell a project to someone else if they already have the money.
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Old 02-13-2007, 03:40 PM   #8
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Default Re: How far are you willing to go to get your screenplay on the screen?

Name 'em.
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Old 02-13-2007, 04:44 PM   #9
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Default Re: How far are you willing to go to get your screenplay on the screen?

Oh, how I would love to name them but with my luck, since I don't have any record of the call to back up what I wrote in the post, the next phone call I get from Hollywood will be a high priced lawyer telling me he's suing me for defamation of character or some other kind of legal bull****. But thanks for the feedback. I never expected such a quick response and it's good to know I made at least one right decision lately. Looking back, I should have known something was up when the "producer" asked me right off if I'm a writer or a writer-producer. If you ever get that call, you'll find out soon enough which $60 million company has found your script worthy (Oh, yeah, I was told they pass on most scripts unless a reader has scored it a 6 or above).
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Old 02-13-2007, 06:19 PM   #10
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Default Re: How far are you willing to go to get your screenplay on the screen?

It sounds like Vine. They gave me the same pitch. Wanted me to put up half the cost of a teaser. They also wanted me to pay for studio coverage at a discount from one of their contacts. The good news is the script is being considered by a good company and they have not asked me for money. I was told even if I had the money, it would not be wise. You would do more harm than good to your wonderful screenplay. And I was also told that I was the writer and they are supposed to pay me. I am not saying Vine is a bad company, but I am not playing that game.
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