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Old 06-26-2014, 05:17 PM   #1
cjj2006
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Default When producers don't get back to you (often)

Hi all,

I'm in a bit of a situation where I don't know quite what to do... or if I should just let it go and move on. But nonetheless, here we go...

I'm a young screenwriter who has recently gone pro (kinda). Last year I entered into my first writer's agreement with a producer, wherein I would do a page-one rewrite of a feature he owned.

The writer's agreement paid nothing upfront, but the contract stated that I would get $20K upon beginning pre-production and another $20K upon beginning principal photography, plus 1% backend of the producer's earnings. The project has a few reputable producers attached, including an executive from Lionsgate and a former President of the Academy. I met with them in person a couple times for script meetings. It all felt very legit and all was well.

I worked with them over the course of almost a year on this script until I sent them the final draft in December 2013... and I hadn't really heard from them since. Is this normal?

I would check in with the one producer I talked to the most -- about once a month, just to check on the script's progress. I'd occasionally get short, curt answers, like "turned down by Italy submitted to Australia for co production." Other times I got nothing at all. I communicated with them very openly while writing the script, and now they act like they don't have time for me (probably because they don't).

I don't have representation. This was my first assignment. So I asked the producer if he could help me find representation, since I had worked on his script over the course of a year. He said he'd look into it, and I thanked him. Haven't heard from him since, and this correspondence was in mid-May. Assuming that I'll just get more silence, at what point should I consider checking in with him again?

I hate the thought of hassling producers. I feel like I've been toeing a thin line between prodding them and prodding them too hard. But I admit I'm frustrated by the sudden lack of momentum. I'm at a loss and not sure what to do next. Or if I should approach it differently. Or if I should stop the prodding altogether and move on.

Sorry for barraging everyone with the wall of text. Just looking to see if this is a familiar situation for some of you. If you bothered to read this all the way through, thanks! I look forward to your feedback.

Last edited by cjj2006 : 06-26-2014 at 06:12 PM.
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Old 06-26-2014, 09:43 PM   #2
snowman
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Default Re: When producers don't get back to you (often)

Personally, CJ,

I think that they are getting nowhere with the script and that is reason they are ignoring you. Back a few years ago, I did a rewrite for a producer on a script she had under option. It wasn't a hard just this guy who wrote it was from another country andit was written more like novel. Well I did it with money to be paid when they got pre production money.

She had one of my scripts "optioned" at the time so I figured why not?

It was on imdb at the time, but shortly after I finished it and gave it to her it come off her page and I didn't discover it for two months and when I asked she said he broke the contract and blah, blah, but it ended up on someone other companies site and I emailed the guy as it was a public email and he said he had no more dealings with this producer (who as well supposedly had attachments and articles out on the script) and he knew nothing of my script rewrite. That is day I promised myself I would never get into something like this again. I will fix my own scripts but never work on another person's (unless they give me money up front and we know that is not gonna happen unless you are well known writer.

So, I'm not wanting to sound negative, as I hope I'm wrong but this stuff happens everyday as our desire to be produced and involved in the business clouds our vision and causes us to be more trusting than we should be. And in the end we get ripped off in one way or the other. But don't beat yourself up over it. Learn and move on to writing your own stuff.

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Old 06-27-2014, 05:40 PM   #3
cjj2006
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Default Re: When producers don't get back to you (often)

That's kind of what I figured, Snowman. I think I'll just pack up my bags and move on (and request an upfront fee next time... at least until I get successful enough to just request backend deals, like George Clooney ) Thanks for the reply
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Old 06-27-2014, 06:37 PM   #4
finalact4
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Default Re: When producers don't get back to you (often)

Quote:
Originally Posted by cjj2006 View Post
Hi all,

I hate the thought of hassling producers. I feel like I've been toeing a thin line between prodding them and prodding them too hard. But I admit I'm frustrated by the sudden lack of momentum. I'm at a loss and not sure what to do next. Or if I should approach it differently. Or if I should stop the prodding altogether and move on.
Why? You provided a service that they contracted you to do. You have a vested interest in the outcome of the project and every right to inquire about it and its progress.

Why would you be concerned about prodding them? What's the worse they can do, not speak to you? You're there already, right? Do you see what I mean?

Maybe a candid approach? Something to the effect that you're not familiar with how these things work, but "can you just give an update on where we are with project and what are the next steps?" Are they waiting for financing? Are they waiting for the greenlight?

A lot of people just hate confrontation. They avoid it like the plague, but if you don't value your work and stand up for your rights, why would anyone else? You're not doing anything wrong that I can see.

I don't understand why you would just walk away. It takes no effort (and costs nothing) to make a call once a month. So what it they're short. So what if they're curt. So what if they ignore you. Maybe one day they'll say the project is shelved. Maybe one day, it'll finally go into production.

I'm a nobody. But I wouldn't walk away from $40,000.00. Checking in once a month is not harassment. It's due diligence.

Good luck CJJ,
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Old 06-28-2014, 02:12 PM   #5
snowman
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Default Re: When producers don't get back to you (often)

By all means keep contacting them until they answer it never hurts to keep asking but if they don't you know there is a problem.

good luck.

Snowman
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Old 06-28-2014, 04:46 PM   #6
scripto80
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Default Re: When producers don't get back to you (often)

You've done a crap ton of work for them for free, the least they can do is keep in touch and let you know the status of the project along the way since you won't even get paid until it gets off the ground. I see nothing wrong with checking in periodically and expecting a decent answer.
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