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Old 05-27-2016, 04:50 PM   #1
GodzillaKent`
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Default Problem with Optioned Script

I have a TV show optioned with a production company in the UK where I live. They've changed the show a fair bit from how it started, and I know that's part of the process, but we also disagree on where to pitch to - me: Netflix, Amazon, BBC, HBO - Them: E4 only. The option lapsed at the start of last month, and I haven't resigned yet as I want to consider my choices. The option was for 1, and they want to re-option for 1 but I'm broke, and that's really not great for me to be giving away work for nothing even if it is just the option. I want to look at other production companies that may be interested in taking the show on, who may prefer to pitch with a similar mindset to me, and who may actually pay me.

My concern is that I might not get another shot, I don't really have the connections and I don't want to miss out on a good thing. Any suggestions? Feel free to ask questions as I may have missed things out.
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Old 05-28-2016, 10:18 AM   #2
Crayon
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Default Re: Problem with Optioned Script

I'm a novice/amateur, so this might be a dumb question: Why is that prod co wanting to pitch only to E4? In my ignorance, I thought it would be normal and sensible to pitch to several places, like you want to.

To help the experts around here give good advice, you might want to say how long the lapsed option was, and how long the re-option would be.

Anyhow, I sympathise, and sorry I can't offer any expert guidance. Hope you make a breakthrough soon. It's illogically heartening to hear of a fellow Kent-based [presumably] aspiring screenwriter make progress.
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Old 05-28-2016, 10:58 AM   #3
GodzillaKent`
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Default Re: Problem with Optioned Script

E4 showed some interest when I chatted to them about the script 2+ years ago. I didn't have a production company then though. I haven't heard great things about E4 as a creative though, I've been told how they drastically alter every aspect of scripts.

The lapsed option was for a year April 2015 - April 2016, but I worked on the script with the company for about 6 months prior to that without an option. The new option is suggested to be about 6 months long - this way if the show isn't commissioned they can move on if needs be without being tied in too long.

The other issue is that I've recently had my first feature film script picked up by a producer in LA - so I don't want to devote too much time to a TV show that could go nowhere and end up neglecting or delaying the film.

Not based in Kent - that's my surname. I'm in Cornwall.
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Old 05-29-2016, 01:35 PM   #4
Klazart
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Default Re: Problem with Optioned Script

This is a classic 'Bird in the hand' problem. Right now you're thinking about all of the possibilities that are out there. And as a result what you are being offered seems to be falling way short. I sympathise because I've been in similar situations before and am kinda sorta in one right now.

What I would say is that you need to think about how hard it was to get even this far. How many close calls you've had. You say yourself you don't have a huge amount of industry contacts. Do you really want to blow this one right now?

You've already put in the work and done a bunch of rewriting. Sounds like now it's just about letting them pitch and see what happens? If you were being asked to do another free rewrite then it might be fair enough to walk away.

So you're not keen on E4 based on what you've heard. Maybe it's true, maybe it isn't. Regardless, if they do go for it, you get your script made. You get paid. You get a solid credit and it will open more doors for you down the line.

Yes, something else great COULD happen if you walked away. But six months is not a long time. You could be chiding yourself in the new year thinking that you missed a good opportunity here.

Either way, best of luck.
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Old 05-29-2016, 05:37 PM   #5
Bunker
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Default Re: Problem with Optioned Script

Quote:
Originally Posted by Klazart View Post

Yes, something else great COULD happen if you walked away. But six months is not a long time. You could be chiding yourself in the new year thinking that you missed a good opportunity here.
Your bird-in-the-hand point is perfectly valid, but I feel I've seen the other perspective play out too. That is, I've seen many writers stay in non-productive, or downright toxic, relationships out of fear that they'll be throwing away their golden opportunity.

Personally, I feel that to succeed in such a rejection-heavy industry, a writer must believe that there will always be another opportunity.

To find that next opportunity sometimes requires taking what seems like a backwards step. A script (and writer) may end up wandering through the wilderness for a year or two.

But sometimes that's the only way to move forward. Sometimes, there isn't really a bird in your hand. It's just a producer telling you, "I know you can't feel it, but trust me - there's a bird in your hand."

Only the OP can truly decide if he's being impatient, or if he stuck with one producer for too long. But it's not a decision to make out of the fear that he'll never reach this point again. He has to know that he will.
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Old 05-30-2016, 11:08 AM   #6
Klazart
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Default Re: Problem with Optioned Script

Can't disagree with you there Bunker. As it is I've been hanging on with a producer that has asked for a full rewrite of my script to take it in a direction that I am not at all enthused about. I'm not going to get paid for this of course. And there is no guarantee that we could move forward even then as I know there are people at the company who will have a say who are simply not fans of my work.

However, if I had already done the rewrite and was guaranteed a pitch with a major UK TV station, I know that I would take the 6 month option.

It's a tough call either way.
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Old 05-31-2016, 03:07 AM   #7
GodzillaKent`
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Default Re: Problem with Optioned Script

Thank you for the advice guys. I think the best bet is as suggested, to see out the 6 months and give them the chance to pitch. I've gone this far, there's no point jumping off before the final hurdle.
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Old 06-02-2016, 03:18 AM   #8
Klazart
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Default Re: Problem with Optioned Script

Best of luck! Hope it all comes together for you.
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