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Old 10-22-2007, 03:13 PM   #1
grapeape
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Default A 20+ mil. Baseline film, the writer gets 50k?

I cant seem to get the producers rational here. Apparently because we are a first time writers, we somehow have an unwritten ceiling of 50 k (plus net points= nothing) no matter how much the studios want to invest and make from the project. Ive read that people who sell these sized films get a hell of a lot more than this. I am expecting that. I refuse to apologize for wanting to get paid for my work.

When you guys get someone investing 20+ million on your work, do you have to deal with this? It makes absolutely no sense to me that everyone else gets paid fairly except for us.

How do you guys deal with this? If he cant come up with the capital to make the film correctly then can I use that in my marketing to get other producers to give it a real look?
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Old 10-22-2007, 03:36 PM   #2
mrWr0ng
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Default Re: A 20+ mil. Baseline film, the writer gets 50k?

If you feel ripped off, why would you sell to them? You can always choose to take your screenplay elsewhere.
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Old 10-22-2007, 03:56 PM   #3
LateNightWriter
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Default Re: A 20+ mil. Baseline film, the writer gets 50k?

IMHO, the writer should make more than the caterer on the film.

On a low budget film, you should have a floor which you are guaranteed no matter how low the budget goes. And if the budget goes higher, your sale price should rise in relation to the budget. That is why my option contracts have specified a floor price, and also a percent of budget (usually 2.5 to 3%) for budgets within various ranges.

If the budget of your film is truly $20 million, you should not accept $50,000 for your script. Does the producer acknowledge that the budget is that amount? If so, I wouldn't trust any producer offering that little for a script.

Your agent, manager or attorney should be handling this for you. If you don't have one of these and you are dealing with an actual offer on the table, get an attorney, pronto.

Good luck,

Late Night Writer
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Old 10-22-2007, 04:27 PM   #4
Master of Horror
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Default Re: A 20+ mil. Baseline film, the writer gets 50k?

My last agent said the same thing. Because what she was trying to push at the time would have been my first sale, she told me not to expect the WGA minimum.

Whether the movie had a $10 million or $100 million budget.

She was a dumb bitch though so I don't know if what she was saying was true. It'd be a first if it was.
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Old 10-22-2007, 11:57 PM   #5
Mac H.
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Default Re: A 20+ mil. Baseline film, the writer gets 50k?

Quote:
Originally Posted by grapeape View Post
I can’t seem to get the producers rational here.
The producer is being very rational.

The producer wants to make a product.
The script is one of the ingredients the producer needs to make the product. It might be argued that it is the most important ingredient - but it is still a cost the producer can minimise.

A rational producer wants to pay as little as possible for the ingredients to maximise the return.

If there are other scripts that have the same potential as yours, and those scripts can be bought for $X, then in a free market the value of your script to the producer is $X.

If it isn't worth your while to sell what you have to the producer, then just walk away and find another buyer.

That's the beauty of a free market.

Mac
(PS: Even if it isn't relevant, I'm not sure that 'every else gets paid fairly except for us' is really true. Ever wondered why 'The Simpsons' is drawn in Korea and not the USA? Do you think the animators are getting paid a 'fair' salary in your scheme? Is it 'fair' that shoes that are sold for $50 in the USA are made by someone earning < $0.20 per shoe ?)

Last edited by Mac H. : 10-23-2007 at 12:19 AM.
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Old 10-23-2007, 11:23 AM   #6
Geoff Alexander
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Default Re: A 20+ mil. Baseline film, the writer gets 50k?

Quote:
Originally Posted by grapeape View Post
I can’t seem to get the producers rational here. Apparently because we are a first time writers, we somehow have an unwritten ceiling of 50 k (plus net points= nothing) no matter how much the studios want to invest and make from the project. I’ve read that people who sell these sized films get a hell of a lot more than this. I am expecting that. I refuse to apologize for wanting to get paid for my work. When you guys get someone investing 20+ million on your work, do you have to deal with this? It makes absolutely no sense to me that everyone else gets paid fairly except for us.How do you guys deal with this? If he can’t come up with the capital to make the film correctly then can I use that in my marketing to get other producers to give it a “real” look?

Are you saying he has 20m in hand and that's the budget of the movie?

Or are you saying he thinks he can do it for 20m and wants to buy the script and try and get it done?

If he is really going to spend 20m (which I doubt) then I'd just say no. If he doesn't have any money and wants to buy it outright and upfront for 50k, I'd consider it. I'd try to get at least 75-100k, but I'd consider it.

Look, it's a negotiation. He's a businessman and so are you. Why would he pay you more than he needs to? Do you pay more for a car than is absolutely necessary? Of course not. The rational is clear. It's simply a question of what you're willing to settle for and what he's willing to pay.

And, btw, like I said, I don't know anything about the producer in question, but it sounds like he's FOS to me. Does he have a real track record?

Last edited by Done Deal Pro : 10-23-2007 at 11:25 AM. Reason: Fixed coding for quote.
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Old 10-24-2007, 01:36 AM   #7
Robot17
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Default Re: A 20+ mil. Baseline film, the writer gets 50k?

Hey Grapeape

Don't know the exact details here but -

If it's a real producer, and you assign rights to that person for chump change, who says they can't poke a studio for ten times that for the material that Jim Carrey's all jacked up about?

Personally, I'd be careful about this sort of deal because if they set it up for 20 mil the studio will expect to pay a lot more. Reminds me of the motto of a bar in Anchorage I visited a long time ago -

"We cheat the other guy and pass the savings on to you!"

This version would be "We'll cheat the writer and pass the savings on to Paramount!" NOT.

Best to check with an attorney I'd say - as other posters have said there's a lot of ways to protect yourself before hand but not after the fact.

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Old 10-28-2007, 11:50 PM   #8
Typewriter
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Default Re: A 20+ mil. Baseline film, the writer gets 50k?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac H. View Post
The producer is being very rational.[/font][/color][/size]

The producer wants to make a product.
The script is one of the ingredients the producer needs to make the product. It might be argued that it is the most important ingredient - but it is still a cost the producer can minimise.

A rational producer wants to pay as little as possible for the ingredients to maximise the return.

If there are other scripts that have the same potential as yours, and those scripts can be bought for $X, then in a free market the value of your script to the producer is $X.

If it isn't worth your while to sell what you have to the producer, then just walk away and find another buyer.

That's the beauty of a free market.

Mac
(PS: Even if it isn't relevant, I'm not sure that 'every else gets paid fairly except for us' is really true. Ever wondered why 'The Simpsons' is drawn in Korea and not the USA? Do you think the animators are getting paid a 'fair' salary in your scheme? Is it 'fair' that shoes that are sold for $50 in the USA are made by someone earning < $0.20 per shoe ?)


I don't know what the script looks like but I personally would never settle for such a low figure. Life is to short to be taking 50k for a semi-major motion picture.
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