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Old 01-09-2012, 07:07 PM   #21
ScriptGal
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Default Re: Working with a production company on spec?

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Originally Posted by SBScript View Post
To continue with the metaphor, you are on a couch making out. The person gets a text from someone and tells you they would like to leave and go make out with them for a while, and then maybe come back and make out with you some more, depending on what happens. How do you respond?
LOL. Between BDZ's graphic sexy in and out - and the groping on the couch, I give in. I give up. I'm defeated. But if I'm making out on the couch with Kenickie and Danny Zucko calls... er, um, well, maybe not the best metaphor....
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Last edited by ScriptGal : 01-09-2012 at 07:20 PM.
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Old 01-09-2012, 07:19 PM   #22
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Default Re: Working with a production company on spec?

SBScript, I think your metaphor would be accurate if we were talking about an equal commitment by all parties. You have to remember that a writer might spend 500 - 1000 hours creating a spec script. At this stage, my assumption is that a prod/co would be lucky to have spent 40. A paid option redresses this imbalance, making it equally costly to both parties to walk away from the table.

As Jeff has pointed out, this is often not a possibility. Fair enough. That's why it is important for the OP to satisfy themselves that there will be a solid and concerted commitment into getting this work sold. It's in exchange for this commitment that you grant exclusivity.

The last thing I want to see is the OP getting dicked around and cut loose 6 months down the track with a radically altered script that isn't so hot anymore - and this does happen (happened to me because I was too afraid/green to ask the right questions).

At the risk of repeating myself - get comfortable, then exclusive - not the other way around.
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Old 01-09-2012, 07:33 PM   #23
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Default Re: Working with a production company on spec?

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The last thing I want to see is the OP getting dicked around and cut loose 6 months down the track with a radically altered script that isn't so hot anymore - and this does happen (happened to me because I was too afraid/green to ask the right questions).
this is always the risk, dude. i don't know what questions you ask to avoid it.

in the end, they're gonna try to attach talent and set it up or they're gonna try to set it up naked (which doesn't happen that often anymore). you're right, the OP should ask as much as they need to feel comfortable but the plan seemed pretty clear from the jump. There are only a few possible plans.

hollywood sucks
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Old 01-09-2012, 07:47 PM   #24
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Smile Re: Working with a production company on spec?

Hey guys and gals, a big thanks from me to you.

Really appreciate the info everybody's been throwing into the pot. If it helps clarify the situation a little more, I can say that although there hasn't been a specific conversation about where they plan to take the script, I've a pretty good idea of the studios that might be considered.

As a company they have first look deals with two. One major and one mini major and have arguably one the biggest two films of 2013 set up with another major studio. My guess is that these would be their first ports of call if/when the time comes.

Originally, the most confusing element for me was "Is this a common process?" and kindly many of you have clarified the situation for me.

I have to stress though, that I feel incredibly privileged to be working with such hard working, passionate people. I only hope that in the long run my contribution ticks all the boxes.

Once again a big thanks DD'ers!

Last edited by Done Deal Pro : 01-09-2012 at 08:46 PM. Reason: Fixing font size. Try not to copy & paste from Word.
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Old 01-10-2012, 11:52 AM   #25
Geoff Alexander
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Default Re: Working with a production company on spec?

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Originally Posted by Rhodi View Post
SBScript, I think your metaphor would be accurate if we were talking about an equal commitment by all parties. You have to remember that a writer might spend 500 - 1000 hours creating a spec script. At this stage, my assumption is that a prod/co would be lucky to have spent 40. A paid option redresses this imbalance, making it equally costly to both parties to walk away from the table.
Here's the thing--no one cares how long it took the writer to write the script. No one cares about balance or fairness. They only care about one thing, getting movies made. The OP's scenario is one of the most common and best ways for someone to break in, by getting personnel at a production company with a track record and real prospects for the project to invest their time, energy, and ideas into a project to the extent that they are excited about getting it done. Advising the OP to try and shop the script behind their back is simply wrong and bad advice. Advising the OP to try and force a money option, well, it's not dishonest, but the OP trying to do this themselves, without a rep handling it for them would poison the relationship. Writers should not try and negotiate terms with people that they then need to get in a room and collaborate with. Seriously.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhodi View Post
As Jeff has pointed out, this is often not a possibility. Fair enough. That's why it is important for the OP to satisfy themselves that there will be a solid and concerted commitment into getting this work sold. It's in exchange for this commitment that you grant exclusivity.
This is incredibly naive. If you think that you can get a quantifiable guarantee as to any future effort on a project, no, it isn't going to happen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhodi View Post
The last thing I want to see is the OP getting dicked around and cut loose 6 months down the track with a radically altered script that isn't so hot anymore - and this does happen (happened to me because I was too afraid/green to ask the right questions).
This is always a danger. There is no way to guarantee that a development process will lead anywhere. The only thing you can do is be certain that the creative vision that the production company has laid out for you is one that you believe is in sync with your movie. Then, do the work.

Last edited by Done Deal Pro : 01-10-2012 at 12:45 PM. Reason: Fixed the quote code.
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Old 01-10-2012, 04:24 PM   #26
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Default Re: Working with a production company on spec?

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Originally Posted by SBScript View Post
Advising the OP to try and shop the script behind their back is simply wrong and bad advice. Advising the OP to try and force a money option, well, it's not dishonest, but the OP trying to do this themselves, without a rep handling it for them would poison the relationship. Writers should not try and negotiate terms with people that they then need to get in a room and collaborate with. Seriously.
I gave no such advice so I won't bother to respond further.
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Old 01-10-2012, 05:31 PM   #27
Geoff Alexander
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Default Re: Working with a production company on spec?

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I gave no such advice so I won't bother to respond further.
I was trying to counter all of the bad advice in one response, sorry I included someone else's bad advice in my response to your bad advice.
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Old 01-10-2012, 07:06 PM   #28
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Default Re: Working with a production company on spec?

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The person gets a text from someone and tells you they would like to leave and go make out with them for a while, and then maybe come back and make out with you some more, depending on what happens. How do you respond?
Is there pizza and beer available? 'Cause I might take a break from smoochin'.

I think you are partners in this deal for as long as it works - just like anything else. The *good thing* is this is OP's original script, because it gets mega-complicated when you are doing a spec for a big legit producer and it's the producer's project. Then, they own it if everything goes south. You'd want an upfront contract that spells out payment *no matter who gets credit* if the project moves forward, along with a "kill fee" if the project dies on the vine.

But having people who know what they are doing help you improve your script and then champion it and try to get it made? That sounds good to me.

If things *do* go wrong - be calm and polite. You come out of it with an improved script, so you win.

PS: I think it would be nice if we went back to those good old days where producers had the money to pay for developing scripts.

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Old 01-11-2012, 10:54 AM   #29
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Default Re: Working with a production company on spec?

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PS: I think it would be nice if we went back to those good old days where producers had the money to pay for developing scripts.
Ah, the good old days. Of course, whenever those were, producers were still claiming to many writers that they had no money. One question I like to ask when I hear of cases such as this: where do the producers live and where does the writer live? Often, it's a big house in the Hollywood Hills while the writer shares a one or two bedroom in Palms with a roommate or spouse.

As to the dating comparison, how come the producer gets to date as many writers as he wants while the writer can only date a single producer?

I realize that this is a path that many writers have followed to break in, but I have heard too many tales of writers working for months for free and coming out with nothing at the end (well, if they're lucky, they have a better draft of the script that was good enough to attract attention initially).

While it's a rarity, I know of a case in which the WGA went after a producer for not paying a writer for rewrites done at the direction of the producer and a director in a situation that sounds similar to this. The WGA won but the producer threatened to go into bankruptcy and so a minimal settlement was agreed to.

I'm not suggesting the OP pull out of this deal, but I wish producers would realize how much option money can mean to a beginning writer. Sweat equity just isn't as meaningful as a few thousand dollars.
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Old 01-11-2012, 11:01 AM   #30
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Default Re: Working with a production company on spec?

Excellent comments, Greg.
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