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Old 01-26-2016, 07:41 PM   #1
slupo
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Default Production company with a "development fund"

Basically, I've been working with a producer at a company with a development fund, rewriting an existing treatment. It's going well but I sort of don't know what the end-game for this is.

Since they have a development fund, does that mean they can pay me outright to write the script given everyone likes the treatment?

Or will it most likely be some kind of deferred payment/option type thing?

Does it just depend?
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Old 01-26-2016, 10:12 PM   #2
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Default Re: Production company with a "development fund"

Are they paying you to write the treatment? Do you have a contract in place that's been vetted by an experienced entertainment lawyer that spells everything out?
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Old 01-26-2016, 10:44 PM   #3
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Default Re: Production company with a "development fund"

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Originally Posted by grumpywriter View Post
Are they paying you to write the treatment? Do you have a contract in place that's been vetted by an experienced entertainment lawyer that spells everything out?
No contract. They never asked me specifically to rewrite the treatment. They wanted my thoughts. But the easiest way to do that was writing my own treatment. I know they could just take the treatment and give it to someone else to write. But I was fine with taking that risk.
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Old 01-27-2016, 11:54 AM   #4
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Default Re: Production company with a "development fund"

There won't be a moment when they volunteer to pay you. They're gonna keep getting free work out of you until they don't. Here's the thing - you'll develop this treatment with them, and when it comes time to write the script, they're hoping you'll write it on spec. If you don't want to, you're in a tough spot as you can't really take that new version of the story anywhere, since you developed it with them. I think the best you can realistically expect in this situation is that they option your treatment with the expectation that you'll write it on spec. If you're in the WGA, you can't do it - but if you're not, that's what they're aiming for. Execs love talking about their development funds - you hear it all the time. But it's not them writing the check; there's someone else at the company holding the checkbook whose job it is to not write checks unless the company's top dog decides he/she can't live without your project and has to lock it up financially.
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Old 01-27-2016, 12:32 PM   #5
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Default Re: Production company with a "development fund"

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Originally Posted by ProfessorChomp View Post
There won't be a moment when they volunteer to pay you. They're gonna keep getting free work out of you until they don't. Here's the thing - you'll develop this treatment with them, and when it comes time to write the script, they're hoping you'll write it on spec. If you don't want to, you're in a tough spot as you can't really take that new version of the story anywhere, since you developed it with them. I think the best you can realistically expect in this situation is that they option your treatment with the expectation that you'll write it on spec. If you're in the WGA, you can't do it - but if you're not, that's what they're aiming for. Execs love talking about their development funds - you hear it all the time. But it's not them writing the check; there's someone else at the company holding the checkbook whose job it is to not write checks unless the company's top dog decides he/she can't live without your project and has to lock it up financially.
Perfect. This is exactly what I was looking for. Thanks.
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Old 01-29-2016, 01:13 PM   #6
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Default Re: Production company with a "development fund"

Quote:
Originally Posted by ProfessorChomp View Post
There won't be a moment when they volunteer to pay you. They're gonna keep getting free work out of you until they don't. Here's the thing - you'll develop this treatment with them, and when it comes time to write the script, they're hoping you'll write it on spec. If you don't want to, you're in a tough spot as you can't really take that new version of the story anywhere, since you developed it with them. I think the best you can realistically expect in this situation is that they option your treatment with the expectation that you'll write it on spec. If you're in the WGA, you can't do it - but if you're not, that's what they're aiming for. Execs love talking about their development funds - you hear it all the time. But it's not them writing the check; there's someone else at the company holding the checkbook whose job it is to not write checks unless the company's top dog decides he/she can't live without your project and has to lock it up financially.
So true. I've heard the term "discretionary funds" in lots of generals. But in my experience, the only time they get used is when there is a hot property on the market that a well-to-do production company wants to get off the rights market before anyone else. If the hooks are already in and they're already developing something with you, don't expect to see any cash until the studio/financier comes aboard.
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