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Old 10-08-2019, 08:57 AM   #1
freddie
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Question Continuing on after the workshop

Hello everyone,

Last week I attended a screenwriting workshop. In one exercise we were put into groups of 3 and asked to come up with a concept for a tv series, create some characters and a rough plot line for a season. Afterwards each group presented their ideas and the others in attendance offered feedback, suggested alternatives, etc. It was an interesting and creative couple of hours bouncing ideas back and forth between everyone and I enjoyed the interaction.

Having thought a bit more on it the past few days, I quite like the basic premise that my group came up with and want to explore the idea a bit further but I’m not sure whether that’s okay or if I am obligated to inform the other two people in my group that I intend working on it? I’d rather not collaborate to write a script as we all live a fair distance apart plus I’d prefer to work at my own pace.

Chances are it won’t amount to much of anything as I’m a novice writer but want to make sure to do the right thing just in case.

Thanks for your help
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Old 10-08-2019, 09:41 AM   #2
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Default Re: Continuing on after the workshop

Were you given any parameters on what to come up with or was it 100% make up whatever?

In general you can't copyright ideas. You can't even steal them like people say. What you can do is hear an idea and write YOUR version of it, like it seems 99% of writers I know do. Sometimes we call it homage.

So I think you're fine.

I'm assuming that you didn't beat out an entire pilot or world, but more like you said "what about a tv show about an aiplane crash..."

6 years since last post... long time no see!
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Old 10-08-2019, 10:10 AM   #3
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Default Re: Continuing on after the workshop

I feel your pain.

This is malpractice on the part of a writing teacher!!!

It's one thing to have participants pitch their own ideas with the understanding that the room can pitch ideas but those ideas are the sole property of the original writer. That's how writers' groups, and workshops operate. The members of the workshop are there to support their fellow writers and expect no ownership of the ideas they pitch to another writer based on that original writer's work. But to have a group of creatives DO creative work and leave ownership for that creative murky and/or undefined is a horrible idea specifically for situations like this.

It would be like taking a class in mobile app design and the instructor having participants break into groups of three and come up with ideas for apps. At the end of the day who has the rights to those apps? The instructor for commissioning (?) the apps, the three participants who developed the app, or the one person who had the original idea? This is a legal IP nightmare as far as I can tell. Look at the Facebook lawsuit.

If anything was written down then there are potential problems.
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Old 10-08-2019, 10:36 AM   #4
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Default Re: Continuing on after the workshop

It was 100% create whatever we wanted.

The initial base premise was one that I came up with, then the three of us all contributed by rearranging and expanding on the idea a bit, then we created some characters and a very simple plot line. We didn’t beat out an entire pilot or episode. There were no scenes written. It was mostly just a lot of “what if’s” that eventually resulted in a few paragraphs that we presented to the rest of the class.

I’d like to revisit the initial premise and then create a world along a similar line to one of the ideas we discussed but with different characters and different plot points.

Many thanks for your input and for the “welcome back”... it has been a long time - I haven’t been well and it feels really good to be thinking about writing again
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Old 10-08-2019, 11:12 AM   #5
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Default Re: Continuing on after the workshop

Thanks Steve, the “creative murky” as you call it sums up the situation perfectly.

The workshop was offered through a state run organisation, perhaps I should contact them for clarification?
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Old 10-08-2019, 11:49 AM   #6
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Default Re: Continuing on after the workshop

I don’t see legal troubles. Only that guilty feeling. However that guilt has stopped me from writing ideas while on this board people are writing ideas inspired by reading others developed ideas. And you said it was your premise.

If we both had same idea for tv show we would both write 95% different shows.

I say write it. Get back in game.

Only downside is the other 2 writers have that idea too to write maybe. And I guess the whole group because you shared it. To me it’s out there. And can’t stop 30 writers from hearing a concept and going with it. Even if they do it by accident or intentional.
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Old 10-08-2019, 12:38 PM   #7
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Default Re: Continuing on after the workshop

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bono View Post
I don’t see legal troubles.
Hard to say for me because we're talking about Australia and copyright in the commonwealth is a bit different than here in the US.
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Old 10-08-2019, 03:06 PM   #8
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Default Re: Continuing on after the workshop

I'm saying Freddie could post the idea in this thread and the 3 of us would write 3 entirely different shows. And I'm saying writers do this all the time and maybe don't even notice it. Do you know how many times I thought of an idea and realized I thought of it 10 years before or realize what I got that from someone else's idea... it's impossible almost not to do it.

That's why I never get music and copyright when 100000 songs sound the same to me, but 2 random songs, the artist gets sued. I just don't get it.

If every writer got sued for an idea being already done or "stolen" -- we'd all be sued.
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Old 10-08-2019, 04:05 PM   #9
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Default Re: Continuing on after the workshop

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bono View Post
I'm saying Freddie could post the idea in this thread and the 3 of us would write 3 entirely different shows. And I'm saying writers do this all the time and maybe don't even notice it. Do you know how many times I thought of an idea and realized I thought of it 10 years before or realize what I got that from someone else's idea... it's impossible almost not to do it.

That's why I never get music and copyright when 100000 songs sound the same to me, but 2 random songs, the artist gets sued. I just don't get it.

If every writer got sued for an idea being already done or "stolen" -- we'd all be sued.
Completely agree with you... in theory.

However, in this situation there are two other people that can, however dubiously, claim partial ownership and they have a whole room full of people that can potentially back their claim. And nothing can toss cold water on a deal faster or more completely than a question of ownership or chain of title.

As ever, I'm not a lawyer, nor do I or have I ever played one on TV. I suggest contacting a lawyer/barrister if you choose to continue working on this project.

HTH,
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Old 10-08-2019, 04:31 PM   #10
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Default Re: Continuing on after the workshop

Quote:
Originally Posted by KitchonaSteve View Post
Completely agree with you... in theory.

However, in this situation there are two other people that can, however dubiously, claim partial ownership and they have a whole room full of people that can potentially back their claim. And nothing can toss cold water on a deal faster or more completely than a question of ownership or chain of title.

As ever, I'm not a lawyer, nor do I or have I ever played one on TV. I suggest contacting a lawyer/barrister if you choose to continue working on this project.

HTH,
Yeah, I have to agree with you. It's in a fixed written form, now, with three authors for each concept/idea. It wasn't just an idea, based on what Freddie said, they came up with a specific TV series concept, created characters and a rough plotline for the season. That sounds kind of like a concept outline. It's not the same as saying I have this great idea where all these worlds chase and iron throne. And someone takes off with it. Hard to say. It sounds like only a few paragraphs. But what if all three of them go out and write it? Who has the rights? IDK, it's a tough call.

What the instructor should have done is had everyone create their own idea, have the threesome workshop them all and then the group pick one person's concept to present.

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