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Old 11-05-2016, 05:59 AM   #11
Grandmaster
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Default Re: Option advice please

^Great post.

Seriously, if someone came up to you and said, "Hey, you're a great lawyer, how about you come and work for my company for six months, completely unpaid," how would you reply?
It's the same thing, only writers have a lot of hope and tend to sell themselves short because of it. Don't do that.
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Old 04-22-2017, 10:44 PM   #12
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Default Re: Option advice please

We are now several months later. Let me fill you all in.

Back in the fall, the producer sent me an option agreement that I shared with an entertainment lawyer who has a lot of experience. She thought it was the most awful thing she had ever seen and, at great expense to me, prepared a more standard form of option agreement that we sent back to the producer.

The producer sidestepped making any comment on my lawyer's version, but nevertheless decided to see if they could interest a director, even without signing an agreement with me.

A couple of weeks ago, they reported back that the first director they consulted (I know the name and liked the work I've seen from him) loved it and wanted to sign on.

Great, I said. So I sent them my lawyer's option agreement again, and in turn they sent me back their own agreement, virtually unchanged.

The past couple of weeks, I've been going back and forth with the producer on why there are so many things in their agreement that are unacceptable. I've been doing this myself (I'm a lawyer who writes and negotiates contracts ever single day).

As of a few minutes ago, I finally emailed that it appears that we are unable to come to an agreement. I thanked them for their interest in the possibility of working together, and I wished them good luck with their other projects. I do not expect this to be resurrected.
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Old 04-23-2017, 01:29 AM   #13
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Default Re: Option advice please

If it were me, I'd reach out to that director and grab a dinner to talk about the script and keep the relationship going. Who knows, once the dust settles from this failed option bullsh*t, you and he might just find a new home for your project as a package with him attached and his agency pushing it.
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Old 04-27-2017, 03:56 PM   #14
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Default Re: Option advice please

Quote:
Originally Posted by finalact4 View Post
There's no reason for a writer to take a zero dollar option.
That's great in theory, but it doesn't always work like this. I signed a "free option" not long ago with a very reputable producer, while I had a manager (now former) and a lawyer (the latter of whom works for one of the top firms in Hollywood and reps A-list, award-winning directors). I was told by the manager, "That's just how it's done when working outside of the studio system. No one is getting paid up front, everyone is working for free. Take a short free option and do as many free rewrites as they want with bells on, because it's your first real deal." Translation: beggars can't be choosers.

On principle I was outraged. "If they're reputable, why can't they pay? Even just a little?" was my questioning. But "No one pays if they don't have to. Don't mess this up." was the short version of the feedback I got from my manager, when pushed.
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Old 04-27-2017, 08:25 PM   #15
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Default Re: Option advice please

Quote:
Originally Posted by rtolz View Post
We are now several months later. Let me fill you all in.

Back in the fall, the producer sent me an option agreement that I shared with an entertainment lawyer who has a lot of experience. She thought it was the most awful thing she had ever seen and, at great expense to me, prepared a more standard form of option agreement that we sent back to the producer.

The producer sidestepped making any comment on my lawyer's version, but nevertheless decided to see if they could interest a director, even without signing an agreement with me.

A couple of weeks ago, they reported back that the first director they consulted (I know the name and liked the work I've seen from him) loved it and wanted to sign on.

Great, I said. So I sent them my lawyer's option agreement again, and in turn they sent me back their own agreement, virtually unchanged.

The past couple of weeks, I've been going back and forth with the producer on why there are so many things in their agreement that are unacceptable. I've been doing this myself (I'm a lawyer who writes and negotiates contracts ever single day).

As of a few minutes ago, I finally emailed that it appears that we are unable to come to an agreement. I thanked them for their interest in the possibility of working together, and I wished them good luck with their other projects. I do not expect this to be resurrected.
Smart move, shady producers/companies like that piss me off.
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Old 04-28-2017, 06:51 AM   #16
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Default Re: Option advice please

Quote:
Originally Posted by rtolz View Post
We are now several months later. Let me fill you all in.

Back in the fall, the producer sent me an option agreement that I shared with an entertainment lawyer who has a lot of experience. She thought it was the most awful thing she had ever seen and, at great expense to me, prepared a more standard form of option agreement that we sent back to the producer..
Thanks for sharing...If I might ask, what was so "awful" about their initial version? The big stuff? small stuff? Everything?

And can we assume your lawyer sending you a version at great expense meant that they weren't willing to prepare it at a taking-5%-arrangement type of deal because it was not "big enough?"
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Old 04-28-2017, 10:31 AM   #17
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Default Re: Option advice please

I'd understand "great expense to me" if the lawyer were on retainer and hourly fee only. But if the lawyer is on a percentage (5%), and redid the original offer and substantially improved it, the 5% of that improved (presumably increased) return ought to be enough.

It's what I was trying to get at in another topic, re: 5% or fee-based. Now from what we read here, it seems like the fee-based, with or without a $ retainer, is more common than my few responders on that thread suggested.

However, in this case, my assertion in the first paragraph seems appropro. If not, if redoing the original offer is not included in their legal services, then what is any lawyer getting 5% for in the first place?!
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