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Old 03-31-2018, 08:03 AM   #1
slopnik
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Unhappy When to accept an option?

My second piece is getting some heat, got over 100 script requests.

Not as good as the other one with over 180, but still better than nothing.

A first producer got back to me, offered me an 18-month free option with WGA minimum guaranteed. Not bad since I'm not a WGA member, but the 18-month thing.

How do you decide when to accept an option?

It could be that this would be the only one, or I could get another one a week or two after I sign his contract.

This waiting game is a frogging craphouse. You have no idea what producer does. Did they even read the script? Should you hit them with a follow-up email. If so, when?

Any suggestions?

The producer has three movies made for Netflix and some other stuff.

My first optioned spec went to a veteran producer, a multiple awards winner.

This second title is way better, darker, but I don't want to wait with it till eternity.
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Old 03-31-2018, 09:29 AM   #2
Ronaldinho
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Default Re: When to accept an option?

Well, you're doing something right, to get that many reads? Want to share how you're doing that?

So 18 months has become more common on options. That's not the think that gives me pause here. The things that give me pause are "free" and "WGA minimum."

I would see if we was open to attaching himself as a producer for 18 months, where you negotiate the final sale price with a buyer once he has one lined up.

Don't sign anything without an entertainment lawyer looking over it.
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Old 03-31-2018, 09:38 AM   #3
EdFury
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Default Re: When to accept an option?

Options are negotiable. Just because they want it free and for minimum doesn't mean you can't ask for more. No professional writer ever signs the first offer. Make a reasonable counter offer, or have an attorney do it for you. Writing is a business. Treat it like one.
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Old 04-01-2018, 02:50 AM   #4
slopnik
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Default Re: When to accept an option?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronaldinho View Post
Well, you're doing something right, to get that many reads? Want to share how you're doing that?
1- I develop a hard-core title.
2- I develop an even stronger logline - none of those boring "When Harry met Sally he got an erection..." things.
3- I work seven days per week - 365 days per year - 8-12 hours per day (that includes from story development while jogging early morning to late at evening watching docus and news from all over the world).
4- I write in regions most of you are afraid of. Read some of my older posts, and you will understand.

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Originally Posted by Ronaldinho View Post
So 18 months has become more common on options
You gotta be kiddin' me - I had no idea about that - I thought it's 6 months. Okay, now I know it.

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Originally Posted by Ronaldinho View Post
The things that give me pause are "free" and "WGA minimum."
Why? If it's either that or nothing, then it's still better than nothing.
Besides, minimum WGA is close to 30K for the first draft, and that is like four years of basic paychecks in my shithole of a country.

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Originally Posted by Ronaldinho View Post
Don't sign anything without an entertainment lawyer looking over it.
You know of any that does pro-bono?

He sent me this contract called "Shopping agreement" Ever heard of it?

I'm thousands of miles away from LA and have no idea how this works. And the sad fact is that I'm broke.

After six years busting my ass with this I can finally deliver stories that rock - hard-core.

Even I cannot believe what I am able to write today. I guess that old rule "the more you write, the better you'll get" is a true one.

What's the worst case scenario if I sing a contract without a lawyer to go through it - I could give away a script for nothing if producers screws me on it - not a biggie - I got dozens of them - and there are all the stories I still have to develop - It's a risk worth taking - for a nobody like me who started all this only as a test, to see if he can do it.
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Old 04-01-2018, 02:52 AM   #5
slopnik
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Default Re: When to accept an option?

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Originally Posted by EdFury View Post
Options are negotiable. Just because they want it free and for minimum doesn't mean you can't ask for more. No professional writer ever signs the first offer. Make a reasonable counter offer, or have an attorney do it for you. Writing is a business. Treat it like one.
Please read my answer-s to Ronaldihno - Fell free to comment them.
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Old 04-01-2018, 10:27 AM   #6
jsb235
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Default Re: When to accept an option?

Quote:
Originally Posted by slopnik View Post
I'm thousands of miles away from LA and have no idea how this works. And the sad fact is that I'm broke.

After six years busting my ass with this I can finally deliver stories that rock - hard-core.

Even I cannot believe what I am able to write today. I guess that old rule "the more you write, the better you'll get" is a true one.

What's the worst case scenario if I sing a contract without a lawyer to go through it - I could give away a script for nothing if producers screws me on it - not a biggie - I got dozens of them - and there are all the stories I still have to develop - It's a risk worth taking - for a nobody like me who started all this only as a test, to see if he can do it.
I think the advice you got of countering the offer is pretty solid. If $30k is a decent living wage for four years where you live, a $5k option would go a long way. And it doesn't hurt to at least ask. Plus, it would seem that if the producer is serious about your script, he can find the money.

I also live far away from Hollywood, and through luck more than talent have ended up facing some of the same decisions now in front of you. My advice would be to put some effort into finding an agent. If your writing is as good as you seem to think it is, finding a rep should not be difficult.

As far as the worst-case scenario for simply signing a deal that is put in front of you? I would imagine that it would be that you wrote something amazing which you pretty much gave away, and then found you couldn't repeat that success. That would be my worst-case scenario.
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Old 04-01-2018, 11:19 AM   #7
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Default Re: When to accept an option?

Quote:
Originally Posted by slopnik View Post
...What's the worst case scenario if I sing a contract without a lawyer to go through it - I could give away a script for nothing if producers screws me on it...
C'mon, it's not just the script, its what it eventually becomes.

You know that buyers know how to turn a script into a movie... and a TV series, and a graphic novel, and buttons and T-shirts etc. etc. etc. These are the things that the Guild (and unions everywhere) have been fighting for centuries to get a piece of.

But... you are prepared to give that away just to get a deal to boast about?

Think again.

The intellectual property that you, I and everyone else here writes and OWNS is worth a considerable amount.

So a producer can either come up with the bucks, or if s/he asks for something for free, they'll have to give away a strip of their hide in some other way.

In any event, you'd need an ent. attorney to be sure you're getting what you want - now AND in the future.

I don't know why I react like this... maybe it's the thought I feel as cool having an attorney at-hand, right now, as some of you may feel having a rep, or getting a deal at a zero-option. Each step has its value in the overall chain of events.
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Old 04-02-2018, 01:25 AM   #8
slopnik
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Default Re: When to accept an option?

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Originally Posted by jsb235 View Post
If $30k is a decent living wage for four years where you live, a $5k option would go a long way.
My problem is not the free option, but more the 18 months thing. I always thought the WGA minimum is meant for WGA members, which I'm not and never will be.

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Originally Posted by jsb235 View Post
My advice would be to put some effort into finding an agent. If your writing is as good as you seem to think it is, finding a rep should not be difficult.
I did that - it's a freaking mission impossible "too busy - only through a referral - I don't read unsolicited..." The producers, which I met through my last two pieces, have no real contacts in this department.

I forgot; I had to sign an NDA before the producer sent me his proposals. Does this NDA obstruct me in any way to discuss his option with attorneys/possible agents or managers?

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Originally Posted by jsb235 View Post
As far as the worst-case scenario for simply signing a deal that is put in front of you? I would imagine that it would be that you wrote something amazing which you pretty much gave away, and then found you couldn't repeat that success. That would be my worst-case scenario.
With me, it is the exact opposite. After 40 specs and multiple TV pilots I am now in that place where with every new title, I break another barrier when it comes to making an excellent story/character.

My biggest problem right now is time. With all the emailing, I barely find time for writing.

I had to turn down a producer from Australia who asked me to do a rewrite of dialogue in a script his company has been working on. I simply don't have time for that.

Last edited by slopnik : 04-02-2018 at 01:43 AM.
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Old 04-02-2018, 05:09 AM   #9
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Default Re: When to accept an option?

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Originally Posted by slopnik View Post
My biggest problem right now is time. With all the emailing, I barely find time for writing.
Me too! Marketing (emailing, website, etc.) has gone from 10% to, well, like you, 80% now. I haven't written a NEW spec in a year, and except for a 9-page short I wrote last November all I've been doing on the writing front is severe polishing of my older material. It's been a valuable exercise - I've reduced almost everything I've "touched" by about 10% of its original page length, among other cures and improvements - but it's not quite as fulfilling as new specs.

Your writing numbers are about the same as mine, too. So you're not alone.

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Originally Posted by slopnik View Post
I had to turn down a producer from Australia who asked me to do a rewrite of dialogue in a script his company has been working on. I simply don't have time for that.
Holy crow, me too! A guy in Australia, last Fall! I wonder if it's the same dude.

Again, you're not alone in what you're facing.
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Old 04-02-2018, 06:03 AM   #10
slopnik
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Default Re: When to accept an option?

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I haven't written a NEW spec in a year, and except for a 9-page short I wrote last November all I've been doing on the writing front is severe polishing of my older material.
My timeline is a bit different. I email for a month, in that time develop my next title which I write after I finish emailing. So, a script on every 40-45 days, or so.

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Originally Posted by catcon View Post
A guy in Australia, last Fall! I wonder if it's the same dude.
I don't know why producers buy/write scripts if they know they stink.

I had two producers who asked me (after they saw what heat my last two scripts got) to read their scripts.

One of them hit me with its logline - I changed it, so he doesn't get insulted if he reads this.

"Jennie went for a new life in town, unaware the road she took would take a wrong turn."

Something in the line of that. Complete bullshit. There's nothing in it that would make me even to touch a script written by someone who comes up with a logline like that.
On the other hand; mine loglines were also disasters back in the days - so I better shut up.

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Originally Posted by catcon View Post
Again, you're not alone in what you're facing.
Did you also get emails from producers with attachment that Gmail/your email provider labeled as infected?

It happened for the second time today. It could be, I hit some that had their emails hacked.
Mine is apparently not, 'cause if it were, I would be getting tons of those.
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