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Old 04-17-2007, 02:58 PM   #1
lvstndup
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Default HELP on options

I just received an offer for an option on the feature length script I wrote. I'm having my lawyer look at the legal aspects but the money seems low ($400.00 for option, $4000.00 for script, $20K if it gets made into a film). I know I'm a new writer and this is a smaller prod co who but should I just assume this is a first offer and ask for more money? Should I reject entirely? Should I jump at the chance because this may be my shot at the brass ring? HELPPPPPPPP
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Old 04-17-2007, 03:12 PM   #2
Bellabell
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Default Re: HELP on options

What is the budget of the film?
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Old 04-17-2007, 03:19 PM   #3
lvstndup
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Default Re: HELP on options

I don't know what his estimated budget is, he said this is their standard low budget option agreement. It's my baby of course so I think it could be a major film but the short only cost me $1800.00 to shoot.
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Old 04-17-2007, 04:06 PM   #4
BROUGHCUT
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Default Re: HELP on options

Quote:
Originally Posted by lvstndup View Post
$400.00 for option, $4000.00 for script, $20K if it gets made into a film).
they only have to pay you $4400.00

What's stopping them from declining to pay the $20K? You would have to sue for breach of contract, which is nowhere near as open and shut as copyright infringement.

With an option, the producers can do everything short of going before the cameras -- they can develop the script, package the movie and secure distribution (technically -- in practice, may not be so simple? Someone may have better input.).

It's something to discuss with your rep but it would make more sense to strip as much off the backend as possible--divvy the $4k up into option and renewal fees and get as much of the $20k in the actual exercise price as you can. You have them over a barrel until they exercise the option, but once they own the copyright you are in a much weaker position.

Restructuring it along these lines makes things considerably less risky for you while not hiking up the producer's exposure -- if you were prepared to sell the script out-right for $4k, I assume you'd be happy with $4k for a two year option period (including renewals). Assuming the producers are being honest about the $20k production bonus, this restructured deal would only start to cost them additional money once the two years are up --- at which point, they would need to exercise, or pay more for a further renewal.

Does that make any sense? Something you can suggest to your rep, at least.

I'd also look at arranging a six-figure set-up bonus, in the event they take the project to a studio.
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