Ethics

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  • DesireeB
    Guest replied
    Re: Disclaimers

    1. Speilberg didn't steal E.T. Melissa Mathison sued Universal over merchandising royalties. I think it had to do with how detailed her description of E.T. was in the original screenplay. I do not know how the case ended up. I think there was a settlement.
    2. TV shows like Law & Order use real life incidents all the time. They change the names and locations. An entertainment lawyer would be a better source to tell you what the fine line is in this type of situation.

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  • Zup Dog
    Guest replied
    Disclaimers

    What about the use of disclaimers i.e. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is coincidental...

    Didn't Spielberg steal E.T.?

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  • GirlinGray
    Guest replied
    You have to aquire rights from them if you want to tell their story. Their specific story, fact for fact, using their name and life events. If you just want to write a story inspired by events someone told you about, using your own characters you create in a plot you made up, well you don't have to pay anyone for that. That is something you made up.

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  • greg
    Guest replied
    Most of the comments in this thread concern a situation where someone tell a writer they have an idea for a movie. However, what if someone tells you their life story, or let's say, one summer or one year out of their life, and you want to make it into a movie. Don't you have to aquire the rights from them in order to adapt their "story" into a script?

    greg

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  • DesireeB
    Guest replied
    Re: Ethics, or no ethics

    GiG: Could be CM was making it up. He was telling some pretty crazy stories about one of his employers, and how he told them off the same night.

    re: LSAT

    Now, I know why I never wanted to be a lawyer. I could never pass the LSAT.

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  • PteranoDon
    Guest replied
    LSAT answer

    Sharks

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  • GirlinGray
    Guest replied
    Re: Ethics, or no ethics

    Um, usually the names change first, the story second.

    CM has got to be making that up. I heard the Keyser Soze legend in grade school. But who knows.

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  • DesireeB
    Guest replied
    Re: The names have been changed to protect the idiots.

    Answer: Leeches
    Vampires
    The Red Cross

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  • PteranoDon
    Guest replied
    The names have been changed to protect the idiots.

    If the names are fictional, change them. In fact, if there's anything left of his original idea and you can get rid of it, do. None of this matters until you start making money. Once there's a pile of money on the table, anything goes. By then, it may not be your problem.

    Money is to lawyers as blood is to ___________.

    (Question from the LSAT)

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  • DesireeB
    Guest replied
    Re: Ethics, or no ethics

    According to Christopher McQuarrie he really knew a guy with the name Keyser Soze. He told him he would one day use his name in a script. I would keep it if it's a great name. For secondary characters I often use friends' names. They love it.
    Desi

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  • Zup Dog
    Guest replied
    Re: Ethics, or no ethics

    In response to Jack's question. Not Yet, but I see it coming. I wrote a script using the name of the principle character and his mother, his occupation and some of the premise. The person that had the original idea even said to me, after reading the script, there's nothing left but hi name.

    Should I change the character's name?

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  • GirlinGray
    Guest replied
    Re: Ethics, or no ethics

    Never turn in a script without a contract and commencement fee. Never ever. Sigh.

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  • DesireeB
    Guest replied
    Re: Ethics, or no ethics

    Julian,
    Your story illustrates how important it is to have an agent, manager or lawyer working for you. Also remember this phrase - money upfront and a step deal. Learn it, love it, remember it. Plus, it helps if you only deal with WGA signatory companies. If you call the WGA they will let you know the status of a company.

    WGAw: Signatories
    323/782-4514

    Desi

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  • Julian7
    Guest replied
    Ethics, or no ethics

    About a year ago, I was contacted by a producer, who had an idea and asked me to write a script. He had a few characters, and a basic premise, but no story or plot whatever. He promised to pay me, and I put two months into what became a script I was very proud of. I sent it to him, and he sent me a contract for the option and sale. Within a few weeks after he received the script, however, he stopped returning my calls and e-mails, and needless to say he never signed the contract or paid me a dime. He has since disappeared. I went through a legal support group for writers and tried to contact him, but it was no use, and I finally got the WGA-registration on the script, which of course I'll never sell because he had the "rights" to the story. I believe I performed professionally for this person and was ripped off, providing him with a shootable script for nothing. His ethics were lacking.

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  • DesireeB
    Guest replied
    I have a friend who is an actress. I loosely based a character on her in one of my scripts. I even took the gist of an argument she had with her boyfriend and put it in. One of my screenwriting teachers told me that no one ever recognizes themselves in your script. If they think they do, it's always the wrong character. Anyway, she read the script and gave me her feedback. All's well, right? A few days later though, she said "By the way, about your script, I think you're a soul sucker." I was shocked, we never spoke about it again and we're still friends, and she never asked me for any money. The point is - no you do not owe anyone money for planting the seed, when they metion something in conversation and no your friends can't sue you for using aspects of them in a script. Where do these people think we get our ideas anyway?

    Thanks for an interesting topic.
    Desi
    P.S. the above mentioned friend has been one of the most supportive and after all this actually set up a reading of one of my scripts with her theatre group. She was also the first to really believe in me and bought me Scriptware when I was first starting.

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