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    An author I know, has a producer contact (I searched him, he's legit, worked on some big projects) that wants to see her book turned into a screenplay. I want to offer to write and outline for free if she'll set up a meeting between the producer and I to pitch the idea in the hopes that he'll option the book from her (real money for her) and hire me to write it (real money for me). I'm wondering if you guys think this is a smart move on my part, or if maybe I should approach this differently. Your comments are much appreciated.


  • #2
    I'd just say something like "I really liked this book. I want to be involved in turning this book into a movie. Please let me write the screenplay. We'll pitch it to a producer."

    Then after she agree's, clearly discuss the disbursment of funds between the two of you. Leave no chance of misunderstandings.


    • #3
      It's not that easy. There's a producer involved, and then there are agents representing the writer and the producer alike. If a producer has optioned the film rights (or bought them outright) you can be fairly sure he or she has a writer in mind, or has every intention of going to someone he or she knows, and whose previous work indicates that the adapter will do a good job of it.

      It's exceptionally difficult for an unproduced--I'm making an assumption here--screenwriter to insert himself into a process like this that's already underway.


      • #4
        Here's a potential approach (though it really depends on how good of a friend this author is):

        Option the rights to the book from her. Then, write a treatment for the adaptation and have her set up the meeting.

        The sticky part here is that, naturally you won't be paying as much for the rights as Producer Guy would if he made an offer. So she'd be selling you the rights with the faith that if you shared your proceeds with her, it would still work out to a reasonable amount. You could even rig it so that if this one pitch doesn't work out, the rights revert to her and she can sell them independently, if she wants.

        Actually, now that I think about it, you're kinda screwing her in that scenario. Never mind.


        • #5
          Another point to be made is that "producers" with an interest to option are sometimes the potential adaptors themselves. I had a producer come along and option one of my novels. He was also the writer, worked like a devil to put this thing together, and before everything fell apart, we had a director, talent attached and enough funding to set a start date for the shoot.


          • #6
            If your first communication with this producer is in writing, please have a professional proofread your correspondence first. Your grammar and punctuation skills are less than ideal.

            You want to make a good first impression. Don't blow it.