I'm new and I have a question...

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  • I'm new and I have a question...

    Hi everyone.

    I have been coming here for quite some time, and loving the endless amount of writing knowledge. I think this is the best screen writing site on the net and I cant wait to contribute, but I'm hesitant to post parts of my screenplay for fear that it could get stolen. Do you really think its safe to put your heart and soul onto a forum? I really want to get feedback and tell you guys my secrets to writing and vise versa, but seriously isn't it dangerous?
    Look into the cracks of the street and see the universe at your feet...

  • #2
    Re: I'm new and I have a question...

    Nope.
    Faster would be better! ~ Capt. Malcolm Reynolds

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: I'm new and I have a question...

      I concur.
      Craft maximises talent

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: I'm new and I have a question...

        Paranoia mode. The fact is, you'll never know for sure.

        Post pages anywhere and you'll notice the number of views far exceeds the number of comments received. Even if you take into account posters reading your responses, your reading their responses, etc. which pushes up the view count by a notch, there's still evidently a large number of unknown readers who say nothing but could be doing anything with your material, your ideas, your scenes. And they never post their own pages so there's no way of telling.

        This nutjob theory supposes that your material is worth stealing, which is another topic in itself.

        It also supposes those who might steal it have enough skill to do anything with it, regardless of how clever the source material is. If they have to hang around message boards trawling for ideas, how desperately bereft of talent must they be?

        Then again, if you really do have an incredible idea that by some unbelievable twist of fate hasn't been done before (what are the chances?) or your script is magnificent in other ways (color me impressed!) then keep it under your hat, hot eyes are watching you from the edge of the jungle. Otherwise, post away.

        Feeling better now?

        -Derek
        Derek's Web Page - stories, screenplays, novels, insanity.

        Nobody knows nothing, and I'm nobody.

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        • #5
          Re: I'm new and I have a question...

          If your idea is so good someone would steal it, you have the talent to write more good stuff.

          I'd worry less about someone stealing it than about whether it is good enough for someone to ever take the time to read completely.

          Of course, you can always stuff it into a hermetically sealed can and bury it in the back yard late at night. Nobody could steal it then.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: I'm new and I have a question...

            If your idea is so good someone would steal it, you have the talent to write more good stuff.
            I don't think that would be much of a comfort if you actually did have an idea stolen.

            And it's not a nutjob theory at all.

            It might be highly unlikely, but it ain't impossible. And if it happened, you'd most likely be screwed. It'd be hard to prevail in a lawsuit, even assuming you could afford to sue. You'd have to prove the person in question visited the site where you posted material, and -- even worse -- you'd have to prove the person in question didn't come up with the idea independently before you did. Which would pretty much mean proving that only you could've come up with the idea.

            I think there's zero chance that any producers or studios are trolling DoneDeal looking for ideas to steal. But you never know who else might be watching. An unscrupulous amateur might see a logline and think the idea was pretty damn good; better than anything he'd come up with before. And he might just beat you to the punch with a script, register it, and have the law on his side when you accused him of stealing it. He might not even think he was doing anything wrong; I've seen aspiring writers on this site say it's okay to steal an idea because it's "just an idea" -- not a script or treatment.

            The concept that all ideas are worthless because they're "just ideas," and only finished scripts have any actual value is wrong. It's a misconception that arises from the fact that you can't copyright a story idea and legally protect it; the law would only protect the execution of that idea, the script. Ideas that are truly original and unique are very few and far between, but they do happen, and they're worth guarding.

            If I had an idea for a romantic comedy about a pair of coworkers who start out hating each other and then fall in love, I wouldn't be afraid to post it publicly, because that's been done. Then again, I wouldn't bother to post it publicly, because the only thing that could possibly make that idea anything worth talking about would be the execution of a great script.

            On the other hand, I'd never post in public an idea I thought was really, truly original and special. Not because people are stealing ideas right and left, but because...it could happen.

            Paranoia is fearing something that could never possibly happen. Protecting your best, most original ideas isn't paranoia.

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            • #7
              Re: I'm new and I have a question...

              Locks only keep honest people honest. The only way to keep someone from stealling your work is to never write it at all. As soon as you put word to page, there's a chance someone will steal it.

              Either accept the risk or stop writing. Your choice.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: I'm new and I have a question...

                I think your question is valid and suspicion is a valid survival tool when swimming in the deep blue dangerous sea (kiss the mermaids, fear the sharks, share your songs fearlessly with the whales)

                I wouldn't give out any one-in-a-million unique ideas, no.

                But someday you will have to send your screenplay out to readers/agents/producers ... and THEY are even more able (if no more inclined) to STEAL if that is what lies in their dark evil souls.

                Maybe ... ask the questions you need to, but give away little of your actual story, if that concerns you? Make the question about "three nuns" instead of "three escaped, brain-enhanced laboratory-test penquins" etc?

                I dunno. I'm pretty new here too: people certainly have vast knowledge to share, and do so selflessly. So it may be worth trusting.

                'Trust ... but verify' -- Ronald Reagan
                sigpic
                "As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world -
                that is the myth of the atomic age - as in being able to remake ourselves."
                -Mahatma Gandhi.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: I'm new and I have a question...

                  Originally posted by refriedwhiskey
                  It'd be hard to prevail in a lawsuit, even assuming you could afford to sue. You'd have to prove the person in question visited the site where you posted material, and -- even worse -- you'd have to prove the person in question didn't come up with the idea independently before you did. Which would pretty much mean proving that only you could've come up with the idea...
                  I'm no lawyer(but I did have to take Comm Law in my screenwriting undergrad)

                  I think there's a little bit of a misconception here about copyright relative to ideas. It's not that it's much harder to prove your idea was stolen --legally an idea CAN'T be stolen. Without getting into the whole contract law/good faith that would make it possible to sue a prodco or other enitity for stealing an idea, the important point I just wanted to make is that you are not really seeing the meat-and-potatoes of what "ideas can't be copyrighted" means.

                  IDEAS CAN'T BE COPYRIGHTED/ IDEAS CAN'T BE STOLEN.

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                  • #10
                    Re: I'm new and I have a question...

                    If your idea isn't worth stealing, it's not worth writing, and you should toss it away and come up with something better. When you've got a concept you're really jealous of, write a draft and register it with the WGA and/or copyright it before posting it.

                    It's no guarantee that the idea won't get stolen anyway; but such measures are the only protection that we have even when it comes time to submit to the markets, so therefore it's the best we can do.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: I'm new and I have a question...

                      If you post five pages in the script pages forum and someone steals those five pages, it really doesn't do them a whole lot of good because they still have to come up with 95 other pages on their own.

                      The only fear of someone stealing your idea is if they do it better than you.

                      The truth is the only way you're going to get any better is to show your work to people who know what they're talking about.

                      So. Be smart (only share copyrighted material) and dive right in.

                      Welcome to the shark tank.
                      "So I guess big parts of our youth are supposed to suck. Otherwise we'd get too attached and wake up one day trapped on a hamster wheel that used to look like a merri-go-round." - Hal Sparks

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                      • #12
                        Re: I'm new and I have a question...

                        I think we've all felt that way at one time or another, that someone would take
                        our story and run with it before we set our mark, then comes the horrid truth:
                        Usually our first stories suck. Not worth stealing because the characters are
                        under developed, inner conflict nonexistant, outer conflict not pefected, etc.

                        Posting pages helps in this way: You learn your dialogue sucks, your pacing is
                        off, your settings muddled, your characters - way to many of them... you
                        learn what you didn't want to hear - your script sucks.

                        Feedback brings us back to reality, that we have a ways to go in our writing
                        skills. I say post some pages. Get some feedback. Worry 'bout stealing when
                        you make it, if you make it.

                        Charli

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                        • #13
                          Re: I'm new and I have a question...

                          Exactly. Worrying about having a brilliant idea stolen is a vital part of the early development of a screenwriter. It usually falls between step 4 ("I suck, I should just give this up!") and step 6 ("I suck, I should just give this up!"). Soon, you'll be a veteran --on step 86 ("I suck, I should just give this up!").

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: I'm new and I have a question...

                            New screenwriters tend to be too paranoid about getting their stuff stolen. Sure, you don't post your golden high concept idea in the Loglines section if you haven't written it yet. But there's still a chance your golden high concept idea will turn up on the Sales page even if you don't tell a soul about it. Because other people might come up with the same idea you did without ever coming in contact with you, your work, or anyone familiar with you or your work. That's just life.

                            Post a few pages, see what people say. Nobody's going to steal a few pages.


                            Originally posted by tabula rasa
                            'Trust ... but verify' -- Ronald Reagan
                            That's a Russian proverb that Reagan took a liking to.
                            "Your intuition knows what to write, so get out of the way.-
                            ― Ray Bradbury

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                            • #15
                              Re: I'm new and I have a question...

                              Originally posted by whistlelock
                              The only way to keep someone from stealling your work is to never write it at all. As soon as you put word to page, there's a chance someone will steal it.
                              Well, no. There's not, unless they break into your home and steal the page.

                              The idea is to be sure you know and trust who's seeing your ideas. You can't do that on a public message board. But you can protect yourself by only sharing your ideas with people you can reasonably trust: friends; writers you know; agents, producers, and studios you know to be legitimate.

                              Protecting your intellectual property doesn't mean never showing it to anyone. And there's a huge difference between showing it to people you can trust and showing it to the entire world.
                              Last edited by refriedwhiskey; 07-29-2005, 11:15 AM.

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