Tag Archives: writing

11 more things to think about when negotiating your screenplay option

Got an offer to option your screenplay? Here are eleven terms you should know when talking to your attorney.

[See PART I - 10 things to think about when optioning your screenplay]

Okay, so you’ve gotten an option offer, you’ve thought about the 10 things, and you still want to do it. Now it’s time to talk to your attorney, and make some decisions about the negotiation points. Your attorney is going to toss some notes back to you for consideration, and chances are these things are going to be included. (There’ll be lots more than this… from simple typos to wholesale rewrites. But these are the top contenders for “things I think you should know”.)

Ask your attorney to spend some time with you to explain what they mean in the context of your deal… but here’s my take, based on my experience.

DISCLAIMER: I shouldn’t have to say this, but: I Am Not A Lawyer, I am not offering legal advice, and none of the numbers used as examples here should be considered recommendations or as examples of my personal previous contracts (which are none of your beeswax ;) ). They are provided as  hypothetical examples only. Talk to your own attorney about your particular deal. Continue reading

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i will not read your fucking script but if i read your fucking script appreciate my fucking feedback

A History of Violence screenwriter Josh Olson seems kinda pissed.

Apparently he gets asked to read a lot of scripts.

Apparently most of them are crap.

And apparently nobody really wants his honest feedback.

So he wrote a scathing essay over at The Village Voice, outlining just how much this all sucks. Continue reading

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no nicholl for you!

Did I mention? Both scripts were turned down by the Nicholl.

I was heartbroken.

Well, no, not really. But a little disappointed. It does feel good to be in the majority, though. From the Nicholl:

With a record number of entries and a readily apparent increase in quality, this year’s Nicholl Fellowships was more competitive than in any previous year.  Now that scores have been tallied for all 6,380 entries, we have to inform too many writers of scripts featuring compelling stories, intriguing characters and excellent craft that they have not advanced into the next round.  Regrettably, Grampa Was A Superhero was not one of the 321 entries selected as a Quarterfinalist in the 2009 Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting.

You should realize that while we strive to make the evaluation of screenplays as objective a process as possible, it is inherently both a personal and an extremely subjective matter.  A lack of success here may not have any bearing on your reception in the marketplace where a sale is the ultimate measure of success.  I’ll even venture a prediction: several non-advancing writers will become professional screenwriters in the near future.

To tell you a little about the process: each script was read once.  After receiving an initial positive evaluation, over 2,700 scripts garnered a second read.  Just under 800 scripts were read a third time.  Each read resulted in a numerical score being awarded.  Scores for each entrant’s script were totaled, and the Quarterfinalists were selected on the basis of highest scores.

Since then I talked to a friend who talked to an L.A. reader, who said:

Yeah, Nicholl. We’ve met finalists before. Nothing seems to happen for them. They’re in the same boat. Good script, looking for work…

Then talked to another good friend who has quarterfinaled in the Nicholl twice. His comment (to paraphrase):

Yeah, it didn’t do anything for me. Maybe ten requests to see the scripts, nothing came of it, here I am.

Me, I’m so glad I couldn’t reach those grapes. They look so sour.

Maybe they’ll be ripe next year.

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diary of a studio reader

Liz Maccie, studio reader, has a nice list of professional insights over at the BOSI site

About two and a half years ago, I got the wonderful opportunity to become a “reader” for a studio, think mouse house. I continue to work for them under a freelance status and absolutely love my job.

Being a reader means you literally read materials such as scripts, novels, and teleplays. Then you write up “coverage,” entailing a synopsis of the plot as well as an analysis of the story elements.

Finally, you either recommend the piece for further consideration or pass on the material. All in all, it is a fantastic fun job that has made me, hands down, a better writer, simply because absorbing stories on a daily basis has helped sharpen my tools for defining story.

After reading literally hundreds of scripts, here are some tid-bits that may be of value to you on your journey to becoming a produced writer.

more…

My favorite: Tid-bit #2: Create and maintain genuine friendships.

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making the short list in the john august scene writing challenge

scene_challengeA few days ago, John August announced his latest scene writing challenge. It’s kind of like one of those 24-hour filmmaking challenges, except you don’t have to actually make a movie… just write one. And not even a whole movie… just a scene or sequence. Simple, right?

John has done these a few times before. Each one garners more and more responses, from more and more good writers.

There were 145 entries for the Superheroic Scene Challenge, and some of them were looooong. Printed out, they totaled 406 pages. Going side-by-side shrunk it to a still-ridiculous 203. Continue reading

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