Maryam Rahimi Blogs!
Continued from 'How To Be A Producer' Readings by Lawrence Turman
'Be sure to put every deal in writing, no matter how much you trust the other person. They could be struck by lightning that very night, and you would have no proof that you legally control your desired object"
"you may think you only want the movie rights, but the deal better cover videocassettes, DVD's, television paid and free TV, and more, in every country in the world. Just to be safe, lawyers now put in language to cover any means of transmitting images that have not yet been invented, and beaming to planets not yet inhabited."
"The way its usually done is to take an 'option' on the motion pictures rights for a certain length of time, rather than trying to acquire the story outright"
"You want to make sure the option includes all motion-picture and television rights, and for as long a time period as possible. The owner almost always keeps print publication and live performances on stage and radio for himself. The option payment is applied against the purchase price, if you choose to pick up an option and make your movie. If you don't pick up your option, the owner keeps the option money, and you have no hold on the property. It's smart also to negotiate for additional extension time."
"As an inducement to get a free or inexpensive option, you can be generous about the actual purchase price. You want the seller to feel that there will be a pot of gold at the end of his rainbow. I feel it doesn't much matter if your film's budget if $3,025,000 instead of $3,000,000 as opposed to $27,000,000 if extra $25,000 or $100,000 you offer the writer gets paid only when the film is made, it enables you to tie up control of the story you love."
"Even if you envision a minuscule budget of, say, under a million dollars, it doesn't matter how much whether the author gets paid $5,000, $10,000, or even more for an option. A flexible rule of thumb is that you should spend 5 percent of the total budget for the story rights and screenwriter combined....start low enough to give yourself room to maneuver ad raise if necessary to close the deal."
MAKING IT YOUR OWN
"If you can think up an idea, it's yours for free and forever. It nonetheless pays to protect yourself by registering the idea with the Writers Guild, or at least writing it down and sending it in a registered letter to yourself, never unsealing it unless you have to prove legally that someone has stolen your idea."
Coming up, how to develop your script.