YOU TRUST ME, BABY, DON'TCHA?Complications Ensue
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Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Q. I have now got an agent who is really enthusiastic about the project. I have one actor formally attached already, and today I'm meeting with an executive producer. But here is the catch. I think my agent wants to option the script, which is good and that's his job, but the executive producer would like to collaborate a bit more with me and he says he doesn't want to pay the agent for my script, instead I would be a sort of 'co-producer'.
Lessee. The agent works for you. He gets paid when you get paid.

The executive producer would like to "collaborate" with you, which means you'll do a lot of work and he'll read the script occasionally, and you would be a "sort of co-producer." Uh huh.

Of course the exec producer is going to say all sorts of stuff to avoid having to fork out money, and if a few words about "co-producing" (whatever that means) will prevent having to pay you, why not try?

It is a bad idea to work at cross-purposes with your agent. If you feel they are not working for you, find a new one and then fire your old one. But this agent is working for you -- finding directors who might be interested -- and trying to get you a money deal. I'm not saying you should let your agent make all the business decisions. Agents aren't interested in your creative control, for example. But you can trust them on the question of getting you paid.

And what the hell is a sort of co-producer? You're the writer. You're not a co-producer. A co-producer brings money, or someone else's script, or a piece of talent. In this context, "co-producer" means you write for free, and you'll get paid something or other if the movie ever shoots. Which 9 times out of 10, or 99 times out of 100, it won't.

I would trust the person who's going to benefit when you benefit, and not trust the person whose interests are contrary to yours. Every dollar the exec producer pays you, after all, is a dollar he doesn't get to spend on coke.


It's not as though with the option, the exec producer won't be "collaborating" with you anyway, right? There may be rewrites involved...and who better to collaborate with than the screenwriter? Let the collaborating begin once the option is secured. And let the suit deal with it.

By Blogger blosstonian, at 2:48 PM  

Bitter, Alex, bitter. But very accurate....

By Blogger Jon, at 1:01 AM  

So, I met with the exec. producer and he seemed sober at the time, but what do I know. I, though subtly, made it clear that we are working through my agent. Now, I need to see the paperwork. He, admittedly, is not a writer but he needs a script for this particular historical event he's been wanting to do a film on anyway. And I just so happen to have written it.
What do I expect next?
Can you give me an idea of what money to expect for a rewrite in ratio to other money for the project.
My agent is good and knows who's who in Hollywood, but is he trying to get the most he can for me or just enough? That's my question.

By Blogger Leesee, at 3:29 PM  

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