Q. A producer wants to me to write something, but I'm afraid it will step on a spec I wrote.
Negotiations don't have to be zero sum. The key is understanding what you most want and what the other person can give away without losing anything. For example, I reserve the print rights to my stuff when I option it. The print rights aren't worth much until a film or tv series is made, so the producer isn't going to fight too hard to keep them. (A studio might, for reasons of precedent.) Or, let's say you're optioning a TV show idea. You probably can't keep the movie rights for yourself. Not owning the feature rights would cut into a producer's upside something fierce. But, it will not cost the producer anything if you insist on writing the first draft of any eventual feature. Someone is going to have to write the first draft, and it might as well be you. After all, if they don't like it, they can always throw out your draft. If you're talking about a big budget feature, they may decide to hire Babaloo Mandel to rewrite for a million bucks. But in that case the lousy sixty g's they pay you for the contractual first draft won't significantly impact their bottom line. So I always ask for right of first refusal to write any feature based on a tv show I'm optioning.
As a writer, your goal is to get paid to write stuff. You don't need to own it. You just want to get paid to write it, and you want your name on it. Negotiate your deals so they get what they need and you get what you need.