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Complications Ensue:
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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Here's a nice little article in LA PRESSE on our march yesterday. Attention, c'est en français. The writer put me a bit on the spot as the writer of Bon Cop:
Le principe est le suivant: quand il y a un grand succès, il faut que les créatifs en aient une partie, croit Alex Epstein, l'un des scénaristes de Bon Cop, Bad Cop. Je ne me plains pas, mais le succès de Bon Cop, Bad Cop arrive aussi après les autres boulots que je fais.
When you've had a success, it's awkward to complain that you haven't been adequately rewarded. And I have no complaints -- Bon Cop has been good to me.

But not directly. I don't share in the DVD sales of the film. My payoff is that more people want to hire me to write stuff, for higher pay. I got paid on BON COP based on its budget.

Moral issues aside, this is inefficient. The next thing I write almost certainly won't do as well as BON COP, but I'll get paid more for writing it. There are lots of screenwriters whose quote depends on one hit; am I necessarily better than another guy who didn't luck into a writing gig on a movie with a great concept, great star package, brilliant director, hardy producer, etc.?

Who's heard of the BLAIR WITCH creators since? They haven't done anything outstanding; people keep hiring them hoping lightning will strike.

It just makes more economic sense to pay people for their successes rather than for the things they do after their successes.

(The Blair Witch guys did clean up economically, but that's because they also produced their movie.)

Which is where residuals come in. If your show runs endlessly on TV or the Internet, if it sells more DVDs than tickets, you should get a real piece of that success. Then you'll write not only for the theatrical release; you'll write for the DVD. You'll make your stories richer because it'll put money in your pocket to do it. Or you'll take more risks because Internet is all about niche marketing.

If your show drops out of sight after opening weekend, you should get a cup of that oblivion. Just like the studio and the producer.

N'est-ce pas?

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I think the word you're looking for here is "partnership."

Partners always participate in the success or failure of any endeavor they undertake.

By Blogger Bill Cunningham, at 10:17 PM  

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