Is My Buddy a Co-Writer?Complications Ensue
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Monday, March 23, 2009

Q. So I've written a story, written a screenplay and I've got it basically finished. Unfortunately I'm not really happy with some of the pacing and dialogue, so I've invited a friend to come in and retool with me. Would he generally get full co-writer credit despite the script having already been written when he came into the project?
If he does writing, he's a co-writer. If he gives you notes, and even a few ideas, he's just a story consultant. I've given "heavy notes" without expecting credit, but if I did a pass on the script, I'd have a claim to be a co-writer.

So you might want to ask him for in-depth notes, and try to fix the pacing and dialog yourself. The less actually writing your friend does, the less he's entitled to share writing credit.

Note that if a Guild-signatory production company hired you and the friend to rewrite your script, the situation would be more complicated, because then the credits are arbitrated according to each writer's contribution, and the credits could theoretically then be something like "Written by You and You & Guy." In practice you don't see credits like that, though.



And be careful writing something with a friend. Might be risking a friendship.

It works best when you each feel the other person is the better writer. Then you're always trying to top each other.

By Blogger Eric Myers, at 2:39 AM  

It worked for the Beatles I guess.

By Blogger Lokier, at 11:15 AM  

Let me clarify. If the buddy is a good writer, then yes, bring him the Beatles bringing in new musicians.

By Blogger Eric Myers, at 2:43 PM  

If I wrote a script, then invited a friend to come cowrite and fix it up, he changed everything, can I go back to my original and take it back? They were all my characters and concepts. He will not talk to me at all now. Is the script dead in the water or can I take it back? I registered it WGA after I wrote it. Then reregistered the second version with both our names on it. I do have proof the first one though was MINE. Help.

By Blogger dena mckinnon, at 2:11 PM  

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