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.
It worked for the Beatles I guess.
Let me clarify. If the buddy is a good writer, then yes, bring him in...like the Beatles bringing in new musicians.
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