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Complications Ensue:
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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

I occasionally read and critique scripts, and when I do, if the script gets produced, I ask for a Story Consultant credit somewhere in the end credits. A reader wrote in to say that this is unfair because it might make the script harder to sell, and I should amend my critiquing deal to say that if the purchaser doesn't want to give me a credit, they don't have to:
Unless the writer is financing the film, you could be adversely affecting a sale for them. If a producer purchases the property, they may not want your name in the end credits, and the writer may not know better than to sign the contract with you, thinking there won't be a problem.
Of course a clause that says someone doesn't have to give you something if they don't feel like it is legally equivalent to no clause at all.

I was a bit surprised that someone would feel that an end credit was such a burden on a script. The end credits of a movie these days contain hundreds of names, including accountants, negative cutters, and the caterer's assistant. No one seems to think those workers' names are a burden on a movie. Why would a story consultant credit be a burden?

I can't help feeling this has something to do with the overall feeling so many people in the biz have that writers aren't really working, they're doing what they love, and they should be grateful for any opportunity they get.

My feeling, though, is that if my comments, which are based on working in the biz for 16 years, help get a script to the point where a producer would want to buy it, then I should get a credit much as I would get a credit if I were a story editor on a TV episode or a rewriter who made substantial contributions to a feature script. When I do story consulting for producers, none has ever objected to my getting a story consultant credit.

Well, this is why we have contracts... and why I stick with my Writer's Guild. It reminds us, as much as producers, that what we do is actually skilled work.
I'm not a lawyer, but I am a writer, and I'm sure neither of us like to see other writers get screwed (even inadvertantly). Thanks for considering this.
Well, sure. But I think that what I do is valuable, and when I work on a story, I like to get a credit for it, so people know I've done it. The last writer I want to see screwed is myself. And credits are what my career is made up of.

Anybody see it differently?


I know several film and TV writers who will do this..but they also tend to forward the script to an agent if they feel that the subsequent drafts, following their comments/suggestions, are quality material.

So the credit is for the comments and for them sending it into the pipeline, so to speak.

Doesn't seem to much to ask for as long as the writer is aware of the deal before hand, and you give lengthy and substantial analysis beyond what one might get from any run of the mill "script doctor".

I'd assume that you if anyone has a problem with it then they should just go somewhere else, or improve it on their own.

By Blogger CharlieDontSurf, at 2:36 AM  

Excuse me, but how can it make a script harder to sell if the name is in the end credits of a film that's already BEEN sold and produced? I've never read a script yet that listed gaffers and hair stylists on page 121 --

By Blogger MaryAn Batchellor, at 2:26 PM  

Seems like a perfectly reasonable request to me.

By Blogger Fun Joel, at 11:52 AM  

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