You've Just Sold a Screenplay -- Now Wait.By Myfilmproject09
One of the great misconceptions about selling screenplays is that everyone asks you when it'll be filmed... a week, a month?
The truth is it can be years.
What happens first is an option; a fee paid to the writer from the producer or production company of approximately 10% of the total price. Taking Writer's Guild minimums that would be 10% of $42,000 for a movie that will cost under $3 million, and $72,000 for bigger budgets.
A lot of new writers hear about hundreds of thousands of dollars for screenplays, even millions of dollars. That does happen, but just to a handful of writers. For the rest of us, it's basic scale, as mentioned above.
So how soon does your movie film so you can get the 90% owed to you. Well, my Christmas screenplay that Hallmark had read and liked took nearly 6 years. And this was a script that they liked! It sat around their offices for about 3 years and before that I was sending it around to companies who liked it but weren't sure if it could get made.
Hallmark held it for the last three years, not paying me anything, because they were still "looking at it". And then at the end of 6 years from the date I wrote it as a spec, I got a call from a woman who worked for a Canadian production company. They wanted to make it for Hallmark. And more importantly Hallmark wanted them to make the film.
In only 6 years.
Emperor of Mars was my first really good screenplay and I wrote it in 1989. Since then it's been optioned at least 7 times and actually almost made around 4 or 5 times. I never remember how many times exactly.
That's 24 years.
But wait longer;
I've heard of screenplays that have been hanging around even longer.
Last September, 2012, I optioned a screenplay called Chaser to a French film company in Paris. As of now, they might be making it next spring. But I'm not holding my breath.
And unfortunately, this is more common than not. So what's the reason? What's always the reason. No money. That was certainly the case in the 5 times Emperor was almost made. The deals fell through.
And there's another reason; the producers might want to work on it somemore. Or maybe they can't find the right director, or the network or studio wants someone else to rewrite it. And then the director doesn't like it and leaves. Or the lead actor has a better offer on another movie.
So selling a screenplay isn't exactly like selling your car; it's only the beginning of something that might not even sell. I've had a dozen options on a dozen screenplays that eventually just went away.
So why do I continue to stay in this crazy business.
Because it can and has happened to me at least 10 times.
And also because nobody told me that I should do something else with my life.
These articles might interest you :
Word-love flowers created by painted pages from Ambrose Bierce and Samuel Clemens. How I love these! Every once in a while I fall in love with one of the object... Read moreBy Juliejordanscott
DIARIES, SELF EXPRESSION
image credit: CitĂŠ nationale de l'histoire de l'immigration cc Dandies in Congo, emos in Iraq, electro-hillbilly truckers in Japan. No matter how har... Read moreBy Gerard
CULTURE, LIFESTYLE, TRAVEL
I don't make very good decisions. I mean, some of them don't cause a huge problem, but others...others do. This post, though, is just about one of those that... Read moreBy Tumbleweed4996
DIARIES, SELF EXPRESSION
Happy Valentine's Day, babes! I personally am not a fan of the "holiday" but I dig red, glitter love so I just go with it. Read moreBy Jessicavenoy
FASHION, SELF EXPRESSION
People (knowing I love art shows) are forever asking "Have you seen the Dali, the Hopper, the Titian, ah, you name it?" and at my age I feel like... Read moreBy Johntalbott
DESTINATIONS, DINING OUT, FOOD & DRINK, TRAVEL
Rare Clothing Company opened its doors at No.53 Dawson Street in October 2012 and I, quite shamefully, hadn't heard anything about it until January, and what I... Read moreBy Jr
FASHION, LIFESTYLE, SELF EXPRESSION
viaMany years ago, when I was 12 and barely tall enough to reach the mailbox, checking it on the way home from school was my sweet daily habit. Read moreBy Evg Enko
EXPAT, SELF EXPRESSION
MOST POPULAR FROM SELF EXPRESSION
- Ways To Save Money When Travelling As A Large Family by Sparklesandstretchmarks
- WHAT'S IN MY GROCERY SHOPPING CART ???? by Saumya Shiohare
- Spring Style: Cropped Flare Jeans by Thesamanthashow
- Healthy Eating Made Easy by Gentrilee