Monday, January 5, 2009
Is Your New Year's Resolution to Sell Your Script???
New Years is a great time to renew your resolve to sell your script. Here’s a couple of tips to keep you from getting taken to the cleaners on the way to the red carpet:
Requiring money up front – SCAM
If ANYONE tells you they are interested in your script but they need you to pay ANY kind of fee up front to represent you or your project, run to the nearest exit. The most common one I’ve heard of is when an agent or manager requires you get your script covered by a “certified reader” for a fee. I’ve been doing this a long time and I’ve never heard of such a thing as a “certified reader”.
It’s not unusual or out of line for an agent or manager to ask you to give a synopsis of your script before they’ll consider your material. They may even give you a few names as suggestions of readers to use. What a legitimate company WON’T do is refuse to consider a synopsis SOLELY based on the fact that it doesn’t come from a “certified reader”. If they do run, don’t walk, to the nearest exit.
Asking for a free option – NOT A SCAM
It’s perfectly legitimate for a producer to ask for a free option on your script. Just be sure to give them a LIMITED free option – 6 months is a typical amount of time but you may want to make it shorter. For instance, if it’s about the Olympics or a “true” predicted natural disaster, then time might be more of a factor. If they want to keep pitching the script after the option runs out, make them pay some kind of fee.
The producer may also want you to address notes for free. That gets into sticky territory. They are honestly trying to get the script in the best possible shape to sell; you have to decide if their notes really make it better. If so, you’ve just gotten free script notes, be happy. If their notes don’t make any sense, it’s time to consider whether they’re the right people to be involved in your script in the first place. Even if they sell it, will they keep your vision of the story or turn your brilliant take on “Santa Clause V” into a horror movie? Are you willing to go there for mere money? Only you can decide....