As I write this, I’m in the middle of negotiations to write another screenplay for the company that optioned and produced Running Away. This time I’m having an attorney look at the contract.
She immediately warned me that the company is known for making movies “down and dirty” as cheap as possible, and that while she could read the contract and give me advice, she couldn’t negotiate for me because the only union they deal with is SAG. However, they do produce and sell a lot of movies.
She advised me to think about whether I want to focus on the short or long term before hiring her to analyze the contract.
Well, she didn’t tell me anything I hadn’t figured out already. I know the contract they’ve offered is not reasonable by WGA standards. She’s looking over the contract.
But I did stop to consider her point: Will working for this company work against me in the long run?
Does it mean I’m a hack incapable of writing quality scripts? No. It means I want the validation of being paid for writing, even if it’s not the best pay.
Will other people decide it means I’m a hack incapable of writing quality scripts? Maybe, but if they take a closer look, they’ll see some benefits:
- It shows I’m not a prima donna – I understand the final product is a collaborative effort and my words are not sacrosanct.
- It shows I can get rewrites done and back in a timely fashion – or they wouldn’t ask me to do a second script.
I also consider it an opportunity to practice my craft and improve on it:
- I’ll analyze each script against the movie to learn more about what works – as I already have done here with Running Away.
- I’ll be practicing writing for a specific audience, which is a good exercise for any writer.
So, while accepting this contract may work against me somewhere along the line, I believe I can sell it as a positive growth experience if I do a few more movies for this company.
Sheri McGuinn at Gold Country Writers Six-Author Event! Official release.
Event date: Sunday, March 25, 2018 – 1:00pm to 4:00pm Event address: FACE IN A BOOK, 4359 Town Center Blvd #113, El Dorado Hills, CA 95762