« Austin Film Festival Wrapup | Main | Scattershot »

October 24, 2008

Could this be a good thing?

A producer called me today after having finished reading THE KINGDOM OF TOVENRAY and HER 14TH MISSION. She was very excited, and loved both of them. She's just now leaving her former production company and teaming with another exec from other companies to form a new one.

Anyway, I'm meeting with both of them on Wednesday to discuss where to go from here. She said they both already can see HER 14TH MISSION on the screen, and have a real vision for it. And she said if I'm close to signing with an agent or a manager I might as well put it off for a week or two so I won't have to share the money I'll get from these scripts. That's pretty much an admission that she's going to make an offer... I would think.

Now, not one to want to get suckered (and susceptible to it because I'm an optimist!), I know that maybe she doesn't want me to get that manager just yet because they might push for a better deal. However, I don't feel like she's trying to trick me because she said, "You will want to be sure to have a good lawyer to look over it for you, though." And I'd like to think that we're kind of friends now. (See, that optimist thing again.) And she said she can already tell I'm a writer she'd like to work with a lot because of the unique voice and the storytelling range I displayed in the two scripts she's read. (I also have a weakness for those who like to compliment me.)

There is also the dilemma of selling the option to a script that is currently being read by many people around town... to a brand new production company with no track record. They could conceivably present the project badly to the studios around town and get passes from all of them, killing its chances of actually getting made. And while money is and would certainly be nice... I'm writing films to see them on the screen.

So now I have to start figuring out how much they can offer me for an option that is worth that risk. I'm not sure of the number, to be honest! And with companies expressing interest, I just don't know exactly what I should do.

I guess it's a nice problem to have, though.

Posted by jason on October 24, 2008 11:47 PM

Comments

sorry, but don't agree. a problem is a problem. terrible, jase, just terrible.

:-)

Posted by: Jessica on October 25, 2008 12:10 AM

Awesome.

Posted by: Jonathan Latshaw on October 25, 2008 02:07 AM

What to do, what to do...I'm sure you'll make just the right decision, Jase...you've got a pretty good head on your shoulders! Plus, you have the added bonus of lots of built-in fans in your family and friends, and we are a praying bunch...we've got your back! (That's not too hokey a thing to say, is it? Even if it is, I don't care, because it's true, I will certainly be praying for God's best for you!)

(I actually did NOT intend to rhyme just now!)

Posted by: kathiek on October 25, 2008 09:12 AM

What to do, what to do...I'm sure you'll make just the right decision, Jase...you've got a pretty good head on your shoulders! Plus, you have the added bonus of lots of built-in fans in your family and friends, and we are a praying bunch...we've got your back! (That's not too hokey a thing to say, is it? Even if it is, I don't care, because it's true, I will certainly be praying for God's best for you!)

(I actually did NOT intend to rhyme just now!)

Posted by: kathiek on October 25, 2008 09:12 AM

I will give you $10 for it.

Cash.

Posted by: SnakeMan on October 25, 2008 11:30 AM

I kind of fear that will be the offer.

Posted by: jason on October 25, 2008 11:31 AM

but at least without an agent ALL $10 will be yours...

Posted by: Jessica on October 25, 2008 04:35 PM

out of all the scripts you've done, which are your "favorites?" Or I guess what I mean is, which ones are you really itching to see up on screen? Obviously it would be nice if everything you've ever written gets made, but just curious if you feel very strongly about certain ones. I know I would really love to see Tovenray.

Posted by: Anonymous on October 25, 2008 08:28 PM

ok anonymous, you really have my curiosity piqued because I haven't really had many people even read Tovenray so I'm really wondering who you are...

Now it's difficult for me, because I don't really write a movie unless I want to see it on the screen. The whole process is extremely visual for me, I do kind of see and hear it while I'm writing it and really really want to have that actually happen for each of them.

Really, I HAVE to believe these films belong on the big screen or why would people who have no investment in it want to see it. But if you really pressed me... I guess I would say (right now).

HER 14th MISSION because I want to see this character of Harriet Tubman come alive, and there are moments I just need to see and hear, and because in the hands of the right director and cast I truly do believe it could be Oscar caliber.

TOVENRAY because I created a whole world and I want to see it come to life, and there are just many many moments that I'm dying to see on the screen.

WELL ADJUSTED BOY because of the unfiltered emotion at the end, and there is just this moment between Laurent and Talayah on the back of a car transport as it's driving down the highway that I need to experience in the theater.

BLACK FAMILY SINGERS because the script makes me laugh and I know that watching the actors inhabit these roles will be heaven on earth.

THE BLACK DEATH because of the style, the set pieces, and the awesome visuals of much of the action.

So you got me down to 5, and that's a pretty deep cut considering I have 7 that I really like, and have written 9 in all. Sadly, 2 of mine are "my lost scripts." They have no hope in this world.

WHO ARE YOU ANONYMOUS, I'M DYING TO KNOW!

Posted by: jason on October 25, 2008 11:38 PM

I think Lyric is anonymous.;)

Hey, Jase.....once you sell your 1st screenplay are you an official screenwriter? When can I tell people that with authenticity?

I remember being on the airplane with a huge guy next to me telling me that he was a screenwriter, had written 100s of things, but had actually not ever sold anything (he admitted that after I asked him.) To me that meant he wasn't really a screenwriter. So how does that work?

Posted by: Mom on October 26, 2008 06:44 AM

You can call me an official screenwriter now! I've placed in the most elite fellowship competition and the most elite exclusive program in the world!

But yeah, you can REALLY call me one once I make a sale, if you want to be persnickety about it.

Posted by: jason on October 26, 2008 11:40 AM

Don't know how i found this blog -- google, I guess. But I actually have been through that exact situation. You should sign with a trusted manager or agent first. Trust me.

The fact that she would even bring that up is somewhat of a red flag. A reputable producer should never discuss the terms of the deal directly with the writer under any circumstance.

There's no rush. If one producer likes it, so will another. Wait for a good manager to come on board. If they are passionate, they will wait.

Posted by: Jason M on October 26, 2008 09:21 PM

Wow. Jason M's comment makes a lot of sense to me. And whatever you must pay a manager/agent will probably be exceeded by the additional value he/she gets for your work. Guess there are good reasons for them in the industry.

Great lead.

Posted by: Pop on October 27, 2008 09:47 AM

Congrats on all the interest. But, you're putting the cart before the horse. Even though it'd be great to get a nice chunk of change for an option agreement, as a new writer with no track record (except for contests) and no other active bidders for the project, no producer in their right mind will offer option money. Nobody wants to spend money they don't have to spend and negotiating against yourself is spending money you don't have to spend. They will bring you in, give you tons of notes, offer to guide you through the rewrite process and then shop it to their contacts, all for the grand total of no money...but tons of experience and the hope and a prayer that they'll set it up. I know dozens of sold writers with produced credits who go through this all the time. Maybe your situation will be different; maybe not. You should be prepared for both. Also, you greatly weaken your ability to negotiate by publicly stating the facts of the situation for all in hollywood to see. If I read your post and I was one of the producers invovled, I'd walk away as fast as I could. It's a breach of trust. You'd be wise to show some restraint. Welcome to Hollywood.

Posted by: Anonymous, too on October 27, 2008 03:56 PM

hey I definitely don't want to weaken my position so help me understand exactly what is a breach of trust... I didn't name the producer or the production company by name.

I hear you on the money. I wouldn't even be thinking it if she hadn't mentioned it.

Posted by: Jason on October 27, 2008 06:13 PM

Jason - I didn't read your whole script, just your treatment of it that you posted on here awhile back, but even that was enough detail to get me really interested in seeing how that would play out on the screen. I think it just really came to life in my imagination because you used the names of your children in it, and I could just picture them in that story. I have a six year old boy too, so I'm always looking for movies that we can enjoy together. I'm definitely going to look for the DVD you mentioned that your kids won't watch because of the funny/yucky title.

It would be fun to read the whole Tovenray script though ... I don't have any money to offer you for it ;-)

Posted by: Anonymous on November 3, 2008 09:09 PM

Post a comment




Remember Me?

(you may use HTML tags for style)