Added on Might 14, 2019
Greenberg Group , Randy Greenberg , The Meg
Randy Greenberg is an Government Producer of The Meg and Cowboys & Aliens and previous studio senior leisure government; founding father of The Greenberg Group, a worldwide entertainment funding and content strategy advisory, and co-founder of the Resolution Expertise Agency. Greenberg’s theatrical strategic campaigns have produced over $5 billion on the international field office. Beforehand, Greenberg was a senior leisure marketing consultant at a comic book e-book leisure company and he was the Senior Vice President/Head of Worldwide Theatrical Advertising and Distribution for Common Footage, the place he released such movies as The Bourne Id, eight Mile, Intolerable Cruelty, The Mummy Returns, Jurassic Park III, The Quick and the Furious, 2Fast 2Furious and American Pie II, among many others. He’s additionally an unbiased movie producer. For sure, he has dealt with many contracts over time as they relate to screenwriters. He shares his ideas on what screenwriters ought to search for earlier than signing any contract.
“Verbal contracts are usually not well worth the paper they’re written on. Only written contracts, freely signed by all parties concerned, have real legal standing. Each first timers and seasoned screenwriters ought to all the time have a written and signed contract. It specifically lays out the rights and obligations that every social gathering has and the payments which might be necessary to effectuate the contract.”
“Get use to the method of placing all of the phrases of your settlement in writing from the beginning of your screenwriting career. You’ll be able to’t retroactively create a written settlement between two events in case you haven’t, especially in the case of a dispute. As you progress by way of your profession, your screenwriter contracts will grow to be more refined and nuanced. Have an lawyer who has your greatest interests at heart craft your contracts. Think of the expense as an insurance policy.”
His first level is that EVERY screenwriter needs a contract as quickly as another celebration need to commercially exploit your screenplay. A verbal or implied contract is inadequate. On the very least, screenwriters need contracts to clarify the terms of the settlement. Greenberg warns, “you don’t want a contract so much when things go proper. However you undoubtedly need them when issues go incorrect.”
Randy discusses the primary forms of screenwriter agreements:
Choice Purchase Agreement
This is the only contract for solo screenwriters producing unique work without any underlying IP. It incorporates particulars of the OPTION FEE, the LENGTH of the choice term, the PAYMENT SCHEDULE, and the potential for EXTENDING the choice time period for extra sum of money for a specified term, for a specified length of time. The extension could possibly be automated as quickly as the purchaser pays the appropriate payment, or it might require mutual approval.
The PURCHASE PRICE is the sale worth of your screenplay for a specific medium comparable to film or TV. The FIRST OPTION FEE is usually offset towards the purchase worth. If the choice settlement is RENEWED/ EXTENDED, only the primary portion is utilized towards the purchase worth. An choice step just isn’t important for every purchase, particularly in the case of digital or streaming servies where there might be an outright buy.
This settlement also incorporates particulars of the precise rights the screenwriter is giving the entity for the term – movie, e-book, TV, streaming, or digital.
REVERSION CLAUSE – This specifies how a screenwriter can get the rights back if the purchaser fails to exploit their work inside a given time-frame. There are charges associated with reverting your rights based mostly upon the purchaser’s improvement costs (plus a further premium) referred to as TURNAROUND COSTS.
RELEASE SCHEDULE – This specifies how a author can get hold of their rights again if their work is produced, however never publicly launched in a given time-frame in accordance the terms. If your product is simply partially released, say on one platform, or bought to a limited variety of territories, you will need to specify how you can get these rights again in this settlement.
SUBSEQUENT PRODUCTION RIGHTS – These rigghts apply to sequels, prequels, remakes and spinoffs of the supply materials. This clause specifies how much and the way the original screenwriter is paid if these rights are exercised. Make sure you get the first right to put in writing these.
RIGHTS RESERVED – Be clear in what rights are granted to a production entity and what you’re maintaining. This is especially essential if there are underlying rigths similar to a e-book or life rights. The initial contract might only permit the property to be exploited in a sure means.
SCREEN CREDITS – These are arbitrated by the WGA, and embrace a devoted “Written By” board. Further display credit embrace “Story By” or “Characters Created By.” Affirm and assure your display credit score, especially within the case of further screenwriters are introduced onto your undertaking.
WRITE AND REWRITE FEES – Guarantee you’re guaranteed to put in writing a minimal number of drafts especially if the manufacturing entity likes your story, but needs to rent one other screenwriter. These charges should adhere to WGA minima, however purpose for overages as your screenwriting career progresses.
BACK END – This relates to revenue participation linked to some threshold reminiscent of viewers or field workplace. Make sure the calculation of those figures are clearly stipulated. Sometimes, a again finish might be paid from either GROSS or NET PROFITS. Ensure you know what deductions are included to calculate the web determine.
CONSULTING FEES – These typically apply if the unique screenwriter doesn’t do any writing, however whose expertise and information is used to write down a subsequent screenplay.
DVD – Get a replica of any tangible variations of your accomplished product comparable to DVD, BlueRay or otherwise.
SET VISITS – Screenwriters can negotiate these. They could additionally embrace on set rewrites within the case of minor script change which incur further charges. Set visits are extra widespread on film sets somewhat than TV studios.
PREMIERE – Writers can negotiate tickets to the premiere screening and related events. The producers might pay your journey, gown and accommodation costs.
KEY ART – Negotiating the rights for the author to regulate key art is widespread for books, comics and graphic novels.
Collaborative Screenwriting Settlement
Issues get difficult when there are two or more screenwriters engaged on a single screenplay. These agreements specify the respective work obligations of every screenwriter, how earnings are distributed (if not equally), how the screenwriters might be credited, how disputes are settled (if there’s a good variety of screenwriters), who casts the tie-breaking votes, and how the voting rights are distributed for subsequent manufacturing rights.
Ideally, two or more screenwriters ought to attempt for a unanimous choice. If this isn’t attainable, the collaborators ought to appoint a senior author in the group with slightly extra voting energy, particularly in business associated issues. The tie-breaking vote might either be assigned to at least one individual, or it might alternate.
Ensure what constitutes a screenwriting collaboration. Decide if somebody who punches up jokes, or a narrative marketing consultant is either a work for hire, unpaid advisor, or a member of the writing staff. Disputes might occur if a third get together believes they made a considerable contribution to a undertaking and demands display credit and/or profit participation. Vital contributors should ensure (not assume) they’ll receive recognition and cost. Don’t be stunned at the surprises that arise.
These are additions to the original choice purchase agreements. The clauses usually check with licensing the appropriate to supply merchandise and different financially exploitable parts. Licenses generate further revenue for screenwriters for each transaction where their artistic work is utlized. Licenses are often based mostly on a flat payment for a specified time period.
Screenwriters should never give a producer a non-exclusive choice which allows different events to pitch or have a controlling interest in your screenplay. They need to also perceive the value their screenplay has within the marketplace. This could typically battle with the perceived worth. Screenwriters also needs to be wary of deferred payments. It’s common for producers to choice a screenplay whereas they try to boost production and distribution finance. Screenwriters ought to be wary of free (or low worth) choices.
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