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Thursday, March 2, 2017

SCREENWRITING SIMPLIFIED Optioning Material



If you are fortunate enough to be in a position where you have the means to Option or Purchase either a Script, Novel or other Intellectual Property (IP), then you will be ahead of the game on the rest of the Screenwriting process and should only need to read the rest of this post for familiarity with what to expect from a hired Screenwriter.

It is wise to pursue every avenue that your connections take you in regards to shopping for the right Source Material, but also make sure that it is a marketable Concept for a Movie.

There is some truth to writing about what you know, but most of us don’t live that extraordinary of lives, for better or worse.

That is, unless everybody that you have ever told your Story to have replied enthusiastically “that should be a Movie!”

Likewise, don’t bother with the life Story of someone that you happen to know, unless it is genuinely worthy of a Movie.

A good gauge is looking at how much other media coverage they have been able to attract with their Story.

Don’t go too far into a niche with Source Material that has no Genre equivalent in Movies.

Don’t waste your time on a Novel if it’s only getting lukewarm reviews in the publishing world, unless you have insight in to how to make it significantly better as an adaptation.

Remember that Movies must appeal to a wider audience than Books or most other properties because of the substantial financial investment involved in making them.

Optioning material is a contractual process whereby you track down the owner of the Intellectual Property and Purchase the rights for a designated period of time, during which you will be attempting to get your Film made.

It can be a high-risk move for a beginning Filmmaker, and one that will most likely yield a lot of skepticism and negative feedback from jaded Writers/content creators.

If you demonstrate a genuine passion for their work and have a particular insight that hooks them, you might convince an Author to give you a shot at turning their Story into a Film.

Or perhaps you can negotiate a Shop Deal which is a non-exclusive Option.

You don’t necessarily have to hire a Lawyer to handle all of this, as there are lots of contract templates online.

But it can get very confusing without Legal advice so it may be worth it to spend the money at this stage.

Worth mentioning here is Source Material which is always ripe for adaptation can be found in the Public Domain, free and clear of any copyright issues due to when it was created.

Perhaps a modern take on an old classic, or a twist on a well-known fable is perfect subject matter for you to develop.

Just be absolutely sure that it is in the clear of any ownership issues before developing this Concept.

If you are not in a fortunate enough position monetarily to hire a Writer or Cowriter, or if this is a part of the process that you are particularly passionate about, then you must learn to think like one. 

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