Monday, November 02, 2009

The Writing Week (Vol. 2) part 96 – An Offer on the Table

Last Wednesday was one hell of an interesting day. It involved a bit of daily life in NYC – an unfortunate man was having a seizure on the sidewalk outside my office building right as I had to go to an appointment – and ended with some news on my script. At about 9:30pm, my producer called me with an update. One of the bigger Hollywood producers was interested in my script.

It’s annoying that I have to be vague about the specifics, but my manager, producer, and I have not yet made any agreements, so I can’t mention names. Anyway, this Producer and his Production Company are apparently very interested in my post-Apocalyptic spec. However, they think that the second half needs some work. Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time we’ve gotten this note, so they might be onto something. Their proposition is an exclusive developmental deal, whereby they come on as co-producers with Gretchen (who initially optioned the material) and work with me on developing the second act further. Once that work is done, they take it out through their first look deal with one of the major studios, and try to make a quality action picture.

The obvious pros to doing this are many. For one, the Producer is a bit of a power player, Oscar Nominated hyphenate who has also written and directed. Not only would working with him help ensure a larger sale (though that’s never a certainty) with an impressive name attached, but doing so my first time out of the gate would be impressive for me as a new writer. My current producer was very excited about the prospects that such a partnership could provide for a rookie scribe, and I can’t deny it, either. He’s done some quality pictures – every one of them a recognizable success – and I’d love to get the opportunity to work with him. Beyond that, the woman who works for his Production Company who would head up the project is pretty confident in her ability to do something with it – provided I do a good job with the rewrites – and to make a quality film we could all be proud of. It all sounds good.

The downside of the deal? Right now, there’s no money involved in the offer. Of course, this isn’t an immediate deal-breaker. However, since the agreement would be exclusive in nature, we wouldn’t really be able to capitalize on any other offers. Taking the offer – we’d have a phone call first to make sure everyone’s on the same page – would mean potentially another few months of unpaid development work, but the payoff after could be quite worth it. If we go out too many more places with the script as is, we risk overexposing it. The offer takes it off the market for a while, but since there’s no money, I have as much or as little time as I need to make the necessary changes and get it ready to go out again. My hope would be to have it ready before the holidays, though the end of December can be a bad time to try to make a sale.

I have a call with my producer and manager tonight to discuss the offer. I don’t know how common these no money development offers are, and that’s one thing I intend to find out. I don’t doubt that the Production Company can do something with the script if it’s stronger, but I’m not inking anything yet.

No comments: