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Thread: deferred payment- should I be worried?

  1. #1
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    deferred payment- should I be worried?

    Hello all. In March, I signed a contract with a producer to write a feature-length screenplay on a deferred payment. He said that he would pay me our agreed amount after his investors released the funds to him, which would be in june, but might be later. it's now later and when I write to him to see how the progress is going, he responds with very short replies, saying "it's coming along, may take a few more weeks though." during the process of writing, this producer and I spoke daily, sometimes for several hours, working on the script and i know producers are very busy, so I don't want to keep bugging him about it. he has an imdb page and numerous credits to his name (mostly B-level movies) but I can't help but feel worried that I'm never going to see my payment. did i get ripped off or is my contract legit? thanks.

  2. #2
    practical experience, FTW jkorzenko's Avatar
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    I think you've been duped. #1 Rule -- if Hollywood is interested they will pay. But there are a gazillion producers w/ no connections struggling constantly to get something done. I hope you've registered the script, yes? Do you have extensive screenwriting credits that would make this producer want you to pen his screenplay? If not -- then see my first sentence.

    Best of luck and I hope that this turns out for the positive.

    J.

  3. #3
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Laetitia, would you please name the producer?

    - Victoria

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by LaetitiaX0 View Post
    Hello all. In March, I signed a contract with a producer to write a feature-length screenplay on a deferred payment. He said that he would pay me our agreed amount after his investors released the funds to him, which would be in june, but might be later. it's now later and when I write to him to see how the progress is going, he responds with very short replies, saying "it's coming along, may take a few more weeks though." during the process of writing, this producer and I spoke daily, sometimes for several hours, working on the script and i know producers are very busy, so I don't want to keep bugging him about it. he has an imdb page and numerous credits to his name (mostly B-level movies) but I can't help but feel worried that I'm never going to see my payment. did i get ripped off or is my contract legit? thanks.
    It'd be impossible to guess without knowing who is involved. If he is a B-level producer then he probably operates under a shoe-string budget. He may very well be genuine, but I would register the work as soon as possible to ensure you are covered.

    Also, you mention that you signed a contract with a deferred payment, then that he would issue you payment when his investors gave him the money. Does your contract not have a specific date and/or a maximum date for payment?

  5. #5
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Sorry Victoria, I don't want to name the producer until I'm positive I got scammed. If I did, I'll post his name til the cows come home.

    Havlen- On the contract, there was a deadline date for when the script had to be completed. Then it says that when he has received funding for the film, he has 5 business days to pay me. The budget for the film is $20M+ and I was to receive $50K. I hope I'm just being impatient but I've had some bad luck in the past.

  6. #6
    I can only suggest covering yourself by registering the work asap. You could also contact some of the screenwriters that have worked with him in the past and try to get some insight into how long it might take to get funding.

  7. #7
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    Sounds like the project fell through.

    It sounds like he should have been upfront and said "IF" he gets paid instead of "WHEN". Then you would know that it is a speculation, and can decide to work on it or not.

    If he has a contract promising you payment, then he has to do it.

    Although it may be trying to squeeze blood out of a stone.

    Good luck!

    Mac

  8. #8
    practical experience, FTW jkorzenko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaetitiaX0 View Post
    he has an imdb page and numerous credits to his name (mostly B-level movies)
    You do realize that these can be/are self-created pages, right? Do you have a pro membership? It might be worth it to sign up for the free weeks and do some more digging.

    Also, have you gone to the Done Deal forums?

    Have you asked for specifics?

    Go with your gut and keep digging. And DO register the material. You never answered that question. Hollywood steals. Registering isn't an all out safe-bet but it is a small amount of comfort and a little bit of a teeny tiny safety net. If you haven't registered your material -- register it now and send him a new script with the certificate number on it.

    J.

  9. #9
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin Saundra Mitchell's Avatar
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    If the budget really is 20M, then why aren't they paying WGA scale for this screenplay? ($73,245 minimum.)

    The only screenplays you should write for free are specs. Everything else needs to be at least partial-payment first. As a screenwriter, you can (and should) earn money optioning the script; you should also have a turnaround clause in your contract. If the project doesn't go into production by X time, you keep the money and take your script. Screenwriters can option a single script multiple time. Until the film is shot, the producers merely have the rights to stage a production it within X amount of time.

    Contracts that are back-end only are projects you take because you have a deeply awesome relationship with the producer and you don't mind if you never make any money (labor of love projects.)
    Last edited by Saundra Mitchell; 07-14-2007 at 01:53 AM. Reason: Clarifying pronouns!
    Shadowed Summer, coming from Delacorte Press in February 2009
    Visit me at home www.saundramitchell.com

  10. #10
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    What's the status of this?
    I think we all would like to know what's going on.

    I'm sending you luck .....

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