PDA

View Full Version : Hypothetical Movie rights question.......



snook
01-06-2009, 01:38 AM
Let's say that you wrote a book for friends and family and had a few copies printed up by Lulu or one of the other printers out there. One of the recipients of your gift book lets a few friends read it because they think it's good and funny to boot.

A month or so passes and you get an email and missed a phone call from someone reputable who wants to talk to you about buying the rights to the book for a movie/series.

You do not have an agent; you have not published the book, you retain ALL the rights.

The questions are: Do you try to negotiate this yourself? Do you try to get an agent to represent you? Or do you go straight for a lawyer?

Just hypothetical, no reality here.

Madisonwrites
01-06-2009, 01:47 AM
Hmm....with an offer like this, I'd go for an agent. Chances are, if you negociate this yourself, you might not get the rights and goodies an agent can land. But if you're going to get an agent, act fast! Reputable movie guy isn't going to wait forever!

Good luck and happy writing! :D

snook
01-06-2009, 02:10 AM
I wish. Never happened, to me at least. With all the material floating around out there, it's bound to happen sometime.

ezc_19
01-06-2009, 02:31 AM
Chances are any self-published books would not catch the eye of big time producers. At most, you'd be looking at a small indie project. These often to not give the author any money, they simply get to see their book turned into a movie.

snook
01-06-2009, 02:43 AM
What does that have to do with the hypothetical questions? The question is what type of representation, if any, should be pursued.

ezc_19
01-06-2009, 02:50 AM
What does that have to do with the hypothetical questions? The question is what type of representation, if any, should be pursued.

Your hypothetical situation involved a book being published by lulu. Realistically, any movie request for a book that has not reached the hands of a publishing house would not bring in much money to the author (most likely nothing, we're talking about a small indie movie here). Since there is almost nothing going to the author, why would the author need an agent?

snook
01-06-2009, 02:56 AM
Wrong. I said printed by a printer like Lulu or one of the other myriad printers out there. Does it matter where an idea comes from? You can get books printed without a Lulu or other printers imprint. As far as this discussion goes, it just is a hypothetical situation where a book gets into the hands of someone in a position to explore making a movie or series about it. Forget the Indie stuff, that's your invention. The question is: What type of representation, if any, is required?

ezc_19
01-06-2009, 03:21 AM
Wrong. I said printed by a printer like Lulu or one of the other myriad printers out there. Does it matter where an idea comes from? You can get books printed without a Lulu or other printers imprint. As far as this discussion goes, it just is a hypothetical situation where a book gets into the hands of someone in a position to explore making a movie or series about it. Forget the Indie stuff, that's your invention. The question is: What type of representation, if any, is required?

Okay, it doesn't have to be lulu. I'm assuming you mean a very small printing run, or else you would probably already have an agent.

Do you realize how many thousands of scripts are floating around Hollywood? There are well over a million ready to go scripts that will never make it to the final stage. What makes books attractive when it comes to making movies is that there is already a following. It's simply good business. People who read the book will probably see the movie. If your book is popular (which means there is a chance it could become a movie), you will already have an agent before being approached. If your book has only a few copies out there, there will be no mass following and it will never become a movie.

You think some small print book that lands in the hand of a producer will become a movie without a significant reader following? Not a chance.

snook
01-06-2009, 03:45 AM
I don't think anything of the sort and this is not about me. It's a hypothetical situation where material without representation gets into the hands of someone who thinks that the material might make a movie and wants to pursue the rights to it for such.

Forget the self-publish thing, it does not come into play in this hypothetical situation. Whether it's a fat chance or not, in this situation it happened.

Once again: The question is what type of representation, if any, is required?

ezc_19
01-06-2009, 03:56 AM
I'll I'm saying is that there is no chance (not a small chance, no chance). Before an author is approached by a movie producer, they would be approached by bigger publishers and even agents. It is at this point where an author would decide if they want to get an agent. Then later a producer may approach him.


Book is published -> Book becomes popular -> approached by big publishing house/agents -> author chooses if they need representation -> author is approached by a movie producer

Not...

Book is published -> author is approached by a movie producer -> author chooses if they need representation

I'm just pointing out that the process will never occur in the way that you present it. It's like asking, do I need an agent before I write my book? No, it does not happen like that. An author would have to make a choice on whether or not to get an agent far before they ever come into contact with a producer.

Memnon624
01-06-2009, 04:44 AM
John Grisham's The Firm was bought by a production company before it was sold to a publisher (a manuscript version somehow "got out" to a producer). The Hollywood interest allowed Grisham's agent to sell it for buttloads of cash at auction. Granted, this wasn't a self-published book and Grisham already had an agent, but strange things happen when Hollywierd gets involved . . .

If such a thing as your hypothetical happened to me, I'd call up the nearest reputable agent. Unless you're already an IP lawyer you'd be a fool to enter into negotiations with those who have IP lawyers on their payroll.

Best,

Scott

WriteKnight
01-06-2009, 05:15 AM
Hypothetically speaking - anything is alright. Just like your book, you're not bound by realistic expectations... right?

Assuming a manuscript for a book gets seen by someone who HAS the ability to greenlight a project, and that producer approaches the writer, the writer would turn to the best agent he could get. Period. Trying to negotiate a deal unless you're an experienced IP attorney or agent yourself, would be difficult at best, disasterous at worst.

ASSUME the producer who somehow stumbled on your manuscript was some big time Producer/Director - Spielberg maybe. "His people" contact you and ask about the rights.

You go directly to someone like CAA or William Morris and tell them "Spielber just called, I need rep - " and Bob's your Uncle, you've got a meeting.

Now suppose its "Uncle Jims Auto Supply and Production Comany" who loves your manuscript. He just bought his first HD minicam, and his son has a copy of Final Cut Pro on his laptop. His wife teaches community theatre... and he thinks he can make the movie for less than ten grand. ... Good luck finding an agent.

So really, there aren't enough specifics to give you the sort of specific answer you might want. If it were Spielberg, you'd have no problem getting representation, if it's Uncle Bob - you're on your own - so better call cousin Sue who is in Law School to help.

IceCreamEmpress
01-06-2009, 06:54 AM
In general, anyone who is suddenly presented with the opportunity to sell intellectual property should hire an intellectual property lawyer and/or an agent to represent their interests.

Claudia Gray
01-06-2009, 08:26 AM
Never, ever, EVER try to do business with Hollywood without lawyering up first; an agent would be a very good idea as well. Publishing can be rough on those without proper representation, but the movie industry will chew you up and spit you out faster than piranha can skeletonize a cow.

Danthia
01-06-2009, 07:22 PM
Get an agent. There are so many legal issues and contract speak that you need someone in your corner who understands the business.