Sample Option Agreement for Screenplay
So, how much money can a writer expect to receive from an option payment? The amount of an option payment can vary greatly. It`s really a negotiation process based on many factors, including the author`s background in the industry and the potential budget of the film. Producers will ask themselves a number of questions, such as: Is this the writer`s first script or has the writer already sold several scripts to the studios? What would be a fair option payment if the film`s budget was $1 million versus $50 million? How much can we reasonably afford to pay the writer? An option agreement establishes an “option period” or a period of time given to a producer or studio to begin producing the project. It can vary from six months to two years or more, depending on the trial. These agreements often provide for additional periods for the producer to extend the term of the agreement, taking into account additional payments to the author. The purchase agreement brings you to the project as a producer (and writer or director, depending on your endgame). In the agreement, the copyright holder (tv writer/screenwriter/author/playwright, etc.) of the original project grants this right to the producer. If you make any of these arrangements, always make them in writing. Verbal agreements are fine, but they really have no legal status. Putting things on paper will help decide on the duration of the contract and the remuneration. It also means that the project cannot proceed until the copyright owner and the producer (who controls the purchase agreement) each do their own separate business.
And then the duration of the contract could end, and they could sell it without you! So if tomorrow the phone rings and someone wants to choose your script, it`s normal to be excited because now you know what to do. Simply download the screenwriter contract template as an example of what to expect. The main thing people seem to worry about with these agreements is the difference in the author`s power to approve the terms of the sale of the property. Let`s compare a few. The option agreement sets out the amount of money the writer receives to give the producer or studio the privilege of using their script for development purposes. This is called the “optional payment”. Payment for the option can be for a dollar, hundreds of dollars, or tens of thousands of dollars. If the producer or studio wishes to extend the option, the writer will receive another option payment.
So think carefully and always consult a lawyer before entering into any of these agreements. And always use the legal advice of a real lawyer. On the other hand, in the case of a purchase contract, the author reserves the exclusive right to approve or refuse. That means they could sell it to someone else. The producer can make a solid offer to the writer, but the writer can veto it because he doesn`t like the company, because he or because he demands an unrealistic amount of money, or simply because he no longer likes the producer. This means that the producer (or his assignee) can exercise his option at any time during the option and acquire the film and television rights to the property by simply paying the agreed purchase price. So today we`re going to report on these deals and see how you can use them to get a valuable IPE on your website before hiring producers or studios. Although purchase agreements are similar to option contracts, creators and producers should not be fooled by the idea that they are equal in all respects.
If you have the opportunity to make up your mind, be sure to slow down and think about the long-term development of your project. Ask yourself (and the prospect) a few “what if” questions. And always make sure you have transparency about how these entities handle your work. If you are not satisfied with the answers, signing an option contract may not yet be the right thing to do. Another essential term in an option contract is the “purchase price”, i.e. the amount of money the screenwriter receives in case the script is turned into a feature film or television project. The purchase price is often calculated on a sliding scale as a percentage of the budget, so that the budget of the film increases, the purchase price also increases, although, as with all negotiated conditions, this can vary greatly. Option agreements can be a win-win situation for both the writer and producer. The writer is paid to rent his scripts for a limited time, while the producer tries to give the green light to the project. If that happens, then so much the better.
The author gets a good purchase price for all the hard work. If this does not happen during the option period, the author will retain payment for the option and all rights to the script will be reset. The screenwriter could then decide to hand over the script to another producer. From the producer`s point of view, an option agreement gives him the ability to stick exclusively to a script for a while without having to raise a lot of money in advance while trying to get the project off the ground. If the producer can`t make the film, all the rights to the script go to the author, then the producer at least worked hard, but didn`t go bankrupt. Many writers dream that their story or screenplay will one day arouse the interest of someone who wants to develop it into a film or television project. Usually, the first step is when someone, perhaps a producer or production company, or even a studio, offers the screenwriter a contract known as an option agreement. As with all those issues where art meets trade, I always advise that if you are asked to sign something other than an autograph, you should first have your lawyer checked. Every writer should have a literary agent and a lawyer to advise them on their business relationships once they get to that stage of the process where creation spills over into the business world. Although purchase agreements are similar to option agreements, writers and producers should not be deceived by the idea that they are equal in all aspects. You can trade lower option fees if you offer them a higher net bet.
In the end, people seem concerned about these agreements, it is the difference in the power of the author to approve the terms of the sale of the property. Let`s compare a few. You need to carefully review your option agreement, understand what rights you grant and how the agreement works. Talk to a close friend who understands these kinds of things, or you can always take advantage of the unique services of a lawyer in The Obd Role. So if tomorrow the phone rings and someone wants to choose your scenario, it`s normal to be excited because now you know what to do. Simply download the script contract template as an example of the expectations. This means that the manufacturer (or his representative) can use his option at any time during the option and acquire the image and television rights to the property by simply paying the agreed purchase price. In my book Writing for the Green Light, I take a complete option agreement template and sign it page by page (line by line) and explain how each step of the process works.
This way, you will know which red flags to look for and how you and your work are protected. There are a few red hooks and flags that you should keep in mind before passing your script on to anyone. Under an option contract, the purchase price, downstream remuneration, passive royalties and other conditions relating to the sale of the property by the author are agreed in advance by the author and the producer. The time given to the producer or studio to start the film is called the “Option Period”. It could take six months, 12 months, 18 months or more. .