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Need Some Advice on a Screenplay I wrote

Discussion in 'Scripts/ Screenplays' started by slp40, Apr 26, 2017.

  1. slp40

    slp40 New Member


    I am going to keep all identities anonymous because I respect the company I am working with and they are very Godly and love the Lord.

    Last year, i submitted a very short script to this very small filmmaker and he liked my script. It originally was about five minutes long and I lengthened it and changed things around and it stretched to about twenty minutes. I was thinking this was going to be some kind of inspirational youtube thing. In the beginning, things were going great. He had volunteers to rent out a place, actors volunteering their time, and a crew. I was very excited and was okay with not profiting off of this because the message is more important than profit.

    Due to scheduling issues beyond this filmmakers control, he had to do some rescheling and it was a challenge doing it with so many different schedules. To make a long story short, some rescheduling didn't work and we lost an actor or two in the process. Not the end of the world because we filled those positions.
    The big concern now is that this filmmaker, like most, has virtually no funding available for this piece and he is feeling like he wants to compensate people for their time, which i respect, and fundraise so he can get the money to do this film. He anticipates it being under three thousand. He has attempted to get investors interested, but no bites yet.

    He feels that by turning this short film into a feature, we have a better chance of getting this funded, which means making the story longer than it is. I did give him liberty to tweak a little bit of the story for creative purposes, and he has more experience than i do, but now I am not comfortable with the direction this is going. He is not wanting this to be a short anymore, but a feature film. I just don't have the same vision.

    I submitted my story back around Thanksgiving of 2016 and no filming has taken place at all yet. I believe, he may be working on a fundraising piece to get investors insterested.

    Since I am so new to this, I need to know if I am being impatient, or if this is a normal process of things. I am feeling a little concerned that as long as my story is in his hands, I am not free to submit it elsewhere.

    It is his company, but since it is my script, I am wondering what options there are for me without things getting ugly. I have not signed any official contract with him, and I want to have the freedom to submit my short for contests, etc.

    A feature film would be a lot of extra money and take the story in a direction that i do not see it going.

    Can I just quietly submit my script to other producers and see who "bites" first, or is this unethical?
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  2. AMOG

    AMOG Regular Member

    United States
    It is unethical to expect to tie up a script without paying an option fee. so no, you are under no ethical restraint. shop it around. I use free scripts all the time and shoot films to give people experience. I had a similar situation where a writer said, "I wrote this as a short for you, but now people want to give me money to make a feature". My response was that that is the goal so she should take the opportunity and make the most of it.
  3. maintenance man

    maintenance man Well-Known Member Supporter

    United States
    Amog is correct to say you have no option and therefore no obligation to this filmmaker; however, he is trying to develop your concept. If the story has changed, perhaps you can talk with him about taking your original concept and moving on. You don't want to burn any bridges. This filmmaker may be someone who can help you in the future.