Monday, April 26, 2010

The scourge of screenwriting - free rewrites

(Well, one scourge, anyway...)

I'm quoting/linking this Variety article because this is an issue that anyone who is contemplating a career in screenwriting should be aware of. The prevalence of the one-step deal (read below) and the endless free rewrites that come with it is one of the main factors that drove me to write my first novel.

I realized I could write a whole book - (that I would own the copyright to, which is actually a whole other rant) in the time I was being coerced into doing draft after draft of free work on a screen project I knew very well would never get produced.

(And I did write The Harrowing, one page per night, while I worked on the so-called one-step draft that wouldn't die. Rage is a great motivator...)

I could see that the free rewrite thing was only going to get worse. And worse it got.

As everyone knows, I'm glad I made the switch to novels, and made it when I did, but it still burns me to read about this bullshit - standard Hollywood practice now.

Read on and feel the rage...

- Alex


Daily Variety - 4/24/10

Screenwriters dancing the one-step

Producers, studios get a pass on script rewrite fees


Rewrite gigs are a gold mine for the top tier of scribes, but for many other writers, a twist on an old motto rings true: Will work for free.

For writers who have sold a script or landed an assignment, studios have gone from making deals that included a traditional first draft, two sets of revisions and a polish to what are called "one-step" deals. It's essentially payment for that first draft, with fees for additional work left to be determined.

In a landscape of waning producing deals and fewer pictures in the pipeline, writers say it's become especially difficult to insist on getting paid for rewrites -- even if they end up doing more than a dozen drafts. Their fear: not getting a next assignment.

"Jobs have become so few and far between that writers are willing to keep on writing until they've gotten it to the finish line," says one manager, who, like many, declined to be identified for fear of antagonizing studio execs. "When a writer really wants to be the writer on a project, they're willing to take a lot of abuse. One of mine did 70 different rewrites on a franchise film."

One veteran writer says it's commonly accepted that scibes do seven drafts but get paid for two or three.

Full article here.


How To Write A Novel From Start To Finish: previous posts

How to write a novel from start to finish (part one)

What is genre?

What's your premise?

The Price
(more on premise)

What is High Concept?

The Dream Journal

Three-Act Structure Review and Assignments

The Three-Act, Eight-Sequence Structure

The Index Card Method and Story Structure Grid

Elements of Act One

Story Elements Checklist for brainstorming Index Cards

What KIND Of Story Is It?

Elements of Act Two, Part 1

Plants and Payoffs

Thematic Image Systems


Screenwriting Tricks For Authors
now available on Kindle and for PC and Mac.

1 comment:

Sarah Ahiers said...

ugh. no thanks on screenwriting. That sounds horrible