• Disclaimer: Legal advice is not binding, consulting an attorney is always recommended.

sales Wondering if I Accepted a Crappy Option Deal.

Howdy. 1st time posting. So, 10 years of toil on my screenplay. I'm an unknown with pretty much no industry connections. I live in the boonies. Anyway... it's an indie-type offbeat thing with potentially wide appeal. I managed to get some attention and actually got 2 offers. Turned down the 1st- 1 year option with $20k to be paid on first day of shooting, plus 5% of profits. I wasn't feeling the production company, but mostly went for the 2nd because the lead / director / producer who wants to do it has a lot of qualities that make her well suited to the project. I was over the moon when she called and said she wanted to do it. Now, not so much. She may or may not be directing a big budget production soon. If she does get the gig, she says she will be on easy street in terms of choosing her projects. (I do believe that she really wants to do my story.) She has an impressive record- has already written directed produced her own fairly successful film, and has acted in some high profile films and tv shows. Sounds good, right? What's the ish? Well. She has serious worrisome health problems. She may be too old to play the lead, although she would be great. Mostly, I'm freaked out because she talked me into a 3 year option with no $ down. Not even any discussion of residuals or royalties or whatever. She said getting lawyers involved at this point is a waste of $. She also says we only need to email each other as proof of our agreement. The biggest problem: I feel like she's kind of a bully. She treats me like I'm a dipshit. I did tell her straight up that I am green and clueless about the "industry". Maybe I was too keen and supplicating. Anyway, it all just feels icky, almost like she's gaslighting me at times. I don't feel like I can bail on her because I gave her my word. The milieu we're working in is small- the industry scene for this type of project is an everybody knows everybody situation. So, if I renege, perhaps I'll be blackballed? I don't actually have anything solid in writing with her at this point, even in email. I just don't have any faith that anyone else will want to do it. WTF do I do? Stick with this worrisome deal, or go back to square one desperately trying to get attention with no track record? Ugh.
 
In my view, your first deal is better than the second one because the first one gives you a specified term of option, specified cash amount, and specified percentage. You second deal is not a deal...it offers nothing and she knows it. The super red flag is that she didn't want lawyers or a contract. Do you have something IN WRITING that says that you have a deal? (check your emails). If not, get out if you're not comfortable. Nobody is going to blackball you. Nobody has the power to do that anymore. If anybody else sees value in your script, they will option it in a heartbeat.
 
Last edited:

directorik

IndieTalk's Resident Guru
To me nothing else matters except the deal. I know how emotional
the entire thing can get but I'm not going to comment on any of that.
I'm freaked out because she talked me into a 3 year option with no $ down. Not even any discussion of residuals or royalties or whatever. She said getting lawyers involved at this point is a waste of $. She also says we only need to email each other as proof of our agreement.
At this stage she might be right about a lawyer. But what do you mean,
"she talked me into" an option?
I don't actually have anything solid in writing with her at this point, even in email.
Then she didn't talk you into an option. You talked, you said sure; it's meaningless.

Send her an email with the following terms:
One year option at $600. (that's $50/month. $12/week. That's 2 Starbucks coffee's).
She gets first rights after a year but for no less than $1,000 for year 2. That's against
25k and 5%. Fee should be paid on first day of preproduction - not shooting. But you
can figure that WITH a lawyer once she is ready to commit to this project.
 
"She said getting lawyers involved at this point is a waste of $. She also says we only need to email each other as proof of our agreement. The biggest problem: I feel like she's kind of a bully. She treats me like I'm a dipshit."

You already have your answer. The ONLY people who don't want you contacting a lawyer are the one's AFRAID of what one will tell you. And do you REALLY want to do business with someone who treats you like that? Marry them, yes... but don't do business with them.
 
Top