SCREENWRITING: SECRETS TO THE $100,000 SALE
by Dov S-S Simens on January 25, 2015
SCREENWRITING (No-Bull): Hollywood, according to union minimum rules, pays approx. $100,000 (see below) for a Treatment and 2 Drafts (1st Draft & Final Draft) to hire a writer to write a script based off an idea they have or a book or real life story they optioned. QUESTION: So what do you think they’ll offer you when you come to them with the finished script that, for whatever reason, is absolutely perfect and they love? ANSWER: $100,000. Duh.
For specific amounts go to the website for the screenwriters union, called Writers Guild of America (www.WGA.org) and view (http://www.wga.org/uploadedFiles/writers_resources/contracts/min2014.pdf) what you will discover is that the exact pay ranges from $67,804 to $127,295… This is nice.
The $67,804 is for a Low-Budget movie (film under $1,200,000) and High-Budget is (film over $5,000,000) assumed as any movie costing more-than $5,000,000 but marketed as “just-under” $7-10 Million, or $10-12 Million, or $12-15 Million. Yep, all those budgets they market are “just-under“…
Back to facts.
If Low-Budget (under $1.2 Million) writer gets paid…
- TREATMENT… $30,721
- 1st DRAFT… $26,700
- 2nd DRAFT… $10,383
If High-Budget (over $5 Million) writer gets paid…
- TREATMENT… $50,874
- 1st DRAFT…. $50,874
- 2nd DRAFT… $25,547
The one and only secret to obtaining the $100,000 SALE ($67,804-$127,295) is to write the great script. Duh.
Obvious and simple to say, yet extremely difficult to do. But doable if you follow these steps.
And remember; Anyone can have an idea and use free formatting shareware (www.Celtx.com) or purchase formatting software (Final Draft 9.0, www.FinalDraft.com) and knock out 90-140 pages in 1-2 months. Not a big deal.
The big deal is to knock out 90-140 pages in 1-2 months, of course typed in the write format, that…
- Grabs the Reader on Line 4-6 of Page-1 (grabs readers attention)
- Grabs the Reader on Bottom Line of Page-1 (holds readers attention)
- First 8-12 Pages captivate the reader. (makes reader turn pages)
- Characters introduced have personality & uniqueness. (reader enjoys this)
- 2nd ACT starts around Page 12, after an “UH-OH” & “OH-SHIT”. (reader is grabbed)
- Reader is now grabbed, hooked and reads entire script. (reader is satisfied)
- 2nd ACT is a great roller-coaster ride. (reader is still hooked)
- 2nd ACT establishes the 3 Sub-Plots. (reader is fascinated)
- All Characters are not 1-dimensional and have a sub-story. (readers is enthralled)
- 3rd ACT starts page 70 (90 Page Script) or page 110 (140 Page Script) (reader is excited)
- 3rd ACT brings 3 Sub-Plots and Primary Plot all together. (reader is kvelling)
- 3rd ACT resolves itself. (reader is more than 100% satisfied)
- EPILOGUE, 1 page might be a bonus
Now… Get Real.
You keeping hearing Hollywood, all those celebrities and dudes, sitting on those $1,000 “Variety Entertainment Financing Summits” stating “We’re looking for great ideas” and you instantly get excited about your-idea-is-great.
Don’t get excited. Hollywood is not looking for great ideas… it is looking for Great Scripts. And if your script handles “A-M” above then you likely have the Great Script.
You grabbed the reader right away on page-1, you make him/her turn the page and read 9 more pages. The 10 pages are great he/she is now engrossed and then reads the entire script. Plus, you have dimensional characters, with unique dialogue, and 3 sub-plots which each resolve themselves and are all intertwined into the primary story that also resolves itself… You got a Fr*ckin’ Great Script.
Let’s assume the reader gives “good coverage” (two page book report to his/her superior), states “Must Read” and the superior reads the script and agrees “This is a Fr*ckin’ Great Script” you will now likely get an offer for Writers Guild minimum (Low-Budget) of $67,804. What the f*ck round-it-up to $75,000, with a paragraph in the offer that if the budget ever goes over $5 Million you will receive $127,295 or whatever writers guild minimum is at that date.
Voilla…You sold your script for about $100,000… give or take a little.
Hold on, Stop-The-Engines, I’d be remiss if, however, if I did not say that you “ain’t gonna get a check at one-time for that $100,000 or $67,804-$127,295″, at this moment from the slick Hollywood Buyer (aka: Development Executive), for he/she is not really buying your script he/she is really optioning it (first refusal right) for 2-4 years with likely only 10% down.
Don’t be bummed!
Stay tuned for in another NO-BULL BLOG I will show you how to negotiate a bigger Purchase Price for your Option Agreement then if you really took that first $100K offer with $10K down.
*** NO-BULL ***