Funding for Publishing?

Hello everyone, my friend and I have come into a bit of a financial road block. I met recently with a lawyer who was able to give us a price for copyrighting both the novel (my friend wrote) and the screenplay (I wrote). We wanted to be able to cover all ends since this is our first time getting anything published. Her and I work as a team on every part of this project, but we're having difficulties on how we should approach this financial issue. She's in college (paying classes, room and board all on her own) and I work commissions for Cosplayers. We both aren't ones to normally ask for money, so I wanted to know if there is another way to fundraise? I've set up a Patreon account and so far we received our first donation. The funds would go to us paying the copyright, publishing company and the beginning of our movie making expenses. The first goal on the Patreon site is $2000 to cover the first two expenses. What other ways of funding would you suggest? Thank you in advance!

Kyle Climans

You could take out a loan from either someone you know or a bank. Or you could apply for a grant, if there are any to be had where you live. I know my home city has an arts council which receives money to give out as grants to artists in the area.

Kiara Cortes

Okay, we'll definitely try that. Thank you, Kyle!

Erik A. Jacobson

Why pay a lawyer? You can copyright it yourself with the WGA for $20 and with the Library of Congress for around $25.

Kiara Cortes

Hi Erik, yeah the Lawyer was our first choice only because we wanted to be super safe and we need a contract made between the two of us. We are good friends before this project and we want to still be good friends after this project. It's a way to keep us from ruining our friendship and partnership in the process. We just looked into the Library of Congress and it seems to be that we're going to go with that decision instead of the lawyer. I have to still discuss it with the author, but I am going to put my screenplay through there. Thank you so much.

Kyle Climans

Very good idea to draw up a contract. That's what my brother and I did before we started work on a script together, and I drew one up with a friend of mine before I brought him onto my web series as a co-writer. Best to have an agreement on paper with your signatures on it.

Stavros Georgiadis

OK, so I am a bit confused. If you write the book its already a copyrighted work. To write the screen play based on the book you need to get the rights from the author. Is this what your trying to say: to do the legal to assign the copyright of the book to you as the author of the screen play? Or are you both writing the screen play? Which would still mean you need to 'assign' the copyright to a vehicle that both of you share--business partners in share ownership? As a screen play is a very different type of beast to a book the % can be very different and move depending on who (producer) is looking to take on the screen play. If you have actually finished your screenplay, punting your in the US, you only need to submit the finished (?) work to your friendly Writers Guild East or West. From their you get a registration number for the work(s) submitted.

Kiara Cortes

Hi Stavros, thank you for your information. I thought that it would be copyrighted once the book was complete, but a Publisher and a couple other people told us to get it copyrighted before sending it out to get it officially published. My friend wrote the book and I adapted the book into a screenplay. We're working on the contract so that it will be on paper that she has granted me the rights to pitch the screenplay. We're going to be submitting to the eCO so that way we cover all ends of copyright. She will be owning the copyright to the book and I will be owning the copyright to the screenplay. We're looking for funds to be able to pay the fee of the Publishers/beginning expenses of turning it into a movie.

Kiara Cortes

Kyle, thank you. Yes, her and I definitely want to have an agreement on paper. I've gone into another project with an acquittance once and it ended badly when we didn't have the agreement written down.

Stavros Georgiadis

Right, I think.
So your friend has PROVIDED the rights of the book to you, to THEN write the screenplay? You have THEN written the screen play? Correct?
If not, then get this step for a transfer of copyright of the book for the intended purpose of making it into a film correct.
You need to have the copyright of the book--a seperate work--assigned to you through a seperate company. First critical step. This company holds the rights. However the caveat is if she has already assigned these rights of the book to her publisher, as would be a normal contractual clause in the publishing sector. If so, you have NO rights as she has not provided them to you to write a screenplay.--it is null and void. The work would have been done for nothing. PERMISSION TO WRITE THE SCRIPT would have to come from the publisher/agent acting on behalf of the author if they hold the rights for sale for the book. The steps are important.
If the publisher has not incorporated these rights of sale through a publishing agreement, then the below is up for consideration:
If she is seeking to possess a part ownership then she does so by SELLING the book rights--to a copyright holding company--with terms and conditions of sale in place with said company: to include $ upfront and % of profit of selling said rights (entertainment lawyer territory) back to her as the original author of the work which she holds (normal practice). This step needs to be in writing.
This company will be seperate to your personal company!
Yours is the company that does the work (write the screenplay) based on a service fee--be it a % or a $ amount, both or other negotiated terms with the holding company. So in your mind its three companies. One is hers (original work), one is yours (screenplay) and one is the copy right holding company (copy right holding company). On the same page?
Getting an entertainment lawyer (entertainment) is a very sensible step to iron out and help the two of you settle on what you both are expecting and seeking for your efforts. It's best to sort it out before you go forward. AND its highly recommended it be done all up front. Address all the issues that could come up BEFORE they come up.
Remember that at the end of the day both respective companies (hers who owns the original copyrighted work and yours who will create the screenplay and thus a seperate copyghted work have a reimbursement of $ and % based on the contract with the holding company. THIS company sells to a production company/agent/representative etc etc. for the then intended purpose of creating a film.
It will negotiate ITS price for the good (the script and book one or the other or both) to a producer or representative based on $ and %. And so-on and so-forth.
I would highly recommend each of you get seperate advice to ensure that your relationship as business partners are protected. Even if you use the same rep. Treat it as if it where a business, it is a good mentality to have. Good luck.