Producing : Optioning a novel to create a Transmedia franchise by Zoltan Deak

Zoltan Deak

Optioning a novel to create a Transmedia franchise

I am planning on working with a successful author and would like to option her trilogy to create a Transmedia franchise. I plan to do this in stages and with the help of a broadcaster of which I have a couple that I plan to pitch the project to (I have personally pitched another project to them before). I have a good working relationship with the author and she has previously given me an option on the trilogy for 6 months. Recently I have asked for an option again and she has come back with the following comment after speaking to her manager. "Although I will not give away an option on one of my trilogies (especially since this trilogy connects to three others), I am prepared to sign an agreement giving you the first right to option this trilogy should the project find the interest and funding to buy the option." My question is, is it worth me putting in the work to pitch this project on this promise alone or should I push for the option and pay whatever fees are necessary. The "First option on an option" seems to me a bit of an uncertainty. Thank you in advance.

Regina Lee

Try to get an attachment agreement instead of a free option extension, if she won't give you a free option extension. I've never seen a first right to option agreement, but I can buy that they exist. As someone who is not particularly paranoid, I don't have any huge warning bells going off from that proposal. However, the problem is that if you go around pitching the books without an option in place, someone else could steal your idea to adapt the books. Let's say you pitch the books to John Doe who has deep pockets. Depending on how expansive your "first right" agreement is (or isn't), I assume that John Doe could go around you and make an offer to option the books without your involvement. Even if the Author comes back to you to honor the "first right," you'd likely have to match John Doe's offer to secure the option yourself. If you can't match it, then the Author could skip over you and option the books to John. Again, I'm assuming that's how the first right would be written, but I obviously don't know how it would be written.

Zoltan Deak

Thanks for your comments Regina.

Christie Claymore

Thanks for the info!

Steven Wiseman

Will there be a need for narration?

Zoltan Deak

Hi Steven, there may but, I don't see how this is relevant to my question.

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