Screenwriting : Dirt cheap work by Jade Cameron Sharp

Jade Cameron Sharp

Dirt cheap work

I just sold a script for 120 dollars and am currently working on another one for 250 dollars. While this is not the ideal work I want to be doing, it is however helping to pay the bills. Anyone care to chime in?

Kerry Douglas Dye

Shorts, I hope.

Danny Manus

umm you're kidding right? please let it be short films.

Jeffrey Stackhouse

Jade, Congrats on the sale. You are, of course, the best judge of if the effort and time are worth the payday. We would all like you not to undervalue yourself, though. Best.

Dominic La-Viola

And now he just wrote and directed the highest grossing film in the U.S. of the year. Guardians Of The Galaxy

Brandi Self

You have to balance what is important. If you aren't getting a good amount of money, are you getting credit? Don't sell yourself short in this game. Make sure that you are accommodated. Your work should be important to you, get credit or a decent amount of cash that supplements for lack of credit.

Lynn P. H. Adrian

You are a professional. Hot damn!

Royce Allen Dudley

While I don't believe in freebies, it's better to give a freebie than establish a ridiculous rate, as you have now valued your writing at $250. A freebie can be traded fora producer participation, or merely played off as charity. On the other hand, if your price doubles each time as it has so far, you will be a millionaire very soon. Good luck.

Danny Manus

I agree, it's probably better to just option your material for free if you're going to do that.

Tim Vanbaelen

if it helps pay the bills atm, why not? hope you get some better paid work in the short future, life isn't always happening like you want it

Danny Manus

what bill does $100 pay? you realize you're basically working for like 15 cents an hour? Way way easier faster ways to make $200!!

Kerry Douglas Dye

True, Danny, but if you can sell a thousand scripts a year, you basically have a career. Plus if all thousand get produced, you might end up with two or three decent movies to your name.

James Chalker

While I could use $100 right about now, I can't see selling one of my features, pilots or even a short for that amount. Obviously an option is one thing, but giving up your rights to your work seems like an odd thing to do. I understand that it is likely that I will never receive a dime for many of my scripts, but it strikes me as a tremendous vote of no-confidence in your own work to sell it so cheaply. Give me a chance and I'd be happy to pitch any one of my scripts. I don't want to give up on one just to say I sold a script. Disclaimer though, the OP didn't give any detail on what these scripts are. If they're Meow Mix commercials, then of course, who wouldn't.

Kerry Douglas Dye

Going rate for an original Meow Mix commercial is only $80. Try to get involved with the Puppy Chow people. That's where the money is.

Trey Wickwire

All of my shorts were sold for back end pay. If it makes money, I get some of the profits. It's unlikely I'll get any money for them. However, I did get to see them made and an IMDb credit for each which was worth a lot for a first timer. In other words, there is no easy answer. You have to make a judgement call for each case.

Jade Cameron Sharp

The producer and lead actor created the story and supplied the storyline, so I just filled in the blanks. He just met with the other producers and I'll be receiving payment for the revisions to the script along with IMDB credit. I have complete confidence in my work. I'm just not going to sit around and wait for my screenplay to be optioned or go into development. This is a chance for me to develop my craft and get paid. I also write comedy skits, comedic articles, and short films for smaller sums of money on-line. In other words, I'm always writing and while some of it is going to be crap, I am making a living off my writing while I work on my own personal projects. Also, a hundred dollars covers the internet and water. Thanks for all the feedback, chums.

Anthony Cawood

I've sold 3 shorts this year for up front payment, avg $200 each... rest I've done for back end %'s.

Jade Cameron Sharp

As long as I'm writing and getting paid something, then I'm content. Of course, I want to make more but the little I get paid will suffice until I get the big payday. I really do want to thank everyone of you for your insight. It was much appreciated.

Gary Davis

Jade, no matter what you receive it shows somebody wants what you write. Keep up the good work.

James Chalker

Yeah, that's kind of the question I have. What kind of producer buys a script for that much?

Noel Occomy

Jade, you have to find out what the scale is for the average screen writer. At least get paid $3 -to $5 dollars a page, because writing is hard work. And if he is not willing to pay that then become the producer/writer so you can command 50% profit once it becomes green lit. Good Luck..! From a former writer now Writer Producer and DP

Noel Occomy

I believe the average cost for a SOLD Screenplay is $25,000. Isn't that still true today?

Danny Manus

Is it you get what you pay for, or you pay for what you get?

Andrew M. A. Spear

Eye towards the future. Are these scripts going to move your career further ahead? But no when to draw that line in the sand, and as they say, 'don't give up your day job.'

Jade Cameron Sharp

Writing is my day job. It's just not screenwriting. I write scripts for commercials from time to time, and skits for internet comedy sites, but I'm looking forward to being paid real money for my work someday.

Steven A. Miller

Congratulations!!! You are at least considered a professional screenwriter. Some of us have yet to get a nibble on our submissions and would love to have someone say it's worth a read. I am very happy for your success.

Derek Ladd

I'd say it depends on the agreement. What kind of scripts did you sell? Shorts? Commercials? Features? Is there a potential for spin-offs, remakes, sequels, toys, songs, plays...? I'd hate to see you sell a script for $250 that ends up netting the buyer $250,000 when a bigger fish expresses interest. If the rights attached to what you sold for $250 are VERY limited I would agree that if it moves you forward it's a good thing. Just be careful.

Guy McDouall

Jade. Congrats on selling stuff. There's a an idea that I think is coming through in some of the posts that I would like to discuss. I do mean "discuss" rather than challenge. I get the impression that to some degree there's a sentiment coming through from yourself and a few others that getting paid something is better than nothing. I think the weighing up process isn't necessarily that simple. I'm NOT saying you're wrong. I just want to put a lightly different perspective on how this could be looked at. Any time you're working on a project for somebody else, that's time you could potentially be working on a different project. Let's say you get hired for dirt cheap to write a feature. Hey, you were planning on a writing a feature anyway and now you're being paid something! Sounds good! But consider this, the vast bulk of films that are "going" to be made are in fact, never made. That means that for very little money you are spending your time writing something that you don't own the rights to, something that is statistically unlikely to be made, and that you possibly can't use as a writing sample. That last one is a big one. Sure, it's hard to sell a script but if you write a good one, you might at least reap some benefits as a result without it actually selling. It could gain you representation or paid assignments where you get better compensated for your time. Of course, it's also possible that you might be able to negotiate with whoever your working for to use the script you're developing for them as a writing sample. Here are some of the questions that I'd be asking. 1). Do I want to foster a working relationship with these people? 2). Can I use this as a writing sample? Even if the producer is okay with it but think you're executing a terrible idea you might not want to use it. 3). What's the spec script I could be writing instead? Is that likely to benefit my career more in the long run? 4). How much time am I willing to put into this project? Remember, people may move goal posts on you. Where's your line in the sand?

Ingrid Abrams

Congrats! I think it is great you are getting paid, but to continue to sell yourself that cheap is not good in my humble opinion. Today. i get to change my resume to "Paid screenwriter," am being paid to adapt a novel by the author. Contract is at both of our lawyers stages now, I also want back end deals if it ever goes to production, and it is not for $120! (Low 5 figures, not WGA yet.) Also, one of my shorts was a finalist to be staged in Beverly Hills by Ceclia Peck (Gregory's daughter, and Emmy winning director), so we are meeting to work on the details. Jade, if you are selling a lot, maybe raise your price with each one? Never accept less than your previous one.

Kerry Douglas Dye

Mazel tov, Ingrid. Welcome to the bigs.

Jade Cameron Sharp

Congratulations indeed, Ingrid.

Ron Brassfield

Jade, I'll say you're on the right track and you need to parlay every success a notch up or more. I think, if you get anything produced by anyone onto your resume, you start to look more interesting as "an unknown." If you ever break into a big deal, you can re-boot the resume to begin with that one. :-)

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