No names but we’ve recently had some interest in our screenplay, all the way through to contract negotiations only to have it fall through due to a commencement fee we were not aware of. Just wanted some thoughts on other people’s experiences with this if any?

Dan MaxXx

What is a "commencement" fee to sell a script? Sounds like a hustle

Lance Ness

I agree with Dan. A commencement fee sounds strange. If they really want your script they'll probably be the ones making most of the arrangements, except probably for any expenses you might incur if you need to travel to California, or wherever. I imagine your plane trip and motel are on you.

Chris Brookes

It was for a pitch pack and for a 6-12 month contract for them to market the script and try and get it sold, I’ll be honest, we thought it was a bit odd. If you really liked the script that much and were dead set on being able to sell it why charge a fee to do so.

David Downes

Chris, looks like you saw through their scam. Good for you. The venture capital world also has these kind of people that you have to pay for them to market to their "extensive and deep industry connections."

Gilberto Villahermosa

Chris - I had a producer try to scam me. I turned to the folks on Stage 32 for advice and they helped me to steer a clear path. As you can see, folks here have a lot of experience and are always willing to help with their experience. All the Best!

Dan MaxXx

my commencement fee is 10% to my agent for a sale. Agent does my legwork- work phones, sell my idea. I stay home and write/play video games. That's how we handle business.

Chris Brookes

Dan- appreciate that for an experienced writer and possibly someone who already has a portfolio of scripts that you may have sold already that’s probably good business, but from my point of view this is the first script we have written and have no representation so to charge upwards of £5,000 for marketing and pitching and (maybe) a sale when they aren’t even an agent is not something I would like to pay at this moment in time.

Dan MaxXx

Chris, I am just a hobbyist. I'm not in Show Biz. What you're doing and partnering with is wrong, IMO. I think it is a con. But it's only money. If you think $5K dollars or euros is too much, go back to them and negotiate for a cheaper fee. See if they will work for $1K.

John Pansini

Chris -- sounds like you gave a free option, never a good idea. Get an agent.

Dan Guardino

Chis. Are you saying they are charging you a fee to buy or market your screenplay? If that is the case tell them to take a hike.

Chris Brookes

Dan G- market, put together a pitch pack and try and get it sold. Everything I’ve seen, heard, read, has said if they charge you a fee say no. I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t missing something and that we did actually make the right choice

Dan Guardino

Then you probably made the right choice.

David Trotti

You made the right choice. Anybody who asks you for money is only out to get your money. Professionals know what they can sell and take their fee out when it sells and gets made. IF anyone asks you for money, thank them for their time and walk away.

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