Screenwriting : Money or Notoriety; would you rather: by F. Aaron Franklin

F. Aaron Franklin

Money or Notoriety; would you rather:

So you've got an amazing screenplay. Maybe not a blockbuster, but one that promises to be spectacular. You have two offers on the table: 1. Ton of cash, but little to no credit. Along the lines of Based on Characters Created By..."The producer and director reserve the right to take any liberties they see fit. Your role ends the moment the check's signed. 2. Minimal money offered, but not only do you get credit, but also be a part of the production itself with some degree of creative control.

Anthony Moore

Easy. Notoriety - With a spectacular blockbuster the money will come. Your name will get around and people will call you for future projects where there will be opportunities to make money. "I'd rather be a broke up and coming than a rich has been." - Unknown.

Mike Romoth

Personally, I'd go for the minimal money but good credit route. As I understand it, the screenwriting game is all about building a long-term career. The more involved you are, the more connections, experience and future gigs you get. Not many pros are looking for one-hit wonders (as I've been told)...they are looking for people who want to get to work and keep at that work for a long and profitable future.

CJ Walley

To be honest, neither. I'd rather exchange both money and notoriety for finding a really strong team to bond with and hopefully keep working with.

D Marcus

I suspect I'm going to be the lone voice here who would rather have money and no credit or notoriety. I entered this business wanting to earn my living doing what I love. I have never cared for credit or notoriety.

Danny Manus

Yeah, I'm going to slightly agree with D Marcus. Though there's a caveat - it depends how much money it is. Look, if it's enough to REALLY live for a few years - then that's writing time that it just bought you. And if you were good enough to sell a script for big money once, then on your NEXT one that you now have time to write, you can get all the credit and demand more involvement. Credits help with your career, sure. But money gives you freedom and there is no better thing to have when your career is writing.

Michael L. Burris

Well thinking ahead if you think you can make this show a success and need the experience the second. Not only for the learning experience but if you are truly successful as the creator you will get the money eventually along with the noteriety of making such a succesful show. However my brain thinks more along the lines of television. I lke television more than features because television I believe is more multi-faceted and honestly somewhat easier to write. As D Marcus says it is about the money but the second avenue may indeed lead to larger divedends even financially in the long run at least in television. Also do you think you would have the ability to resist 140 grand deal because you believe your input wil cause the feature to generate at least 7 million in gross movie sales. That's just an example but every situation that will come to me I will treat as unique weighing all factors. D Marcus doesn't fame and noteriety in fact lead to more money whether you do it for that reason or not. F. Aaron Franklin I may have just over-analyzed your question too. I have a habit of doing that sometimes. Anyway peace out all and these are just my opinions not sure if I always look at things correctly myself. Having the desire to want to navigate the business I think is important at least to me.

Kerry Douglas Dye

Money. The idea that your "creative control" will somehow ensure a decent end product? Feh. In the real world, there are two(ish) possibilities: a) talented, proven people are buying your script, in which case #2 wouldn't really happen. Or b) amateurs, half-wits or crooks are buying your script, in which case this "creative control" will be illusory and will hardly ensure that this wonderful credit will be something you're proud to put on your resume. I fought in WGA arbitration to get "written by" credit for the movie shot from my first spec sale, a movie for which the final shooting script is awful awful awful and bears virtually no resemblance to the script I sold. When the WGA relegated me to "Story by" I was disappointed to lose the credit for ten minutes before I let out a deep sigh of relief that I'd have little official association with that idiotic movie. And in the last week I've read the revised shooting script for my second spec sale, shooting next month. And... End comment. Take the money.

F. Aaron Franklin

Kerry: I appreciate your story, and it is typical of why writers are the surrogates of the business. But I'm speaking in a completely hypothetical situation, in which you actually do get the proper credit and they do allow you to have creative input in what ends up reaching the screen.

Kerry Douglas Dye

Oh, sorry, completely hypothetical. I've never been in a completely hypothetical situation, so I have no relevant experience to contribute. I'll bow out.

Cherie Grant

depending on how much money i'd choose that. i got bills to pay.

Lauran Childs

I'd take the money. Being a ghostwriter as well as writing my own stuff, it's what I do.

William Martell

Neither matters to me, but I need money to continue writing so that's what I'd take. There is no such thing as notoriety when you are a screenwriter. Screenwriters don't know who screenwriters are... and there is no such thing as a screenwriter with creative control (unless they also produce and direct). Once you sell a screenplay it is no longer yours.

Lauran Childs

Good point William!

Debbie Croysdale

Cj has a comes and goes, and so does fame, a strong group to work with, could be the rock to building a solid and long term future in Indie

Janet Elizabeth Swainston
2....I would always prefer to keep control
Royce Allen Dudley

$ I don

Royce Allen Dudley

$, I don't even need to read the whole question. Although it never happens that way. You get paid crap with no credit and verbally promised a hookup on the next one. I know several writers and picture editors who got hosed this way by A-listers before they wised up. They all make very good $ now and don't care about IMDb at all.

Nkosi Guduza

I think it depends where you are in your life (financially?) or if you really believe you have to be involved with the project. That's one thing I would love 1 because and if they do the production absolutely correctly - executed as it's supposed to be. For I myself the movie and its delivery are the key things in my wish, it is 100% portrayed as it started out to be. If they guarantee that 1 if not 2.

Richard Toscan

Go for the bucks. Strange as that may seem, doing that will also raise your going rate for future screenplay projects. And remember that famous quip: "The wages of screenwriting are money and oblivion."

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