Fellow scribes... I'm curious. Why do so few screenwriters choose to post loglines here, but no scripts?
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Because there're a lot of thieves out there I guess :-) Are you in the mood (and do you have the money) to start a lawsuit everytime someone steals one of your great plays/scripts, just alters a few things and then makes money with your work?
If you don't get read, you never get fed ;-0
True, and that's why I'am a hungry guy with a lot of ideas :-)
I'm new in Stage 32 and I've noticed that there are often no scripts as well. However I've learned very early on in local Writers' Groups before becoming a published poet and short science fiction writer is to always copyright and/or register your work before posting. Before any of my short film scripts are filmed, they are either registered and/or copyright. (A producer-director once insisted I do both & I did.) All my full feature scripts before they're posted on this site are registered with WGC. You will see the registration number either on the Synopsis or on the Title Page. It's become a habit -- and from a few writer friends who have been burned in the past it only reinforces me to continue this habit. Any creative friend who has been hurt this way, hurts me (almost to tears at times), and all I can do is take them out for coffee and advise them to learn from the experience. Sad, but true. :\
Oh wow...I had no idea. Is this something a broke college student can do? Registering my script?
I can't speak for the WGA, but I can for the WGC in Canada. ;-). It's $40 per piece. However in Canada, you can Copyright via register snail mail. This is considered the really cheap way, not the formal Canadian Government "expensive" way. Yes, I send the registered script (I put all original scribbles, ideas for plot and typed script) in a brown envelope to myself. When it's delivered to me the following day, I sign on the line and NEVER open it. Only a court judge can open it in the event that my work has been stolen -- this is my proof. This is a form of copyright and there are, at least two cases have been won in court with this kind of copyright. (BTW, I also write down the title of the piece in the bottom left hand corner and file it as I have many works on file this way. One brown envelope can look the same as the next brown envelope.) Also, do understand there is a difference between registering and copyrighting your material. You can 'google' that information easily -- and I do detest the idea of posting technical, legal jargon on this site. Please do your homework and protect yourself as best as you can to spare the heartache my friends experienced.
40$ is a lot of money for many of us, certainly if you're a bit productive. If you want to do it cheap there's a solution. http://www.worldwideocr.com It might not be as safe as a Library Of Congress registration, but when you actually shoud end up in court somehow when someone steals your work it will always depend on the temper of the judge. Sometimes you'll win, sometimes you'll loose and paying more for a copyright service will not change that in most cases.
Like I said, I can only speak for Canada (WGC). I can not speak for the United States (WGA). BTW, Jonathan -- thank you that link. I'll have a look-see.
Here in Hollywood, the people that matter go out of their way to not read you. WGA registry is $20. I guess it comes down to what you want from screenwriting. If you want to get paid for your work, you've got to put it out there every chance you get. I choose not to live in fear of theft. (but I also register every screenplay I write).
if you post a script up here then you already have proof of authorship and date. A work is it's own copyright.
Mailing a script to yourself via registered mail won't stand up in court. Neither will registering with WGA or WGC. Those methods only serve as an indication of when the work was created. The only method that is admissible in court is to register it through the US Copyright Office. It used to be difficult and took months. Now with their online submission system, it's a fairly painless process. You can even register if you're not a resident of the US. Now I'm not suggesting that you have to do this, but if you ever want the option to litigate (aka the ability protect your work), you need to register it via USCO. You can't do it retroactively either. The more time the script has since being registered will help strengthen your case. Check out the book "The Writer Got Screwed (but didn't have to)" by Brooke Wharton. And after all that, I hope no one has to litigate...
If the Logline and Synopsis don't attract sufficient interest to the 'Gatekeepers" or "Development" or others higher up in the food chain, to call you in to Pitch, then posting the entire script is redundant. Plus, since there is no shortage of intellectual property theft in the Entertainment business (or any other business!), the very things that might make your story unique and compelling because of your writing skills and approaches to writing are more vulnerable. No matter how much we may like and appreciate each other and try to support each other as screenwriters, don't forget that we are always in competition with each other for a limited amount of jobs and opportunities vs the huge numbers of screenwriters submitting material. In conclusion, I would like to add a quote from a truly astonishing Actress: Life is hard. After all, it kills you. Katharine Hepburn
These are interesting and good comments, Lyse Beck and Lee Gabel. I belong to Trigger Street where screenwriters, short story writers and short filmmakers post up their work -- and yes, we all have to have a certain amount of ID so the writers know who is reading them and sharing the constructive critiques. Perhaps the Stage 32 techies and admin could follow up on this. In the meantime, I think I'll do the same -- just keep the logline and synopsis posted and take down the scripts, one of which I did through a Writers Store mentorship. For years many of my writer-friends and I have sent our work by registered mail to ourselves as a form of cheap copyright. We also sent in our work to WGC. On two occasions -- about 30 years ago -- I had my work copyrighted through Canada's Copyright Office and found it horribly expensive. And Lee, I have just sent an email to WGC pertaining to the case(s) that did win in Canada with the registered postmarked mail method where only the court judge can open the envelope for the proof. Hopefully, they reply soon. This a great discussion. It's wonderful to get others' feedback. :-)
What's the overall take on posting logline AND synopsis? Is that too much?
sigh Here....it's FREE! http://www.copyrighted.com/ WGA is $20, five years worth of protecting yourself. More than worth four Bic Mac meals.
Siempre habran quienes no tienen ningun sentido de la etica
There will always be those who have no sense of ethics
Y, al final, ellos sabrán a lo que se merecen.
Ken, USCO costs $35 and offers far more protection. http://www.copyright.gov/eco/index.html http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-general.html
I'm new to Stage 32, but I just posted a TV sitcom pilot and a Bible Story Epic that a director asked me to write to be shot in the vein of "300" called Samson & Delilah to my wall. Is there another specific place we should post? Both the director and myself believe this feature script is special and needs the backing of others with means beyond our own to do justice to the battle sequences, etc. And, I must confess my heart's desire for Paula Patton to bring Delilah to life in this story. Thank you for your time.