Screenwriting : Re-writing opportunity? by Dougie Brimson

Dougie Brimson

Re-writing opportunity?

What do people think of the idea of being offered a re-writing opportunity? Last year I wrote two spec screenplays both of which received decent feeddback even though they are first drafts. However, I simply don't have the time to rewrite them and chances are, by the time I do, either I'll have lost interest or someone will have produced something similar. So rather than let them simply die, the thought has struck me that someone else might be interested in taking them on. Equal credits, 50/50 split, etc, etc. Thoughts?

Pierre Langenegger

About a year and a half back, I was approached to do a rewtite on a script. Even though the project was eventually scraped, I loved the work because it was fresh for me. I think it's. great idea to farm out the rewrite. I'm not up for it myself, right now but, go for it.

Monique Mata

May I ask who gave you the decent feedback?

Shawn Speake

Just thoughts / just vibing: If your projects don't inspire you enough to finish them, why would I be inspired? If it's not worth your time, what makes it worth my time?

Dougie Brimson

Monique, the feedback came from various sources including Universal Pictures, Film4, a couple of producers, some actors and my agent. Shawn, that's a very good question and the truth is that there are actually a few reasons. First and foremost, I've two novels lined up to write by the end of the year but in addition, I have a film about to go into pre-production plus another script which looks like it'll be moving from a single film to a three part TV comedy drama which will mean a huge amount of work. As a consequence, it's going to be a fair while before I can dedicate any time to these two scripts. On top of that, they're outside of my usual genre and certainly in the case of one, were written on a bit of a whim so the chances of my returning to them with the same enthusiasm in a year or so are fairly remote. More likely, they will simply be pushed further into the depths of my hard drive by other projects and forgotten which would be a shame. So, why not simply offer them up to someone else?

Debbie Croysdale

Yes fresh eyes, can provide an alternative solution, rather than just leaving an idea "to die". I would be interested to know what the genres are?

Shawn Speake

Damn, Dougie! I didn't realize who I was talking to - I apologize for not reviewing your bio first! Boy, do I feel small right now! You're a beast who doesn't have time for the little battles - got it! My bad!

Dougie Brimson

Er... Shawn, there's no need for that! :-D Debbie, the genres are crime thriller and children's drama. Damien, got it. Will reply asap.

Debbie Croysdale

Any chance of the log line for the thriller? (Just the log line will suffice). Thanks

Eoin O'Sullivan

There are pros & cons. If the new writer you bring on board has lots of experience and enthusiasm AND is willing to do some leg work to get your projects traction, that can't but, be a good thing. Certainly better than letting something gather cyber dust! If the writer turns out to be troublesome, unable to bring new ideas, lack all of the things that make a script better . . . well, enough said there. So, I guess it all boils down to you picking a good writer. Something tells me you probably have someone in mind. Best of luck, what ever you decide :)

Dougie Brimson

Eoin, I actually don't. The thought only occurred to me this morning. I would actually like to work with someone new and preferably, someone with a bit of experience if not a credit or two. Debbie, the thriller is in essence a reworking of the classic Jack Hawkins thriller, The League of Gentlemen. Does that help?

Debbie Croysdale

Yes. Thanks Dougie, I get the picture.

Debbie Croysdale

This could be done in three long sequences, emphasising chemistry and mind play, between rich characters. A sort of upper class Reservoir Dogs, (I mean similar ilk, know stories not the same).

Lauri Donahue

Decent feedback as in "this is pretty good" or as in "if you fixed the following three issues we could make/sell/buy" this? I am generally very skeptical of "you do the work and let's share the money" deals, but this seems a cut above the usual ones... Are the stories set in the US or the UK or ?? That could be relevant for dialogue, cultural nuance, etc.

Eoin O'Sullivan

Hi Dougie. No worries. I have short script attached in my profile. If you think there's something I can bring to the table, I'd be happy to chat

Dougie Brimson

Lauri, feedback as in 'love the writing but needs more character development, etc'. Stories are set in the UK and in principle, both could make the leap to the US. However, doing so would restrict pitching opportunities as I have no contacts or representation over there.

Debbie Croysdale

LOL. This thread already contains enough material , not to mention, crisp one liners.....for at least several pages of a meaty plot.

Jenny Masterton

Rewrites are usually big money. I don't know why anybody would want to rewrite another's story (which they own).

Dougie Brimson

Rewrites are indeed big money for established writers Jenny, or at least they can be. However, when did you last hear of a relatively unknown writer being offered a rewrite with anything more than a pittance involved? If anything at all! I'm offering someone an opportunity and on a straight 50/50 split of any potential income derived from the script. Simple as that. To be honest, I don't really understand your hostility to the idea.

Lauri Donahue

I'm extremely unknown and I do paid rewrites for more than a pittance. :)

Dougie Brimson

Which makes you the last person I heard of. :-)

C. D-Broughton

Doug, It would appear as though a lot of users here mistook this as your average Craigslist gig, wherein an unknown with a poor script and very average idea wants someone else to make it professional quality. A pity that you didn't link your IMDb page in your opening post to clear that up. Good luck with your forthcoming projects - it's great to see British thrillers moving forwards! Carl

Dee Chu

Aloha Lauri. I write. I do rewrites too. Its also not for a pittance. We should chat. 808.636.1300 I'm in Hawaii. Three hours after CA.

Dougie Brimson

HI Carl, I fear you might be right. I always forget the two nations/common language issue! Then again, in typically British fashion, I'm always reluctant to blow my own trumpet. D.

Debbie Croysdale

Such a complex and multi layered film, watched it last night, now I understand why you chose "this one". I'm surprised I don't already have it in my large cult collection. A wide range of social, moral, and other underlying issues here. Will be interesting to see how some of this pans out with relevance to today's climate. Eg Post war blues, etc. Props should have a fun job, switching old for new. A lot of this deep stuff made in the 60s, ended on a note with an absurd one liner. Brighton Rock, "I love you...I love you....I love you" the crackling vinyl record, or "I'll think of something lads" Italian job,. I don't mean absurd as in bad, I mean poignant, considering what precedes the end.

Shawn Speake

@CD… I did just that! And I learned a big lesson yesterday: check out a person's bio before running off at the mouth!

C. D-Broughton

You weren't to have known, Shawn; to be honest, my first instinct was to repeat the adage: "Writing is rewriting"... only to realise that I knew the name, so quickly confirmed that, yes, the post was made by one of Britain's hottest properties!

Dougie Brimson

Stop it! You'll have me blushing!

C. D-Broughton

A man who really does know how to pen a "hard man" thriller... you should take great pride in that. I grew up right by Upton Park, but am a gooner like my old man. You ever want to meet up to chat over a beer (or tea, which I'm better suited for (yes, a lightweight!), send me a message. We'll no longer talk about football because you look like a Millwall nutter!

Rose Summers

This post was a load of fun to read with my morning coffee :) Dougie, I'm a 'new' writer and can only offer an American perspective so I'm not jumping in to offer to help, just to say I loved The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and I am excited for the progression of your script.

Shawn Speake

I'm with you on that, Rose… Thanks for being so cool, guys. Now I'm not too embarrassed to say I'm very interested! What an opportunity! I'd do it intern style.

Danny Manus

I'd be happy to help with rewrites but I charge quite a bit of money for that. The real question is why would anyone work on your idea for free for hypothetical money instead of their own projects?

Michael Wearing

Dougie would love the opportunity to be considered for the project. As a former London policeman I'm sure I can find a way of breathing life into your characters....

Jorum Mwenda

Dougie Brimson Email me here : jorumtizzyjay@gmail.com

Doug Kissock

Dougie (great name BTW!) a fresh perspective never hurts, and if a first draft is like the early stages of a love affair -- all adrenaline and white heat -- two first drafts must generate some serious critical mass! And siblings, maybe...

William G Chandler Jr

It is an opportunity.

Dougie Brimson

I agree with your comment Damien. Indeed, I'm not sure I'd have that much confidence in a script consultant who doesn't actually read a post but still feels quite happy to make a comment on it. After all, isn't reading and digesting fundamental to the job?

Debbie Croysdale

Good points raised by Jeni. I would like to add my thoughts, that Arts projects do not necessarily have to adhere to confines and rules of bureaucratic stipulations. An opportunity is presented for artists to pool together and share ideas, for writers to make a popular classic change but grow. Maybe a successful metamorphosis will occur, maybe it won't, but scribes are already wanting "their" terms written in stone. A team idea is COOL, a cross section of writers, each given the "skeleton" of what Dougie wants "colouring in". Only he knows what he wants, and the only way to find it is in the material. I wish to vindicate the idea that someone not in IBM, may be troublesome. Causing trouble is a personality trait, not foreshadowed by the non ticking of a box, in a web domain.

Danny Manus

You're right, I think everyone thought this was just another of the many posts of people looking for free work. I loved green street houligans and it does seem like a good opportunity for some writers. So, I stand correctly and good on ya, Dougie.

Danny Manus

*stand corrected.

Phillip "Le Raconteur" Hardy

Doug: I'll take a look at your drafts. You can check out my bio to determine if you're interested. However, I offer no apologies.

C. D-Broughton

Um, I just wanted to point out that the "Millwall nutter" thing was a joke (since not everyone understands our culture, let alone my bad sense of humour).

Dougie Brimson

Hi everyone. Just wanted to update this post: To my astonishment, I've been inundated with kind offers to take on these projects so will wade through them all over the next few days and will then approach those who I think might fit. However, given that so many of those offers have come from across the pond, I am going to give some thought to how either idea might work over there. The only fly in the ointment is that I have no contacts and no representation in the US which would make pitching it all but impossible. On the plus side... yesterday I had my fourth feature green lit! :-)

Rose Summers

Very happy for you, Dougie. Good on ya!

Anthony Cawood

Congrats on the green light Dougie, what's the new one about?

Dougie Brimson

Thanks Rose & Anthony. I can't say anything about it at the moment as I've still not signed on the line! Tempting fate and all that...

Anthony Cawood

Understood, look forward to hearing more in the fullness of time.

Debbie Croysdale

Congrats on the nearness of the green line! Have you thought of both US and UK scripts. (Authenticity and all). As expected you have much appreciation in people interested to merge. "Count me in...but keep it simple. No heavy interview, no midnight calls, no maudlin in Starbucks, no case of Swarovski when the jobs done.....In fact keep me off the bloody grid all together! Bish..bash...bosh. On an as and when basis, which name and at which time their computers glitch. Can't wait to see the face on human resources, when that ghastly film comes up with the rent boy. Well, Carp Diem!" (Sorry films get me carried away)

Dan McCurry

I'd be interested in having a look, Dougie. I live in Bethnal Green by the way. You can have a look at a short I wrote and directed on my profile.

Mark Gunnion

Hey, Dougie - if I may add a drop to your flood - I'd be interested in re-writing anything you've got, very, very cheaply. You can look at my Thriller log-line and script posted here at STAGE32 as a sample, and if anything there seems interesting to you, please get in touch - I think I'm really good at dialogue, and if your scripts are strong on story, it could be a good fit. And good on you for reaching out to some hungries!

Dougie Brimson

Just to keep everyone in the loop, I've found a screenwriter for one of the projects on offer but am still sifting through my list of potential partners for the second (the crime caper/thriller). I'm also still considering the idea of transferring the setting for this to the US but with no connections or representation across the pond, this would only really be feasible if I placed it with a writer who had those kind of connections which is a big ask given the initial idea behind this undertaking. One thing I would like to reiterate though, without wishing to come across as in any way conceited, what I'm offering is an opportunity, not a paid job. So if that's what you're looking for, please look elsewhere as I'm afraid you're going to be disappointed.

Edward Higgins

I'd like to do that Dougie.

Dougie Brimson

Good question, simple answers. The first script is about football/soccer and so it's easier/better if it's written by someone that knows the sport intimately something not many US based writers will do. A lesson I learnt on Green Street when the producer insisted on using a US based screenwriter, paid him $75,000 to do a rewrite which I then tossed in the bin as soon as I read it. The second script is a crime thriller/caper but it involves the military and as it's currently set in England, it needs someone who knows the workings of the military and especially the way ranks interact with each other. That said, I am thinking about transferring the location to the US if I can find the right writer and that would be someone who understands the military. However, that moves me into different territory deal wise as I'd need someone who could also help with pitching it over there. Does that answer your question?

Dougie Brimson

OK, to follow up on this, I handed the first script to a writer a few weeks ago and his work has been fantastic. So much so that it's now with my agent who's already pitching it out. So, I'm now thinking of the second script (the crime thriller one) but this time I'm seriously considering involving someone based in the US. However, whoever that person might be needs to be able to help pitch it out as I have no contacts at all on that side of the pond. Does that interest anyone?

Mary Winborn

I have loved reading this blog/thread. I am working on a crime story, from the late 40's-1980.

Debbie Croysdale

Hi Douglas. Great news about the hatching of your first script. For your question I suggest you try someone I know who digs crime stories, and pitches in the States. C J Blodgett, right here Stage 32

Dougie Brimson

Screenwriting and the art of the opportunity. http://wp.me/pYGAR-wm

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