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Screenwriting : Safest way to collobrate by Rochelle Nichole

Safest way to collobrate

I'm completely new to the thought of screenwriting. I have so many ideas (and figure that since I'm having a hard time finding things I'd like to work on (acting) - I would try my hand at creating/writing) but am worried that if I share it too widely before its far enough along in the process, someone might take it and try to make it their own. Is that ever a worry you have? Are there ways to protect yourself and ideas? Am I just being silly?

Andy Byrne

Hi Rochelle, Not silly, but a natural concern. As far as protecting your ideas, though... Well, here's a great piece from Stephanie Palmer http://goodinaroom.com/blog/how-to-copyright-protect-your-ideas/ But in my view, I'd focus first on your storytelling - your craft, finding your voice, honing your instinct. As an actor, you're coming from a great space. Explore it. Enjoy it. And when it comes time to letting your work out there, yeah, sure - be aware who you're sharing it with. But, out into the world at some point it must go - whether having it table-read, professionally covered, entered in comps or read by reps or producers etc. Like acting, writing is about putting yourself out there. It has risks etc., but when you're doing it you know that you wouldn't want to be doing anything else. ;-)

Craig D Griffiths

Rochelle, writers tend not to steal ideas because they have millions of them. You have identified the difficult part, the writing. Most writers will tell you, ideas are free. That is why they cannot be copyrighted. A script which is an individual creative expression of an idea can be copyrighted. Look at Zombie movies, all basically the same idea, but all told differently. I am thinking of creating a list of 100 script ideas to give to people that fear their ideas will be stolen, in a hope to make them feel better. Writers can be trusted. Your biggest hurdle is finding someone enjoy being around. You'll spend a year working on a script. It will be a long year if you don't get along.

Rochelle Nichole

Hi Andy, Thank you so much for your response! Thanks for the informative article. That is a really great way to look at it - it makes sense that in order for your work to go anywhere - it has to be seen/heard etc! It's definitely scary to put yourself out there but I'm looking forward to dive into it! :) The hardest part for me I think will be figuring out how to get the world I've made up in my head down on paper and into words...I've never been the best at that part.

Rochelle Nichole

Hi Craig, Thank you so much for your response!! That makes total sense, especially when putting it into context regarding what is already out there (zombie movies). I'm sure you can give 2 people the same idea and the end result could be TOTALLY different. This helps!

Philip Sedgwick

No matter what kind of collaboration, always, always start with an agreement on paper. Doesn't have to be overly complicated, but all terms need to be stated. It's not a matter of idea theft, but of knowing who is what, how and when to the development of the idea.

Richard Gustason

No you aren't being silly. Every screenwriter, or any creative for that matter, feels like you do. I have some scripts that are registered with the Writer's Guild of America -West. Only $20 for that because the budget to copyright my stuff was not in it. And with some here that say have an agreement in writing. But before you do that, ask questions with the collaborator. See if their vision somewhat matches with yours. And if you feel that it's a fit, then get an agreement in writing. Oh and here is a little thing I do once I get an idea in my head: I write it down. I have many plot ideas so I created a little system where I write the idea down then put it in an envelope. And leave it there until it gets chosen to be worked on. This way, you can focus on one script at a time. I guess the only thing left to say is...happy screenwriting.

Erik Grossman

It's not silly, but creatives do have a tendency of being paranoid. Recently we had a writer who wrote a show about strippers send me a very frantic email, saying that someone stole her idea because showtime had just announced THEY were doing a show about strippers. A lot of ideas are what's called "Most Often Pitched" - MOP's. These are shows that come across an executive's desk like clockwork. Shows about strippers, sex workers, gangs, teachers, etc. The idea is frankly not what is important. Every idea has been done before, there's nary an original thought out there (there was an article recently that argued only 6 movie ideas actually exist, another one of our teachers made the case that there are only 36 dramatic situations). The idea doesn't matter. The execution of that idea does, both on the page and on screen.

Andy Byrne

Yeah, Erik's point hits the nail on the head about it not being the idea, but the execution. Completely. So dump out that world in your head on to the page, Rochelle. Then trim and refine, refine, refine... :-)

Rochelle Nichole

Thank you guys for all of your advice and pointers - I really appreciate it. It's helpful to know that I am not the only one who thinks of these things. I'm excited to get started and hope things flow to paper easily! :)

Bill Costantini

Rochelle: send me everything - your thoughts, loglines, synopses, treatments, written scenes, email contacts, etc...etc... - my semi-trained coyote guard animals and I will keep it all safe!

Rochelle Nichole

lol Bill - sounds like a great plan! :)

Julien Klenn

If you and I were given the exact same premise, the end result would be completely different from each other. It all comes down to how you execute.

Sarah Gabrielle Baron

Writer's Duet (free, online) is quite brilliant. Let go of your fear, Rochelle. You have to have fun with this, or there's no point. Don't be too 'precious' with your ideas. It's not about money. It's about the joy of flowing with creative juices, energy, synchronicity, and, ultimately, the divinity of Creation. Welcome!

Rochelle Nichole

Very true Julien! I promise I have zero interest in the money side of things Sarah! :) and thank you! I am very much looking forward to creating something! and Thank you Jim - I will look into that.

William Martell

Full body condom.

Joe Fiserano

That's a very tasteless joke William. Not funny either. It makes you look like a buffoon.

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