Screenwriting : Writing for existing IPs by Anthony Harding

Anthony Harding

Writing for existing IPs

Here's the situation. I am an unproduced writer. As in zero, nothing, nada. No 'street cred' as of yet. So I've basically just been writing screenplay after screenplay trying to find my voice. So as a fun diversion I decided to adapt a small feature from the 80's that I remember loving as a kid into a TV pilot. Now it's done and I kind of love it and feel it's my strongest writing to date. I keep hearing again and again not to query with work based on IP's you don't have rights to, but usually those comments reference huge IP's like Star Wars and Marvel, etc. So, here's the question: Is spec writing to an existing IP absolutely forbidden? Or are there just certain guidelines that need to be followed? Will using this spec pilot as the basis for a query cause an instant rejection? Oops. That was three questions... Sorry. And thanks in advance for any who decide to respond!

Anthony Cawood

Hey Anthony - I think you have the same problem no matter what size the IP, someone own's it and you don't have permission to use it. You might be able to use your script as a writing sample, but without permission you can't enter competitions or try get it made... guess you could try and find out who owns the IP and talk to them...

Anthony Harding

Good idea! Off to do some research!

William Martell

Yes. Same problem. You have stolen copyrighted characters and situations. Stealing someone's car and then trying to sell it back to them is the same bad idea whether that's a Rolls Royce or a Volkswagen.

Richard Toscan

What William Martell said. Couldn't say it better...

Dianne Gardner

Hey Anthony, get ahold of some of the filmmaking groups in Seattle and Tacoma and see if one of them wants to film one of your shorts. They do it all the time and they're hungry for fresh material. Weekend Warriors is one. Tacoma Filmmakers and Seattle Filmmakers. All on Facebook!

Other topics in Screenwriting:

register for stage 32 Register / Log In