So much for that

The Bollywood project is now officially kaput.

I bear no malice towards the person who originally posted the listing, but I seriously question their thought process.

I’m not sure if they thought it was about the money, which it really wasn’t.

To me, the big problem was that this person wanted somebody to write a first draft, which they (them, not me) would then rewrite several times until it met with their approval.

Well, if that’s your plan, why not just write it yourself?  Wouldn’t that be easier?

I also had a big problem with this whole story thing.  All you’re working off of was a dinky one-paragraph description of the story, which is supposed to be changed into a 120-page/2-hour script.  Given time to develop a story, I suppose it’s possible, but it would really help if the writer knew something about Bollywood stories.

Which I don’t.

Which is why I kept asking for more of an outline, as well as the opportunity to meet with this person and find out exactly what was expected of me/the writer.

Neither happened.

I can’t help but wonder how similar this could be to what happens in H’wood.  Except there you at least have a better understanding of genres, so piecing a story together wouldn’t seem so…insurmountable.

I wrote back saying I didn’t think I was a good fit for this, wished them luck and signed off.

So of course, this morning I’m checking out craigslist, and lo and behold, there’s the listing again!

120 pages in English, screen credit only.  But it was posted 15 minutes BEFORE I sent my ‘resignation’ email.  Hmmm.

Surprisingly, somebody responded to it on the listings page saying what a bullshit offer this was, and that screen credit was basically worthless.  Pretty harsh, but I’m inclined to agree.

Later this morning, the listing changed to offer a $300 payment, which the angry responder says doesn’t change anything.  They even threatened to keep trash-talking the poster.

I’m tempted to post something explaining some of the story behind all of this, but don’t know if I would come across as trying to get some kind of revenge, which I’m really not.

I understand what this person wants, but don’t understand why they can’t do it themselves.  If they have a story and are familiar with what’s expected in it, why look for outside help?

I’m also thinking I should take this opportunity to step back from responding to every comparable writing gig that pops up and restart working on my own stuff.

That would probably be a good idea.

I even toyed with jumping back into BABY LIKES JAZZ, spitting out a first draft and seeing what happens.

Could be fun.

The game of waiting

After hours of indecision, I made a decision.

I sent a note to the Bollywood person, explaining my situation and concerns.  I like to think I was reasonable, level-headed and fair-minded.

So now I wait.  I wonder how long a response will take.

Not much else to report.  Very tired.

Movie of the Moment: UNDERCOVER BROTHER. It wasn’t my idea, but funnier than I expected.

Decisions, decisions

I finally got the contract for the Bollywood script.

But now I’m not so sure.

See, when I first applied, I said I’d be happy with a ‘Written By’ credit.  And that’s what I’m being offered.  No pay.  No points.  No percentage of the gross.  Some words on a screen.

Have I truly screwed myself over?  Seems like it.

Just about everybody I’ve spoken with says things like ‘if you’re not getting paid, then you’re a producer,’ and ‘sounds like another scam preying on unsuspecting, naive, willing writers’.  I’m inclined to think both are accurate.

Granted, the person did say this was a low-budget film.  AND they appear to be based out of Martinez; not exactly a filmmaking hub.

There’s also this ‘stipulation’ that the story HAS to be 2 hours/120 pages long.  What if it doesn’t work out that way?  Do I get penalized for bringing it in at 104?  I’m under the impression a standard Bollywood-type film is 2 hours long.  Does it have to be?  Exactly?

Another red flag was the condition that apparently discussing the film with ANYBODY outside of the production (or at least this person) could bring down a $10,000 fine on yours truly.  Is this standard H’wood practice?

I haven’t signed anything.  Part of me says ‘walk away’.  Another part says ‘work on your negotiating skills’.  A very small part says ‘sign it and crank it out in 3 weeks.  What’s the worst that could happen?’  I’m not listening to that last one.

I’m considering sending the person a list of questions, like “Who’s funding this?” , “Is there a guarantee it’ll get made?”, “What happens if you don’t like it?  Do I have to do rewrites?”

I may have to send the contract to a former entertainment attorney I know and see what he says.  That would be helpful.

Almost forgot.  The story itself.

I won’t get into details here, but the contract had the story in one paragraph.  Overall, it was okay.  Nothing spectacular, but HOW DO YOU EXPECT TO GET A 2-HOUR MOVIE OUT OF ONE DINKY PARAGRAPH???

I wrote back, saying that wasn’t enough to go on.  The response was “I’m working on a 10-page treatment and will get it to you as soon as I can.”  Shouldn’t that have been there in the first place?  Or at least sent beforehand?

From the very beginning, I said I needed to see as much of the story as possible to get an idea of how to put it together.  And this is what I get?  Give me a break.

I’m sure this is probably par for the course in terms of how it works in the big time, but if you’re trying to put together a movie yourself, I would imagine you don’t want to piss off the writer.

I think my biggest decision is if I think going through all of this is worth it.  On one hand, there’s my chance to show I can write a script quickly.  It wouldn’t be perfect, but it would be done.

There’s the chance this thing may actually get made, although I still have doubts.  What if it never gets made?  Also a sad reality of the industry.

But what if it does?  In what way would this impact me getting into the Writers Guild?  I think it has to be a studio film for automatic admission, so maybe this would be worth points towards reaching that.  I’ll have to research that.

Having an actual film credit would also make me stand out more when applying for other gigs, especially regarding query letters and trying to get representation.  That would be awesome.

I’m not even going to get into the issue of having somebody else rewrite it.  The less said, the better.

I think for now I’ll wait, not signing anything and seeing what happens.

While all the while, I’ll be working on my own stuff.  Which is really how it should be.