A Rough Guide To Independent Film Finance


I’ve previously written posts on financing movies in the studio arena. The principals of raising independent film finance are similar. The main difference lies in the extended patchwork of funding sources to get an indie film made. Each piece of the budget pie also tends to be smaller. There is no hard and fast rule…

How Do Studio Motion Pictures Get Financed?


Film finance is a patchwork of investor finance, studio production funds, tax credits, pre-sales, banks, insurance companies and lots of creative accounting, guesswork and glamor. The ‘Big 5’ studios account for the lion’s share of movie box office revenue. Which Are The Big 5 Film Studios? These are the biggest by revenue and stock price,…

Do You Know The Difference Between Screenplay OPTION and SHOPPING Agreements?


If you’re one of those screenwriters who’ve had their film scripts purchased outright, on the spot, in pitch meetings, you’ve conquered the virtually impossible. Congratulations, it is the pinnacle of your screenwriting career. For most writers, they are typically offered one of two types of screenplay agreements, an option agreement or a shopping agreement. Option…

What The Heck Is A Producer Only Deal?


There’s a new producer deal in town that’s making screenwriters’ pens tingle with screenwriting excitement. It’s called a producer only deal. The main types of deals film & TV producers win in the current studio system are: BLIND DEAL – When a film or TV producer is so popular and bankable, they have access to…

Who Ya Gonna Call? Ghost Writers!


Not all screenwriters are credited with writing a feature screenplay or TV teleplay. Why does this travesty exist? The main reason is that the screenwriters have contributed too little to a screenplay (less than two-thirds) to warrant a screen credit. Enter the GHOST WRITER. What do they actually do? They write in the shadows and…

What Should Screenwriters Expect From A Literary Agent Or Manager?


Many screenwriters have (or should have) heard the adage that since agents and managers collect 10-20% commission on a screenplay sale, they should only be doing an equivalent amount of work in advancing your screenwriting career. Is this a reasonable expectation? Perhaps. Never sit back after securing the services of an agent and manager and…

How Screenwriters Should Negotiate Their Screenplay Options


Congratulations. An agent, manager or film/ TV producer is interested in your screenplay. Woo hoo! What now! You have options. Sorry. I had to throw that in. A screenplay option agreement grants a movie or TV producer the exclusive right to market your script, secure finance and attach talent. It does not grant them intellectual property…

5 Crowdfunding Film Tips for Screenwriters


The traditional goal for a screenwriter was to get your screenplay optioned or sold. Then it was updated to becoming a produced screenwriter. Even more recently, the mantra is that screenwriters should produce their own films. That’s it, folks. We are now bona fide film producers. We must learn how to fund a film. Raising funds…

Diversity In Screenwriting


It is no secret that the majority of film and television screens are still filled with white actors and most screenplays are still penned by white, middle-class males. Is this dominant mono-culture as large an issue as claimed by various diversity pundits? Workplace diversity is broadly defined in terms of gender, race, cultural background, sexual orientation,…

5 Easy & Achievable Steps To Champion Your Screenwriting Career


As part of our continuing series on screenwriting advice from Career Coach Lee Jessup, here are some easy steps that you can start taking today to charge of your career. Many decisions are out of our control, but screenwriters have more power to engineer their relationships than we think. So here goes. I turn the keyboard over to…

How Can Screenwriters Get Their Films Financed (and Profitable?)


The film making and film distribution world has changed dramatically. Gone are the days when screenwriters could easily sell their screenplays to Hollywood producers for a million bucks. The modern sobering reality is that screenwriters must now play some role in getting their movies produced. They need to become bona fide movie producers. After you’ve dazzled…