Role of the Writer


Published on

1 Like
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Role of the Writer

  1. 1. The role of the writer in the commissioning process
  2. 2. ‘Spec’ Scripts • A writer writes without being paid • Targets a particular potential producer / production co for development • Research essential – to know what they are looking for ‘next’ BBC Commissioning Channel 4 Commissioning • Sometimes known as a ‘calling card’ script • D-QLo4lxD8 • DIZuMIZ_c8
  3. 3. ‘Optioned’ Scripts • There are two main types of optioned scripts. • A script is ‘optioned’ when it is bought from a writer with a view to being made.
  4. 4. ‘Optioned’ Scripts • The first type of optioned script is when a speculative script is bought from the writer who wrote it. • Usually happens in film industry (sometimes in TV, eg literary adaptations) • A Producer buys your script with the aim of finding funding to produce it. • You could receive anything from 1p to £10,000 • The Producer usually has ownership of the script for a year to find the funding, they can’t sell it to anyone else.
  5. 5. ‘Optioned’ Scripts: An example • • • • • • • • • The King’s Speech (2009) Written by David Seidler Produced by Iain Canning, Emile Sherman, Gareth Unwin Worked on the idea in the 70s and 80s, when he heard that the king’s speech problems mirrored his own. The Queen Mother asked that the film not be made in her lifetime. Wrote it as a stage play in 2005 It then reached the producers at Bedlam Productions, who sourced funding from the Lottery and BFI to make the film. Won 4 Academy awards, including best Picture and Best Original Screenplay
  6. 6. ‘Optioned’ Scripts • The second type of optioned script is where a producer buys (or ‘options’) the rights to an existing property, such as a novel, comic book or play. • The rights may often sit with the producer for years without getting made • The producer will seek a writer who can adapt the existing work into a screenplay
  7. 7. ‘Optioned’ Scripts: An example • No Country for Old Men (2007) • Original Novel written by Cormac McCarthy • Produced by Scott Rudin, who bought the frights to the book shortly after release • Rudin approached Joel and Ethan Coen with the idea of adapting the novel in 2005 • The Coens adapted the screenplay and then directed the film, which was released in 2007, winning 4 Academy awards, including Best Picture, and Best Adapted Screenplay • BqmKSAHc6w
  8. 8. ‘Optioned’ Scripts... • Important to find a Producer who can access funding for development & production. • Ideal option – get your script ‘packaged’: get on board a producer who has access to money, some names signed as cast, a potential director & possible sales / distribution opportunities lined up. Film 4 Funding UK Film Council Talent Development Fund
  9. 9. Other roles... • Script Readers often employed to read through & select appropriate scripts for further consideration (incorrectly formatted scripts immediately rejected). • Once script has been accepted, it undergoes a development process. • Script Editors involvement, rewriting. Script Reader & Script Editor Job Descriptions
  10. 10. Agents • Some production companies will not read unsolicited scripts • Require writers to have an agent • Spec scripts will often be sent to agents in order to find writer work • Will take 10-15% of cut from fees • They will endeavour to find work for the writer and to get their work seen by producers
  11. 11. ‘Commissioned’ Scripts • When the scriptwriter is paid to produce a script/s for a specific purpose / existing concept i.e. a series or episode, or a film. • You are required to write & re-write according to the needs of the production. • You are a ‘cog in the system’; you have little creative input in terms of shaping the piece. • Often well paid work.
  12. 12. The Process Spec Script Gets optioned by producer Producer makes film with Director Existing Property Gets optioned by producer, and Writer commissioned to adapt, Producer makes film with Director Long running series Team of writers commissioned to write on long-term basis Producer (usually employed by channel)makes programme with director