By Brock Cooper (doddleNEWS)
When you screenwriting on spec with the hopes of having a production company option it, it can take a long time. There will likely be a string of rejections, but when it happens, the feeling is intense. You get this euphoria that all your problems are over and the money will start rolling in.
The problem is this is rarely the case. It’s one thing when a studio or production company seeks you out to write a script, but when your spec script is optioned it can be a long waiting game. The main factor is the priority the studio production company places on your script.
You may get a lump sum payment for the option with a large payment when the film is made. This lump sum can be anything from a few thousands to a couple hundred thousand depending on the script and studio. You may also be paid in a percentage of any profits earned from the film in the case of small and independent companies.
Now, you wait. Studios options dozens of films and can only produce a handful each year. So, your script could sit on the shelf for a few years before it finally gets made. Smaller companies don’t usually wait so long, but it takes time to find funding, get a crew together, cast actors, shoot the film and then there’s post production.
Also, options only last for so long, so if a studio options your script and the deadline looms, they can seek to renew or drop it all together. If it gets dropped, then you’re back to square one unless there is someone else waiting in the wings.
Hollywood is a lot like Washington, nothing ever happens fast. Don’t be discouraged if things seem to move forward only to stall again. Directors, producers and actors come and go as schedules conflict and creative differences develop. If your story is good, then it will get made, just don’t expect it to happen in a few months or even a year.
As the writer, you should be kept in the loop as far as timing and progress. Odds are there will be rewrites and other changes you will have to do throughout the process, but don’t get on their nerves. When your script gets optioned and things start to slow down, start working on your next project, so it will be ready to go when your movie hits the market.