Screenplay Option Agreement

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Screenplay Option Agreement

A Brief Introduction About the Screenplay Option Agreement

The film market in today’s world has become quite uncertain due to which many writers are scared that someone would misuse their content without proper funding. In order to prevent the screenplay writers get into trouble, a screenplay option agreement is available.

The option agreement is a traditional method that is helpful in purchasing the scrip of your movie, and it also enables funding to buy it. It can last for around 12 to 18 months. This contract basically helps a company, studio, or a producer to get the film rights for the screenplay to make a film on it. The payment, price, and purchase are important parts of the option agreement.

Who Takes the Screenplay Option Agreement?

The screenplay option agreement template is taken by screenplay writers in the film industry. How can a writer claim that a story is written by him? This option agreement allows a writer to be a part of the film and to protect his/her story. There are many fraud cases happening in film industries every day due to which it is important for the screenplay writers to get the option agreement whenever someone asks them to pay for the rights of the story.

Why Do You Need a Screenplay Option Agreement?

Why don’t you need it? Anyone who wants to protect his/her work as a screenplay writer definitely needs this contract/agreement. If there won’t be any agreement, then there are full chances that the producer can also sell your screenplay at higher prices to someone else. In today’s world, nothing can be proved in court until you have written proof. That’s why you should always get a screenplay option agreement while selling the rights of the screenplay.

Now selling screenplay rights for a particular time period is a different thing, and selling it for a lifetime is another thing. All these things are written in the agreement due to which option agreement is an essential factor in the lives of screenplay writers.

Contents of the Screenplay Option Agreement

The major contents of the agreement include all the details regarding option payment, option period, and price of purchase.

  • The option period is the time that is given to the studio or company in which they can execute a particular film project. This period can be extended if the screenplay writer allows in the future.
  • The payment is the amount that is received by the writer to allow the studio or company to utilize screenplay for a film project, book, or other development purposes.
  • The purchase price is the money that the writer will receive from the producer when the project is made as a film. It can be quite high if the film is at a higher budget.

How to Draft the Screenplay Option Agreement?

If you are a screenplay writer and want to draft such an agreement, then you can also take the help of the screenplay option template available online, or you can also take the help of a lawyer. Legal help can prove best when you don’t have proper knowledge about the agreements. Every single clause and line in the agreements can prove good or bad to you in the future. That’s why it should be made by a knowledgeable person or with the help of a lawyer. It is not too difficult to draft the agreement if you have a little bit of knowledge about rules and laws regarding screenplay and film agreements.

Negotiation Strategy

Negotiation strategy comes in play when the producer wants the option period to be increased or if the writer wants the payment to be increased. This strategy totally depends on the communication skills, experience, and future working aspects of the screenplay writer. You can easily negotiate with the party if you have the caliber to do it.

Benefits and Drawbacks of the Screenplay Option Agreement

The benefit of getting a screenplay option agreement for the writers is that they are able to get hold of their rights. The writers spend months while writing a beautiful and thrilling story, but it can end up being stolen by someone if no agreement is signed. The option agreement helps the screenplay writers to earn money by giving rights of their script to the producer for a particular time period. The screenplay writer has no drawbacks of getting this agreement signed with a producer, but if the latter isn’t able to make a fill on the screenplay within the given time period, then the writer is allowed to sell those rights to anyone else.

[ Also Read: Content License Agreement ]

What Happens in Case of Violation?

The consequences of the violation of the screenplay option agreement can be different as per the clauses in the agreement. That’s why it is always advised that the agreement should be made and read carefully before signing(1). It is mandatory for both the writer and producer to check the agreement properly because the violation of agreement can lead to severe legal problems. The writer can sue a producer in case the latter tries to make use of screenplay even after the expired time period.

Summing up, we just want to say that the screenplay option agreement is something that should be considered by every screenplay writer out there. Even if you are going to produce a story written by someone else, it would be best to buy its rights so that the other person isn’t able to sell it to another party at the same time. It removes the corruption going on in the lives of screenplay writers and producers both. Being a talented creator or writer, one should understand the importance of the screenplay option contract.