I wonder if someone could point me in the right direction.
I’ve been approached to write a pilot screenplay for a book of mine. I’ve put something together, they seem to like it, and now it all seems to be getting a bit serious, which is great, except I don’t have an agent. I have a feeling that it might be an idea to sort something out sooner rather than later, but I’m not sure how to go about it. Since I’m not looking to sell the screenplay, then maybe I need an entertainment legal bod, not an agent.
Probably easiest to start off with a lawyer who specializes in entertainment. They can review any contracts and point out if there are any sections you need to be aware of. This will solve your immediate concern. I have gone this route with a project.
I have also gone the route of ‘getting’ an agent after a deal was pretty much a done. They signed me on, and were happy to help, collect their fee, very professional, but it was not a good fit and they likely would not have taken me on in the first place. So, take your time with an agent and make sure they’ll help you long term.
Most important advice? You need to watch out for what rights they want to option – do not give anything extra away! Let them have an option to produce the pilot within a certain time frame, and then if they’re not successful, those rights fall back to you. Make sure they don’t try to also tie up any rights with other electronic formats, etc.
In my experience you need an agent with specific skills and experience in the screenplay world.
Legal people usually know little of how this world works, and a strict legal analysis of a contract often misses the important points and can advise you to demand things that are just not obtainable.