I have recently written a screenplay at the request of someone else. They had innitially paid someone to write the screenplay for them and the person stole their money (40k) and left. I said that I would write the screenplay and then we would arrange for compensation when the screenplay was completed. I have since finished the screenplay and when I asked for the contract I was told that I would get something after they had read the work. Now, I can’t help but to feel that I am giving away everything I have for nothing if I give them the screenplay, so I thought about giving them a taste and then asking for the contract if they want the rest. What do you think I should do?

Seek real legal advice. If you want a discuss a contract that’s actually worth 40k, you’d better have someone do it who’s doing it on a professional basis.

Other than that: You shouldn’t have agreed to write the full thing and only then talk about the contract.

The screenwriting contracts that I was involved with consisted of payments for certain milestones like:

  • Start of the project
  • Delivery of treatment
  • Acceptance of treatment
  • Delivery first draft
  • Delivery second draft

In your position I’d FIRST want a contract that guarentees me some money for the plain delivery of the script …

But: Seek REAL legal advice.

What Typo said. Your first mistake was agreeing to write the screenplay without a contract. Don’t compound it by getting advice from random people online.

It sounds like you are dealing with an individual, not a studio. (Studios like contracts to protect themselves.) That’s even more of a reason to be very careful: the individual could just flat out steal your work, and you could spend years in court trying to get anything at all.

Get a lawyer.


If you are in America go here -

wga.org/subpage_writersresou … px?id=1027

Then when you’ve got a grasp of the details contact the WGA and ask them who you should speak to.

If you are in another country look up the professional guild for that country on Google.

But do not go it alone and fiddle with a ‘bush lawyer’ approach. As the other replies suggested - get professional help. It could make a difference to your career in lots of ways in the future. It’s good to have a heart - but it’s wise to be smart.


Frankly, I’m surprised that the person that just lost what amounts to an average years worth of wages, was willing to jump right into another deal without any legal protection! That seems a little weird to me, do you trust this person? You might be getting fed a tall tale for the sake of lowering your guard or something.

Well, if they are willing to pay for the work it wouldn’t be terribly wrong of you to get an agent to manage the deal for you. And if not that, at least seek out some real legal advice.

Good luck!