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Concerns about sharing my script...


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#1 James Begert

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 03:44 PM

Hello all-

Recently I posted an ad online looking for crew/cast in my local area.
This will be my first film, a short, and no budget to speak of.

Surprisingly I have been getting some great replies from people. Some of them even just say:
"Please send script, thx."

My question is, is this normal or should i be more protective my script?
Personally, I do not feel comfortable in sending it to total strangers on the computer
and in fact, I would prefer to hand it out after, say, the first or second production meetings.

Also, is it normal to have crew sign a confidentiality form even for a short film?

I'm not trying to be an egomaniac here ,just wondering what is the norm here.

Thank you.
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#2 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 06:37 PM

Hello all-

Recently I posted an ad online looking for crew/cast in my local area.
This will be my first film, a short, and no budget to speak of.

Surprisingly I have been getting some great replies from people. Some of them even just say:
"Please send script, thx."

My question is, is this normal or should i be more protective my script?
Personally, I do not feel comfortable in sending it to total strangers on the computer
and in fact, I would prefer to hand it out after, say, the first or second production meetings.

Also, is it normal to have crew sign a confidentiality form even for a short film?

I'm not trying to be an egomaniac here ,just wondering what is the norm here.

Thank you.


If you want to do the poor-man's copy-protection, mail a copy of the script to yourself and once you receive it, keep it sealed and put it on a shelf somewhere. This way you have a post-marked date that you can use to prove the script was yours should you encounter any copyright or intellectual property issues.

Confidentialty agreements? Unless your short proves that an alien spacecraft really did land at Area 51 I think that's really unnecessary. Agreements, yes. I always have the cast and crew sign contracts for my projects. That's just good business. This way, everyone knows where they stand with regard to rights, compensation and overall expectations.

Remember, it's a short. Everyone is making one. I understand the paranoia (I've been there) but most of the time, people just want to see the script so they know what they will be doing. But I agree with handing it to someone in-person during the first face-to-face meeting rather than e-mailing it.
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#3 Gregory Gesch

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 07:01 PM

Hi James,
Send them the script. They are expressing interest in working with an unknown person on an unknown project. Though it is understandable that you want to be sure of them before handing anything over, it is also understandable that they want to be sure of you and the project before commiting to handing over their time and expertise. If you replied to an ad for a director wouldn't you expect to see a copy of the script as the very first step - I certainly would. The people who then follow up are fully aware of what they are signing up for and that they are not going to be asked to do a cheap porno (or are being asked if that's the case :-).
As Bill suggests make sure you have that copyright protection.
Good luck with it.
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#4 Richard Boddington

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 10:41 AM

Do you think someone is planning on stealing it?

99.99% a screenwriter's fears that someone will steal their script are unfounded.

R,
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#5 George Ebersole

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 03:02 PM

James; did you copyright your script with the Library of Congress's Copyright Office? If yes, then you're covered. If not, then you're not protected, but, I wouldn't worry about someone stealing your stuff as the potential producer-thief will need to do the same thing you do; muster a crew and pay for equipment rentals. And that's assuming he likes what your wrote.

Everybody has your fear. I did, and still do at times. We all think we're geniuses who can profit off of our own ideas, and fear the pirate who's searching for an idea to profit off of. And hey, intellectual theft happens.

But I think if you can establish that you're in production or pre-production, have your shot list laid out, then you're in good hands to begin with.

Still, head on over to the LOC's copyright website, take 15 minutes to fill out the various fields, then sport them $35 as an online registration fee, and voila. You're done.

And, even if by some chance someone takes your script and runs with it, you still have inherit copyright over that material. Proving to a judge that you were aggrieved is another matter, but it's still yours to produce. And if that pirate in question produced a good flick, then you need to crank out something 100% than the trash he created with your stolen ideas.

p.s. also, think of your fear like this, if someone were smart enough to spot a good idea, wouldn't they have come up with it themselves? And if they're smart enough to spot the potential in yours, then would they also not be smart enough to contact you about producing it, then be idiotic enough to try and steal the thing?
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#6 Robert G Andrews

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 05:24 PM

James, "Please send script, thx." does not exactly speak of enthusiasm does it? You need to hear from someone who is really interested in what you are doing. Seek out that person and meet them and decide if they share your vision... then trust will not play a part of what will follow.

On another matter, don't underestimate the script of your short because some shorts become movies, so you are right when you write "I do not feel comfortable in sending it to total strangers on the computer"... I'm surprised you or they would expect that to be a possibility.
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#7 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 05:31 PM

On another matter, don't underestimate the script of your short because some shorts become movies, so you are right when you write "I do not feel comfortable in sending it to total strangers on the computer"... I'm surprised you or they would expect that to be a possibility.


What did your post entail? Was it a basic crew/casting call? If so, they should be sending you resumes and headshots. Not the other way around.
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