Writing about real events

How to deal when your situations and characters are based on real incidents and people.

Using the story of a friend’s life

Legal and moral issues arise when taking someone else’s story, even just pieces of it.

Getting permission

Link to a great book to ease your fears of getting permissions to copyrighted material.

Optioning a screenplay

Options; defined and explained.

Using a song in a short without permission

Using unlicensed material can be okay at the festival level. The trouble comes when you make money off of it.

Average price for a short story option

What is the average option price short stories are optioned for? Just to get an estimate of what I should be offering/accepting. Where else can I do research about these confidential matters?

Setting up a project without having the underlying book rights

If there’s a book you can’t afford to option yourself, it’s worth trying to get someone to option it for you.

Using the music of an unknown band

Having the rights shouldn’t necessarily be your first concern.

Slandering historical figures

Dead people are fair game, for the most part.

Dead copyright holders, and being too young

How to track down rights after someone passes on.

Getting rights when the story is based on actual events

Navigating the differences between public domain and intellectual property.

Do you need permission to use a quotation?

Let lawyers handle the law. You have plenty to worry about as a mere screenwriter.

Finding a writer

Got an idea but no writing chops? Here’s some options for getting a writer on board.

Getting rights to a concept album

Copyright almost certainly rests with the songwriters, so start there.

Getting rights to a concept album

Copyright almost certainly rests with the songwriters, so start there.

“Fictional events” disclaimer

In GO, the threeway, the strippers and the burning hotel room all happened – at different times, to different people – but in stringing them together, I created a fictious work that is not really “based on actual events.”

Finding the rights

Sometimes an attorney should be your first stop on the search for rights.

Stealing sequels

If you feel like writing a remake be prepared to approach the original studio first. Know that, If they don’t want to make it, and no one else is willing to buy the rights from them, you’re screwed.

Copyright and changes

How much needs to change to make re-registering your script worthwhile?

Registering ideas

Only written, detailed ideas can be registered and protected.

Spoofs in your script

There’s a long tradition of movies parodying each other, and it would be hard to prove any actual damage or wrongdoing.

Rewriting an old movie

Every studio has somebody who handles exactly these kind of rights.

Bob Marley

Thoughts on writing a biopic.

Are jokes public domain?

At a certain point, some jokes circulate out in the popular culture enough that I would argue they’re essentially public domain.

Optioning your book

How much is my book worth? Should I option or sell?