I have written a script for a producer who says he will produce the film this year. How exciting for me until I found out he has brought on another writer, whose re-write is terrible. This would be my first credit, and wondered if my chances at having a career are better with a produced script I don’t like, or should I change my name for this one?
What a horrible situation. I’m sorry to hear you’re going through this. If it’s any consolation, even more experienced writers with multiple credits find themselves rewritten badly at times.
First and foremost, I don’t think you should take your name off the movie until you see how it turns out. I speak from experience when I say that many movies which seem doomed to suckdom somehow turn out better than expected. A writing credit on a decent movie is better than no credit at all.
Also, a quick search through IMDb will reveal that many of today’s most respected filmmakers have less-than-respectable credits. Ron Howard directed GRAND THEFT AUTO. James Cameron directed PIRANHA II. They won Oscars, eventually.
Since I don’t know all the details, I’m going to make some assumptions about your situation. I’m guessing you’re not a member of the Writers Guild, and that the producer is not a WGA signatory. (A signatory means that the producer has signed an agreement with the WGA promising to abide by certain rules of conduct.)
There are two reasons the WGA could be important here. First, the WGA guarantees its members the right to use a pseudonym. Theoretically, this producer could decide to use your name even if you didn’t want him to. Second, the WGA determines final writing credits for movies under its jurisdiction. Since you were rewritten, the issue of who deserves credit could come up. If the WGA is not involved in the movie, the producer often determines credit by himself.
For now, assuming your relationship with the producer is decent, I’d hold tight and see how the movie turns out.