I have a script about a big event in American history told from my personal viewpoint. A star is looking at it and it is a finalist at a prestigious writing lab. It is also with three important producers (including an Academy Award winner). It was always considered a “small independent film.”
Suddenly. last week an A-list producer wants my script. I asked myself why? Then I found through the trades, a major studio, producer and director are making a movie about this same event. There is a well known writer attached. But no script yet.
What should I do? Let my project die? Or go to the competition and drum up buzz? Suddenly my little personal script has become “commercially viable.” This is stuff I would discuss with an agent or manager, but presently, I have neither.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Again, thanks.
— Sung Ju
I originally misread your question, and assumed that it was the competing project’s producer who was trying to buy your script — perhaps in the hopes of squashing it. That’s rare, but it does happens, and I’d have a hard time giving you helpful advice.
But since it’s apparently a completely different A-list producer who wants your script, let me lift my virtual 2×4 and smack you gently with it. Sell, Sung Ju, sell.
You have no agent, no manager, and no compelling reason to say no. If you like the A-list producer, go for it. The fact that there’s a competing project shouldn’t slow you down. In fact, it lights a fire under your producer to try to get your movie into production before the other one. And as a well-known screenwriter, let me assure you: lots of projects get started that never make it into production. (CoughTARZAN).
So go for it. Let the A-list producer hand-deliver you to an agency. Even if your script never gets made, your career has begun.
The only reason to put on the brakes would be if you intend to direct the movie yourself as a small-budget indie. If that’s truly your heart’s ambition, then don’t go with the giant producer. You need to be matched up with someone who makes movies of your size with first-time filmmakers. The screenwriting lab would likely be the place to get hooked up.
Either way, write back in six months and let us know what happened.