I had a script optioned for about 18 months, it has now fallen out of option and is back in my hands for further marketing.
My question is, when sending queries should I mention that this title was previously optioned? I don’t know how a production company or agent/manager might view this. Would it be a good thing because someone else thought the script had potential or a bad thing because they weren’t able to sell it?
— Mark Violi
You have two different audiences.
For agents and managers, absolutely mention that it had been optioned. Anything which shows that producers are interested in your work makes you more attractive as a potential client.
Producers and production companies aren’t necessarily going to be excited that someone else had the project before them. Yes, it validates their taste a bit, but they may worry that the script has already been burned out around town. If everyone has read it and passed, what are they going to do with it, exactly?
If someone asks, always be honest about the project’s history. But you don’t have to lead with that information.
Also, it’s legit (and common practice) to make a few changes to a script and put a new date on the cover. If you’re trying to shop a script that says 2007 on the title page, there will be natural questions about why it’s so old.