Of course, all these stories happen when you’re new to the game and super eager and desperate to get a film project going.
Way back in 2002, I had a screenplay that was a dance film/romantic comedy that I wanted to get going.
I immediately hooked up with an unscrupulous producer, which is a different story for another time.
But through this “Producer” (I use the term lightly), I was introduced to an editor who had aspirations of being a director.
He convinced me he’d be perfect to direct the movie.
How to LOSE CONTROL of Your Screenplay
So the next step, he said, was to tighten up a couple areas of the story.
Okay, I was ready to do that.
Then I started going to his apartment, and I realized early on, he wanted to rewrite the entire thing.
Not only that, once he started making changes, he immediately wanted writing credit.
I had effectively lost my screenplay. It wasn’t the story I wanted to make anymore… it was his.
What’s worse is that I started developing a horror script (which eventually was made into my film THE ATTIC), because I knew this Producer wasn’t going to do anything with the dance movie.
I gave the script to this editor/wannabe director and he once again starting rewriting, without my permission.
When it came time for the film to get made, he demanded a shared credit. I was suckered in.
I could have easily removed his contributions to the script, but really with this one, I was also adding stuff, and I didn’t know which ones were his and which ones were mine.
Obviously today I wouldn’t let that happen. I’ve now written 30+ screenplays and have optioned, sold, or made into films 24 of those screenplays (at the time of this post).
And this editor? He never got another writing credit, and he never directed (as far as I can tell from IMDB).