An old copyright law is being used by writers of major franchises to obtain the rights to their works. Let me preface the below with, I am not a lawyer, so I may be wrong about some of this. Do your own research.
Most notably, Gale Anne Hurd who was one of the writers of the Terminator Franchise, Roderick Thorp, the author of the Die Hard novel, along with works from Stephen King, David Mamet, and Gary K. Wolf among others.
Why Hasn’t This Happened Before?
The law states that the author has to wait 35 years before they can file to have the rights revert back to them. It just so happens that many of the big franchises are now entering their 35th year soon.
So, We Won’t See Anymore Terminator Films?
Not quite. It just means that the original writer will have the rights and will be able to negotiate more money for them in the future. It may mean that the writer can hold their ground and not sell them back, but I’m willing to bet there is a number that will make anyone give up the rights.
Where Can I Learn More About Copyright?
John August and Craig Mazin’s podcast, Scriptnotes, has a great episode on rights and copyrights.
Is This The Start Of Something Bigger?
Probably, it’s tough to tell the future . but it looks bright for writers. Most contracts nowadays are writer-for-hire which protects studios, but if you’re selling a spec, know your rights.
What People Are Talking About
Killing For A Cause SPONSORED
The Killer Shorts Horror Short Screenplay Competition is in full swing, organized by the fine folks at the Screenwriter’s Network discord. Killer Shorts was created to discover, inspire, and promote emerging screenwriters around the world as they dig up the freshest new voices in horror. I’m a huge horror fan, and most of my scripts are psychological horror, so needless to say I’ll be submitting!
Horrifying monsters, psychological terrors, hilarious horror comedies, creepy creatures…whatever your dark & twisted mind can imagine! Submit today via Coverfly or Film Freeway.
Want To Write A TV Show? Maybe Write A Podcast First
Dozens of narrative podcasts have been picked up and turned into TV shows. Whether that trend will continue we’ll have to wait and see. But in the meantime, writing and producing a narrative podcast can be an inexpensive way to get your work out there.
Make Your Script Bulletproof
David Diamond and David Weissman, the writers behind Wedding Crashers, The Family Man, Whiz Kid and more, wrote a book on how to give your script some much-needed armor when taking it out. Script Magazine sat down for an interview with The Davids.
Become a better writer
Disney’s Checking For Gender Bias With Robots
Gender bias is a real problem in many scripts, and we as writers are working and need to be working on being better about representing everyone. But Disney is taking it a step further and has started using machine learning to suss out whether a script is biased.
Script To Screen: A Quiet Place
It’s important to understands how a script gets translated to the screen, especially a script thatch almost no dialogue.
Start Writing Movies If You Want To Write Movies
I’ve fallen pray to this in the past. Writing with novel structure and characters instead of with a movie. Screenplays are a unique beast, know what you’re writing and why.
Find Your Community
I recently discovered how important community is. Writing groups, having lunch with fellow writers, watching fellow writer’s films or reading their scripts. It’s important to support each other, and I can’t believe it took me this long to find the Screenwriter’s Network Discord server. Now I can’t get enough. I highly suggest you check it out.
THE FADE OUT
“You can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.” ― Jodi Picoult
Until next week, keep filling blank pages with words.
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Header Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash