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(hypothetically speaking) Sold novel, want to write script for it. May I? (1 Viewer)

jomccoy

Member
Hypothetical: I've acquired an agent to represent my novel, but agent doesn't represent scripts. Now I'm thinking I should've secured an agent who represents both. Reason being because now that my agent has found a publisher for my novel, I wonder what to do with the script (that I have adapted from my novel).

Questions: Is it best to get agent who represents both? What rights do book publishers "generally" buy? Is my writing a script a waste of time as far as my having the freedom to sell it (and what about entering script in a contest if it's already sold to a book publisher)?

Any other advice along these lines is much appreciated (because I think I may have missed some big points that need factoring in here).

Thanks, JoAnn

(P.S. Script has specific rock n' roll songs playing in it. Bad idea due to music rights issue? Script is from the 70s.)
 
Last edited:

Kimba

Senior Member
Copyright will be an issue. Generally speaking, all music remains the copyright of the composer until 75 years after his/her death. Or is it 25 years? I can't remember ...
 

zaoshang

Senior Member
When you sell your novel, you sell it under specific terms. If you sell 'all rights', then you lose the right to sell it again in the future or to sell, say, a script based on that novel. If you sell 'first rights', then you retain the right to publish your work elswere later.

You can find plenty of information about copyright issues on the net. Such as here:

http://www.scribendi.com/advice/writers_know_your_rights.en.html

I've noticed that agents tend to specialise on either novels or scripts, so I guess it's more difficult to find an agent than can sell both.

and what about entering script in a contest if it's already sold to a book publisher)?

You have to read carefully the specific rules of that contest. In most cases you are expected to submit original work.

Script has specific rock n' roll songs playing in it. Bad idea due to music rights issue? Script is from the 70s.

I'd say that, once you've sold your script, it's the producer's responsibility to buy the rights for using that particular song. It happens all the time; that's why they have budgets for making films.
 
H

herbeey

But it makes your script far less appealing if it comes with the automatic additional price tag of securing the rights to a certain song(s).
 

jomccoy

Member
Yeah, I've edited all the specific music out and just put basically that "music played." This was good to learn. Thanks.
 

mammamaia

Senior Member
Hypothetical: I've acquired an agent to represent my novel, but agent doesn't represent scripts.

...any legit book agent will be familiar with selling film rights, even if they don't rep screenwriters, per se...

Now I'm thinking I should've secured an agent who represents both. Reason being because now that my agent has found a publisher for my novel, I wonder what to do with the script (that I have adapted from my novel).

...no problem... first of all, the publisher is the one who will usually end up with the film rights, not you... it will be part of the deal... you will be paid, of course, but they will do the dickering, unless you exclude film rights from your publishing contract...

Questions: Is it best to get agent who represents both?

...not necessarily...

What rights do book publishers "generally" buy?

...usually all rights... unless you both agree to exclude any...

Is my writing a script a waste of time as far as my having the freedom to sell it (and what about entering script in a contest if it's already sold to a book publisher)?

...if they acquired the film rights, you can't show the script to anyone w/o their ok... and certainly can't enter it in a comp...

Any other advice along these lines is much appreciated (because I think I may have missed some big points that need factoring in here).

...you're putting the cart before the horse... get an agent first, then get your book accepted by a publisher, and then have your own literary attorney help you structure the deal you want...

Thanks, JoAnn

...hope this helps... love and hugs, maia

(P.S. Script has specific rock n' roll songs playing in it. Bad idea due to music rights issue? Script is from the 70s.)
 

mammamaia

Senior Member
glad it did... i just noticed i overlooked the last question...

(P.S. Script has specific rock n' roll songs playing in it. Bad idea due to music rights issue? Script is from the 70s.)

...absolutely!... never specify songs... just the type song you want to be heard... and don't even do that, if it's not vital to the plot, as sound track is the province of the director and music director, not the screenwriter...
 

movieman

Senior Member
never specify songs

Well, it's OK if there's a good reason why that specific song is required by the plot. But don't be surprised if the producer comes back to you saying that the music rights are going to cost a million dollars and can you rewrite it to use a cheap song instead :).
 
J

juggles

You will get a contract from the publisher. In it will be a clause covering TV and film rights. At that point you agree with the publisher that you will retain those particular rights. They will cross off the clause and initial at the side, you initial it too. After which, the right to deal with TV/films becomes yours. It is extremely difficult, however, to get a TV script accepted if you are new to TV.
 

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