Sterile Scripts

I’ve already talked about options and script sales, and those of you who have read those posts might have noticed several mentions of the fact that production companies don’t always end up buying the scripts they option or work on. It’s actually a common occurrence for a company to option a script, pay to have some writing done, and then ultimately decide not to buy it for any of a variety of reasons. That situation naturally raises the following question:

What happens to those drafts written while the work was under option?

Script Sale Breakdown

In my last blog post about quotes, I talked about how a writer’s compensation typically increases over time, in the same way most other professionals slowly build a salary history  over the length of their careers through increasing levels of expertise and proven results.

Today, let’s break down how a writer actually gets paid out when they sell a script.

Quotes

Screenwriting, in a lot of ways, is a fairly unique profession. Unlike a more traditional job at an office, or a retail store, or a school, a screenwriter’s job has a workflow that can vary greatly, unpredictable payment schedules, and a lot of effort put into a lot of opportunities that don’t go anywhere. And, on top of all that, there’s no clear professional ladder to climb; high-level success requires intangible components like luck and good timing in addition to perseverance, hard work, and quality output.

One way in which screenwriting isn’t so different from other professions is that salary history comes into play when it comes to the money you earn.