the ol' "look at all I've done and I want everybody
in all of God's creation (or Higher Power's -- I don't use
that term lightly because sometimes I think it refers to
whoever controls our utilities and I don't want him or her
or it to get upset with me and turn off my electricity,
which would make it quite difficult to answer this
question.) to know about it!" I relate, Mary
Ellen. It's not easy to see your work "slip
slidin' away" into a long list of credits of people,
including other writers, whom you may have never even met
(or maybe you did and instantly decided that that was the
last time you'd meet them at a Starbucks again!)
it or not, dear screenwriter, it really comes down to the
contract. What did you sign or sign up for?
Did you agree to be a co-writer? Did you agree to
share credit for your painstakingly wrought script?
If so, then I advise grin and bear it (and not "bare
and grin it," which could get you arrested before
your first (or last) movie came out). If you didn't
agree in writing to equally share the screewriting credit,
then you can put up a tremendous fuss, citing Writer's
Guild rules (which, I believe, mentions that, for a
screenwriter to receive a writing credit, he or she must
have contributed at least a third of the writing), and
wailing about equality for writers (I suggest you don an
American Revolution period costume -- if you're a man,
those pointy hats are very nice -- and, if you're a woman,
what lady doesn't like a nice buss to sit on once in a
while -- and stand up at the next studio confab or
Starbucks meeting and cry out fervently, "Give me
full writing credit or give me death!" (or at
least a point or two. On the backend. Below
the line. Or above. Or just pay my rent.)
That might work. Heck, somebody might write a script
about it: "The Screenwriting Patriot."
You could make a million. You'd be on your way.
With a million in your treasury, when another producer
approaches you with a co-writing job, you can tell him or
her to take a long walk on a short pier! You're your
own man or woman now.
Oh... Just be sure to read
the fine print.