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Screenwriting Help E-Mail (Previous)

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This week's question: 

dCh, I get so frustrated when a producer doesn't pay me the money he promised.  Have you dealt with that?

Judith from Kansas

This week's answer: 

Non-Sufficient Producer Funds

Judith, thank you for bringing up the subject about producers breaking agreements and not paying according to said agreements.  In answer to your question, I must admit that I have been in situations when business associates have broken their word and not sent promised money.  It's especially frustrating when you've taken care of your "side of the fence," have done the rewrite, polish, or tweaking -- or written a completely new script -- and the day arrives which has been promised to be your "pass GO and collect two hundred (or two hundred thousand) dollars" day and the banker is nowhere to be seen.  That can be very disheartening and a difficult day, indeed.  I have a few helpful hints that might help you (since I used the word "helpful").


1.  Try not to be shocked.  It's that shock that hits you in the gut when the moola doesn't appear as expected.  Be prepared for that possible alternative, not only financially (which can help so you don't have to sell your car or motor scooter to eat), but also -- and maybe even more importantly -- emotionally.  Try to be as detached as possible.  Attempt to look at the situation as though it were somebody else who wasn't being paid for their work.  (Actually, you might find yourself wishing it were somebody else.  But that's not what I mean.)

2.  Try not to "catastrophize."  Being a screenwriter, you just might have a flair and a propensity for DRAMA.  Keep the drama between the margins and not in your life.  Just because somebody isn't paying you on the day he or she agreed to pay you doesn't mean that he or she won't pay you LATER.  You could even look forward to being paid later.  (Well, let's not get carried away.)

3.  Remember that there are always viable recourses.

a.  You can look up the producer on IMDB and "TP" his or her front yard.

b.  You can urge the producer to be radically generous and "pay it forward".      

      To you.   


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