HOW WE DO IT
You rarely hear anyone say that they wish to develop wonderful screenplays, least of all to create a company to do it. Nearly everyone is terrified by the process, and yet, in truth it’s quite simple, it’s all about the energy that a script generates throughout its writing process. A live reading with a small audience is a good way to detect that and to see how it is coming along. You can tell immediately the ups and downs of an audience's interest. In this way, material is tested and constantly rewritten. Yet having said that the process is quite ‘simple’ we did not say it was ‘easy’. It’s like learning to walk, you fall, you get up and try again.
Development can be an exciting process. Casablanca’s Development Arena, and office setting, will be totally representative of what the company does. Whereas creative writing will remain a solitary job undertaken by writers, development at Casablanca will happen around a table where writers will engage with project managers, story editors, script analysts, directors and producers who will help them shape the screenplay. From time to time, department members from marketing, promotion, acquisitions, distribution, sales, legal and finance might be invited to participate. It will be a unique working environment. Initially the Development Arena will be housed within any appropriate open space. In the long-term however it will be customized and designed with imagination as well as functionality.
When Casablanca eventually opens its doors to accept unsolicited screenplays, Project Managers will, during the first month of receiving them, decide which scripts are of interest. If there is no enthusiasm within that time period, projects will be rejected and proponents notified. Each week, Project Managers will present their choices to the VP of Development, and together they will decide how to proceed. If a script is considered to have potential merit, proponents will be invited to participate in an initial encounter with Casablanca and together evaluate the project. If there is a collective view on how to proceed, writers will be invited to advance their scripts at their own expense and at their own pace. When and if they return, Casablanca will assess their skills as re-writers and re-evaluate the project in the light of their ability to achieve their aims. A likely development team will include one or two Project Managers, the VP of Development and a Company trainee. Each Project Manager will foster a number of projects concurrently, assembling different teams for each.
Encounters in the Development Arena will continue until the proponents have no interest to return, or until the development team feels the project is going nowhere. Proponents won't be committed to stay a moment longer than they want, and free to withdraw from the proceedings at any time. Some may leave thinking they have a monopoly on good sense. Some may not have the skills to complete or advance their projects. Others, but probably only a few, will stay with us to develop screenplays that are attractive and viable. At some point, the company will wish to option the material, seeking a commitment from the proponents to continue work with their assigned development team. Until Casablanca exercises an option, the Company will not claim any proprietary rights in the material, and equally, the writers, unpaid for their work up to this moment may at any time abandon the process without any charges against them.