ATTRACTING THE RIGHT WRITERS
From the outset we recognize that many writers will not share our aims to develop commercially viable screenplays, nor how we seek to achieve them using story development teams. What we propose may be anathema to many who see themselves as artists seeking to retain complete control of the creative process, rather than being of service to the story.
We also accept that we will not attract writers who feel that the Hollywood legacy of making movies has no place for contemporary audiences, and that scripts can instead be artistically assembled pastiche style - all for the purpose of personal self-expression. Nor will we attract a single writer who does not wish to become familiar with Robert McKee’s textbook Story, who will not surrender themselves and their work to a rigorous examination of its principles, and if they are rejecting of any of them, will only proceed under our umbrella after discussion with their development team.
Nor will we attract loners who find the arduous process that master storytellers endure too challenging to share with others, nor people who are neither good communicators nor good listeners, nor individuals who cannot leave their ego at the door. Nor writers, who choose to see money and creative as opposing forces, nor who delight in any variation of us versus them, nor who wish to operate on a higher level than others, nor who wish to play the role of victim bound and tied by the interests of the marketplace – indeed these people will abhor the way in which we work.
Invited proponents will come to us because they wish to test their ideas and stories in a new environment, or because they need to find solutions, or because they are attracted to being part of a larger process, or to find collaborators or partners. Or because they are attracted to the company and its product, or because the company has funds and links with the industry, or that the company might produce and distribute their film.
Key objectives will be to determine the controlling ideas of the movie, and to see whether screenwriting techniques are being utilized to their desired effect within a drama workshop environment called the Development Arena. Apart from the merits of the material itself, much will be derived from the energy that emanates from them and from the meetings that follow after the screenwriter returns having advanced the material. Here the new material will be assessed, as well as the writer’s willingness to expose their successes and shortcomings and to continue working with a team. Most will not return because the work is just too hard, however they will receive full encouragement if the project is considered worthwhile. These sessions might also be attended by Company staff who are involved in marketing, sales, distribution, acquisition, legal and finance.
After a project is optioned, the Company will retain rights in the material, only to be voluntarily surrendered to the original writer if the Company loses confidence in the project itself. Writers Guild members will, under their CFTPA/WGC agreements, see their commitment through till the final delivery of a full screenplay according to contract.
Even after a script is optioned, proponents will come into the Development Arena with no fear of encroachment nor loss of proprietary rights. No matter what happens to the project.
Suggested ideas, dialogue, or scenes become the property of the proponent.
No-one will seek to gain proprietary rights in proponent’s work.
No-one will seek a financial reward from contributions made.
No-one will seek screen credits in the proponent’s film.
Proponents may offer any of the above but under no circumstances ever be asked. No-one has a direct investment in another’s project; their investment is in helping the project in an environment that is open and constructive.
When selected proponents arrive with their projects, Company staff around the table will be asked to declare their interest in any similar idea which they may be developing, and if there appears to be any overlap they would be asked to leave. Also, if at any time during the discussions an overlap of interest is revealed, then it should declared and recorded, and dealt with accordingly. It is of course possible that parties might meet and decide to work together on projects, most obviously where a writer meets with a director or producer.
 Proponents refers to writers, but also directors and producers and is used to save repetition of the words: writers, directors and producers.