? asked in Arts & HumanitiesTheater & Acting · 1 decade ago

What are expenses a screenwriter must pay?

I am a screenwriter, and I plan on producing a movie of mine. I plan on having an agent get things together for me, and then having them do what they can with it. What will I have to pay for? How much would I have to spend for the completion of the production? (Keep in mind that I'm just the screenwriter) The longer and clearer the answer, the better! This question is important to me.

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5 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Very good question.

    Since I have been in the business for over twenty years, I think I could probably answer your question with a bit more accuracy here.

    First and foremost, get it out of your head that your potential agent will do all the legwork for you, and put everything together for you. This is NOT their job whatsoever. Your relationship with an agent/manager/producer, etc., is a WORKING relationship. Meaning if you are not bringing anything to the table for your agent, s/he will not bring anything to the table for you. It is on you to network and develop contacts that will help you get your foot in the door. It is on you to KEEP WRITING. If you have the one story, but leave it at that, your agent will forget about you as easily as he forgot about the socks he got for Christmas last year. It is on you to pitch to production companies, NOT your agent. An agent's clientele can be upwards of 20, so if one of them expects her/him to do all the work, he is going to quickly cut that client from his list.

    If you are lucky enough to sign with an agency, you can expect your agent to set up meetings with production companies for you. But if you walk through that door, time after time, and continue to bomb and not bring anything to the table, your agent will cut you, because the last thing he will do is keep around a client that gives him a bad name.

    I think you get the point by now, so I will move on.

    Your expenses to get your material read can be pretty pricey, depending on how resourceful you are. Of course, if ANY agent, manager, producer asks for a price just to read your material, they are not legitimate. There is a man out there, one of the few, named Eddie Kritzer that snags people via craigslist and asks for a $600.00 certified money order just to read your material. It's a scam, and he is not the only one. Plus, it is against WGA regulations.

    Most boutique agencies and production companies prefer to receive query letters and submissions via email. Obviously, this is a huge help to the writer. However, MOST DO NOT. So you can expect to send THOUSANDS of query letters via snail mail, and of the few requests for your material that you will receive, you will be spending additional monies on shipping your script. If you live in the LA area, visit scriptcopier.com, a site and business that helps the working screenwriter save a bit. You can always call, but be ready with a polished logline and pitch because that phone could go "click" before you utter a word. The Hollywood Creative Directory and Representation Directory are the ideal sources for numbers, addresses, and emails.

    Now lets say you do not live in LA, and you get some HUGE interest in your script from an agent/manager/producer, and they want to meet you. GREAT! This is fantastic news of course! But you get to foot EVERY travel expense that it takes to get out there, and get home of course. Unless you are about to get signed by one of the "Big Five" (technically four now since William Morris and Endeavor merged) agencies, or a HUGE MONSTER production company, no one is going to foot the bill to meet a screenwriter with no credits, and no name. This is why if you are serious about breaking in, you may as well start saving money now to live in the LA area. Most agents/managers/prodcos do not pay any attention to you if you live outside of the industry. They need you accessible in order to make money. It's the simple out of sight, out of mind philosophy.

    Ok, so your script is bought, and now it's time to pay the ones who made it happen. Per Writers Guild Association (WGA) standards and requirements, agents do not take more than 10%. Managers same, but if you have an entertainment attorney involved, you can expect they may take a 15% cut of your hard earned money. So let's say you got really lucky and sold the script for $100,000. Well, $35,000 of that already has a staked claim. In addition, you would be wise to PAY YOUR TAXES on the check immediately, because tax evasion is something NO WRITER SHOULD EVEN CONSIDER, because you will NOT get away with it. This is basically another $10,000 you can send off to Uncle Sam. What is more, is that you will get paid in increments (usually) just as if you had won the lottery (which technically, you did). So when you make that big sale, keep in mind you aren't an all star and super rich quite yet.

    Now if you are truly planning on financing your film on your own (become a producer) then you will spend as much as you are willing to make the movie good. And a "cheap" movie in Hollywood usually doesn't cost less than a mil to make when all is said and done. So I would recommend that if you want producer credit on your films, wait until your second film, when you have the money to qualify.

    All in all, this is a dream that few are successful at. The ones that survive the THOUSANDS of obstacles that this town presents, are rewarded greatly in the end. The ones that do not, were not meant to be here in the first place.




    Good luck to you, and I wish your endeavors well.

    Source(s): www.wga.org www.everyonewhosanyone.com check em out
  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    Yes they should be paid expenses it is the only fair way. Otherwise an MP in Northern Ireland or Scotland would be paid a lot less than someone in the South due to the cost of travelling, staying away. The second home allowance was a privilege to MP's so that they could stay and work in comfort, sometimes having their families join them. Additionally it worked out cheaper than a hotel, parking and meal allowance to the tax payer. Looking at my two local MP's from Nottinghamshire neither have abused the system (one labour and one Tory) - both claimed about £15,000 in second homes and came low down on other expenses. One is a shadow minister. However some MP's from all parties have abused this right and now the system does need amending and if that means penalising the many for the action a bit like you do with children. Therefore they either need to submit out of pocket expenses with receipts - or should have a house or flat provided which they use whilst serving the country and hand the keys back when they resign or get voted out. A bit like what happens in the armed forces.

  • 5 years ago

    This Site Might Help You.


    What are expenses a screenwriter must pay?

    I am a screenwriter, and I plan on producing a movie of mine. I plan on having an agent get things together for me, and then having them do what they can with it. What will I have to pay for? How much would I have to spend for the completion of the production? (Keep in mind that I'm just the...

    Source(s): expenses screenwriter pay: https://bitly.im/XOHHj
  • meat
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    If you're producing the film, then you're responsible for getting all of the funding together to pay the crew, feed the crew, rent the equipment, hire the talent, rent the locations, etc. The list is freakin' long.

    The GOOD part is that it's not all that hard to figure out a film budget. Especially if you're the writer and the producer. As the writer, you can determine where the story takes place. It's cheaper to film in some places than others; a thriller can be a thriller in an abandoned summer camp for way less than it can be a thriller in a submarine. It's cheaper to film in a motel than it is to film underwater. Rain is nice, but rain machines cost money. LOTS of money. It's cheaper to film using a Redrock equipped HVX200 than it is to use a Panaflex camera. Nonlinear editing going direct from a P2 card is cheaper than digitizing film. CGI costs money. Good CGI costs even MORE money.

    I use EP Budgeting to block out costs - it comes with a bunch of templates and I can pick and choose the parts I need to put a flick together.

    Good luck with your project, hope to see it up on the silver screen soon!

    Source(s): I'm a screenwriter.
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  • 1 decade ago

    Essentially nothing, if you have a legitimate agent.

    All you have to do is produce the screenplay, save it to disc and make a couple of hard copies. The agent does the legwork of getting the manuscript to potential producers and other agents. He pays his own expenses for doing this.

    If the story is sold, HE takes his cut from the sale. His percentage can vary, but, it should be specified in your contract between you and the agent. Remember, that as a new, untested writer, you shouldn't expect much success, or much of a price from your first sales.

    Still, there have been some surprises, but YOU paying for any up front expenses should NOT be one of them.

    Source(s): Designer, Illustrator and Desktop Publisher for over 30 years
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