It's the Return of the Son of the Really Bad Movie, Part IV.

Yes, the screenplay is back. Last night I met with one of the producers and he's getting feedback on the script. Seems there are some problems. But before we get to what's wrong, let's take a look at how we got here.

This screenplay was born out of a strong desire to make a buck. The guy with the start-up money is an orthodontist who self-published a novel he wanted to see turned into a film.

I read the novel and met with the producers.

CUE Wayback SFX. FADE UP on earlier meeting.

DAVID
There is nothing for the protagonist to do.

PRODUCERS
Make something up.

DAVID
But this isn't the good guy's story.
It's the bad guy's story.

PRODUCERS
We have to keep the good guy.

DAVID
But there's nothing for him to do.
It would be better to dump the good guy
and write the bad guy's story.

PRODUCERS
The orthodontist sees himself as the
good guy character and he's writing the checks.

FADE UP on present day angst.

VO: That was almost a year ago. I built the good guy into a love triangle with the bad guy's wife and it worked better than anyone expected. I still struggled to give the good guy something to do besides pine hopelessly for his lost love in the first two acts, but in the third he sprang into action and saved the day.

Now the feedback from distributors and possible directors is coming in and guess what? They want to dump the good guy because it's really the bad guy's story.

There's little money left for a rewrite. I could get points, but really, what's the point? And to fix this script I would have to dump 30 pages of the screenplay and come up with an entirely new subplot.

And I would have to stop working on my book. That would mean another long delay in a ms that is already 12 months behind schedule. That's not good.

So, I'm asking for advice. Do I squeeze a few extra bucks out of this turkey and write what might actually become a decent script? Or do I punt this thing into the cheap seats and move on with the work that is closer to my heart than my wallet.

I promised the producers I'd think about this.

Your advice?

(I posted this yesterday over at my place, but as some of you don't read A Dark Planet, a shocking fact in itself, I thought I'd cross-post this to get a range of views.)

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Hard to say, David. I follow my instincts. If the rewrite of the script presents me with an interesting challenge, something I want to work out for its own sake, I would do it. Discipline is one thing, but your heart has to be in what you are writing to some extent.
You received a sum of money to write a spec script. Now they want you to rewrite it for a fraction of the original fee, right?

Is the additional money (or points) for the rewrite worth it to you? For a script that, based on what little I know about the project, has a very slim chance of being produced.

Or, would you rather finish a project (your novel) in a medium where you've already had some success, and the odds are much higher that your work will end up produced?
I look at it as thinking tactically versus strategically. Yes, the script rewrite will net you some immediate cash, but will it get you closer to your goals?
Absolutely right! You have to think in the long term (career).
Does woman actually have a waist that narrow!!!
1. go with your instincts
2. sounds like any financial benefit from rewriting the script would be quite tenuous anyway.
It's probably called a girdle. Being wasp-waisted was considered a beauty ideal, once upon a time.
Ask for a boatload more money, what we in the legal biz call a "go away" fee. If they come up with it, it was meant to be.
Unless your goal is to be a screenwriter, I'd say run. You've made money on it, and I promise you, I would bet you money, that when you turned a new version in, they're going to want more changes. The reason? They're veering so far off the original vision, they're guessing as to what they think they want. And they won't know if it's close to what they want until you deliver something, which then becomes something they will discuss, and pick apart, to see what else might need to be done to it. (They will call that a polish and swear they only want tweaks. They will lie.)

If you had a burning desire to make films, if what you wanted to do was have this as a calling card script that you could show to other producers via an agent so that you'd be up for more work, then sure, go for it. But if you want to write books, write books.
Although I have no experience with this kind of stuff, Toni's words ring true. And since I read your first book and am among the many that want more ... write the book, write the book ... (whispering now) write the book.
Wow. If I had even a glimmer of sticking it out with the script, you guys have made very convincing arguments to walk away.

Toni is spot on with the tweaking business. And they do lie. So I'm going to take all of your sage advice, including Dusty's and ask for so much damn money that they'll blanch. Then I'll be able to get back to the book.

I'm going to punt.

Thank you all.

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