I have a movie that’s going into production that I wrote that’s been optioned over and over. I won’t even admit to you how long it’s been around. It’s finally getting made. The Queen’s Gambit took thirty years.
I just wrote two movies, After We Fell and After Ever Happy. I wrote the first one in March and the second one in June and they went into production in August. And it’s already done! There’s a trailer out for After We Fell. (I don’t think I’m allowed to tell when they are coming out.) That was a Writer-for-hire situation, so they went right into production.
The average amount of time it takes to get a movie made is seven years. It’s a marathon. Sometimes you just hit at the right moment and they need that movie and they have that money or they have an Actor on board. Or something happens that just shifts the dynamic of the project. Before you know it, it’s a year later and you’re going into production.
Find a Producer that really loves it. That’s what you’re looking for, no matter how long it takes. As you become more coveted as a Writer, you can charge them for an option. In my humble opinion, even if you’re not in the Writers Guild, I always feel like if somebody puts money down, they’re serious. Whether it’s $1,000 or $10,000, it holds them accountable.
I know newer Writers; you just want people to be excited about your script and take it. I get that. Give people a period of time and they’ll prove to you that they like it. If it’s a big Producer, then I would give them more flexibility. If it’s a smaller Producer, I’d ask them to give you a little bit of money because otherwise, they’ve got these projects that they’ve put out way more money for and those are going to be their first priority.
So it depends on who the Producer is, if they’re new or if they’ve been around. Is the Producer an independent Producer? Are they taking the money from their own pocket? Great. Get a shopping agreement or get an option.