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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    General Boards    Questions or Comments  ›  Writing Job Advice
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Warren
Posted: March 30th, 2021, 10:53pm Report to Moderator
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So, hypothetically, if a producer had secured the rights to a novel and wanted you to adapt it into a screenplay with the following requests:

A logline
A one-page synopsis
A five to ten page writer's treatment
And at least two to three drafts of a feature script?

What figure would you have in mind...?


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LC
Posted: March 30th, 2021, 11:05pm Report to Moderator
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Hypothetically...  

No educated idea.

Does this WGA guideline help?
https://www.reddit.com/r/Screenwriting/comments/lx6g3z/wga_provides_data_on_writer_pay/

These are Pro level I assume, or maybe it makes no difference.

I do know Hubby was paid (in installments) over $5,000 U.S. for writing on assignment for some Indian Producers a few years ago. He only got up to the second installment though cause there were too many cooks in the kitchen on that particular project, but it was a nice ongoing paid assignment for a while. Oh, and this was about six years ago.

Do you have an offer, Warren?
If you do, make sure you have it legally set out and agreed to, per each assignment. Not that you wouldn't. Just saying cover your arse in case of all situations - change of mind etc.

P.S. Ant knows lots of stuff about this, cause I seem to remember he's done it.
Middle of the night in the UK.


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Warren
Posted: March 30th, 2021, 11:25pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from LC
Hypothetically...  

No educated idea.

Does this WGA guideline help?
https://www.reddit.com/r/Screenwriting/comments/lx6g3z/wga_provides_data_on_writer_pay/

These are Pro level I assume, or maybe it makes no difference.

I do know Hubby was paid (in installments) over $5,000 U.S. for writing on assignment for some Indian Producers a few years ago. He only got up to the second installment though cause there were too many cooks in the kitchen on that particular project, but it was a nice ongoing paid assignment for a while. Oh, and this was about six years ago.

Do you have an offer, Warren?
If you do, make sure you have it legally set out and agreed to, per each assignment. Not that you wouldn't. Just saying cover your arse in case of all situations - change of mind etc.

P.S. Ant knows lots of stuff about this, cause I seem to remember he's done it.
Middle of the night in the UK.


Okay, so the article says $150 000 for a first draft and one rewrite as a newbie, seems about right  

I don't have an offer, I have a request to let them know what my expectations are.

Whatever the figure is, I would work on a half up front, half at completion deal.

My initial post over simplifies what's actually involved, but that's the bulk of the work.


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LC
Posted: March 30th, 2021, 11:33pm Report to Moderator
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Novel adaptation. That'd be a good job imho, cause it's all there.

Don't underestimate your value.
Your expectations are to be paid the going rate I'd say.

I'd be asking these (Producers) what their budget is, what their specific plans are, their existing credits -  put the ball back in their court a bit.


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Warren
Posted: March 30th, 2021, 11:46pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from LC
Novel adaptation. That'd be a good job imho, cause it's all there.

Don't underestimate your value.
Your expectations are to be paid the going rate I'd say.

I'd be asking these (Producers) what their budget is, what their specific plans are, their existing credits -  put the ball back in their court a bit.


If the novel wasn't based on an extremely complex historical event   The novel also comes with a study guide and a further novel just on the history of the event, all of which need to be read prior to writing.

I've been chatting with this lot for about a year now, COVID threw a spanner in the works early on but it looks like they are ready to move forward. He really talks the talk and seems to have contacts in all the right places. Even though I have no actual skin in the game yet he has routinely kept me up to date with any developments and seems like a genuinely good guy who values my input.

There is no doubt that this would be a mammoth undertaking, so it would need to be financially viable for me, but I'm really not sure what the starting point is.


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LC
Posted: March 31st, 2021, 12:08am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Warren
... There is no doubt that this would be a mammoth undertaking, so it would need to be financially viable for me, but I'm really not sure what the starting point is.

Wow. Okay. No straightforward undertaking here then.
You would want to be compensated very well then. Considering it sounds like it'd take you out of the game for anything else for a good while too.

Personally, I'd have to be in love with the extremely complex historical event regardless of financial reward.

Good luck with it! It could put you on the map.


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WayneM
Posted: March 31st, 2021, 12:22am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Warren


There is no doubt that this would be a mammoth undertaking, so it would need to be financially viable for me, but I'm really not sure what the starting point is.


Hi Warren,

I'd work out roughly how long it might take me, then allocate a rate taking into account my cost of living during the duration with (plucking a figure out of the air here) a 50% loading on top?

Coming from someone who knows nothing about these things, I'd work on $6000 a month for six months writing, plus 50% loading which comes to $54, 000.  And maybe also include an alternative offer to do it for $25 000 with something in the back end once released.

Or, maybe even $25 000 up front with the balance of 3% of the production budget paid on day one of principal photography?

Just some thoughts.








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Grandma Bear
Posted: March 31st, 2021, 6:50am Report to Moderator
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I think this depends totally on you. Will you be writing as a "job" where you have to work hours every day and try to make a living from this or would it be a fun thing with a little money attached? I'm guessing in your case it would be the latter. Adaptations are not that easy. I tried it once. The author said it was the best adaptation of his work to date, but looking back at it now, I know I did not do a great job. I didn't mind though, because I LOVED the book and read it several times. IMHO, it would be a horrible job if you don't love the book due to the immense time required.

If I were to do the job, I would try to figure out how much time this would take.

Reading the book twice and taking notes. Outlining. Writing it and then a couple of rewrites. Multiply with minimum wage. Look at that number and see what seems reasonable to you. Minimum wage x2? X3?

Btw, last year Dena was contacted by an author who asked her to adapt her book. Dena declined because she didn't like the material. She sent the author to me. I declined for the same reason, but I connected her with another friend of mine who I thought would like the material. She gave the author her rates and the author disappeared...

Good luck with this and keep us posted.


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SteveClark
Posted: March 31st, 2021, 8:33am Report to Moderator
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Agree with Pia. The biggest thing is if you are stoked about the material. If it’s something you’re just taking because there’s money involved, that’s all right. But be prepared for it to be a chore. If your hearts not into it, it becomes all the more difficult.

Then again, no one ever said we’re supposed to enjoy our work. A pay check is a pay check. But enjoying it makes it that much easier.


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Warren
Posted: March 31st, 2021, 5:30pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from WayneM


Hi Warren,

I'd work out roughly how long it might take me, then allocate a rate taking into account my cost of living during the duration with (plucking a figure out of the air here) a 50% loading on top?

Coming from someone who knows nothing about these things, I'd work on $6000 a month for six months writing, plus 50% loading which comes to $54, 000.  And maybe also include an alternative offer to do it for $25 000 with something in the back end once released.

Or, maybe even $25 000 up front with the balance of 3% of the production budget paid on day one of principal photography?

Just some thoughts.




Thanks, Wayne.

As much as I like these numbers, they still seem really high for a nobody writer with no real credits.

I'm actually surprised at how high the recommendations are, definitely an eye opener.


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Warren
Posted: March 31st, 2021, 5:36pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Grandma Bear
I think this depends totally on you. Will you be writing as a "job" where you have to work hours every day and try to make a living from this or would it be a fun thing with a little money attached? I'm guessing in your case it would be the latter. Adaptations are not that easy. I tried it once. The author said it was the best adaptation of his work to date, but looking back at it now, I know I did not do a great job. I didn't mind though, because I LOVED the book and read it several times. IMHO, it would be a horrible job if you don't love the book due to the immense time required.

If I were to do the job, I would try to figure out how much time this would take.

Reading the book twice and taking notes. Outlining. Writing it and then a couple of rewrites. Multiply with minimum wage. Look at that number and see what seems reasonable to you. Minimum wage x2? X3?

Btw, last year Dena was contacted by an author who asked her to adapt her book. Dena declined because she didn't like the material. She sent the author to me. I declined for the same reason, but I connected her with another friend of mine who I thought would like the material. She gave the author her rates and the author disappeared...

Good luck with this and keep us posted.


I would say this is probably more like a job, not for the fact that I need the money, just considering the amount of 'work' involved. I think even if I thought this was the greatest book of all time I would still need to be compensated accordingly.

Your suggestion about minimum wage x whatever is what I'm currently thinking, in a sense. I have a number which I think is reasonable and was hoping the advice would be similar but it currently seems like I'm massively low balling or the numbers suggested are way too high.

Will keep you in the loop if this turns into anything.


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JEStaats
Posted: March 31st, 2021, 5:41pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Warren


I'm actually surprised at how high the recommendations are, definitely an eye opener.


You're right. Do it for the experience and $50 buckaroos.  

I was asked to adapt a book a couple years ago but when I pointed the gaps and inconsistencies, the author never got back to me. Serious big-holes too!
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Warren
Posted: March 31st, 2021, 5:44pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from SteveClark
Agree with Pia. The biggest thing is if you are stoked about the material. If it’s something you’re just taking because there’s money involved, that’s all right. But be prepared for it to be a chore. If your hearts not into it, it becomes all the more difficult.

Then again, no one ever said we’re supposed to enjoy our work. A pay check is a pay check. But enjoying it makes it that much easier.




The material is right up my alley from a historical standpoint and I do think I would enjoy doing the adaptation, but there is a lot of pressure when you start talking figures and deadlines.


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Warren
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Quoted from JEStaats


You're right. Do it for the experience and $50 buckaroos.  

I was asked to adapt a book a couple years ago but when I pointed the gaps and inconsistencies, the author never got back to me. Serious big-holes too!


Still a bit high in my opinion  



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SteveClark
Posted: March 31st, 2021, 6:12pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Warren




The material is right up my alley from a historical standpoint and I do think I would enjoy doing the adaptation, but there is a lot of pressure when you start talking figures and deadlines.


Yes, there is. A writer, a pro with several produced MOWs under his belt, told me this when I was bitching about deadlines:

Don’t look at it like you “have” to do this. Look at it like you “get” to do this.


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