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I went into their site and read all about who -what - why - they about... The FAQ.. contract... And I must say I'm very impressed with their intensions of truly seeking new talent.. And here we are a plenty.
I'm in !
Who am I? A man with a hundred stories.. You want to hear one?
I live in the most beautiful country of South Africa. I'm a self employed electronics security technician. I'm four years into script writing ~ trying to make it in this ever competitive industry.
Large scale action-adventure films for all audiences
Kind of an odd starter genre given the current pandemic and film shooting logistics. You think they would have started with contained scripts. Anyway…
I think there are problems here and not sure if I would proceed - still pondering. If you do decide to play in this arena - be aware that there are some issues.
One of their requirements is that:
The project has not been previously owned or optioned by another party.
Aside from being silly and needlessly eliminating a lot of worthy scripts from consideration, be careful as I think this would also include free options.
In my opinion, there are a couple of problems in their terms. They have this in section 4 of the submission agreement:
Artist represents and warrants that: (a) Artist is the sole owner and author of the Material, (b) Artist has the exclusive right and authority to submit the same to Company upon the terms and conditions stated herein, (c) the Material does not infringe upon or violate any intellectual property rights or other rights of any third party, (d) no rights in the Material have previously been granted to anyone nor has the Material otherwise been exploited in any way; and (e) there are no liens, claims, encumbrances, pending or threatened actions, suits, or other claims concerning the Material. Artist agrees to indemnify Company and Netflix against any liabilities, losses, claims, demands, costs (including reasonable attorney’s fees), or expenses arising in connection with any breach or alleged breach of the foregoing.
The problem is here:
…no rights in the Material have previously been granted to anyone nor has the Material otherwise been exploited in any way; and
How would a writer know if someone has stolen their script? Someone could literally be working on filming one of your scripts right now and you wouldn’t have a clue. I have had Shorts of mine produced without my permission – others have as well. AND – should this have occurred, you are personally indemnifying (paying them damages).
And it goes beyond filming. If someone else produces a film that is similar to yours and then sues Netflix or the Company for violating their copyright because they think you stole their IP – you’re on the hook financially even if you had no knowledge of the other script.
I have optioned a feature three times (all failed to be launched) – but in all cases, I had them change this standard language to what is knowable by the Artist. e.g., Artist represents they have no knowledge of any other use of …..etc.
And indemnification languages are limited to the amount of Artist compensation. For example, if I get paid $50,000 for a script, my damages should the Company be sued, should be limited to $50,000. Right now it is unlimited – you could literally lose your house.
Section 5 also has problems.
Artist acknowledges and agrees that if Artist’s submitted Material is selected by Impact and presented to Netflix for consideration, and Netflix in its sole discretion decides to move forward with Artist’s Material to be developed into a potential feature-length motion picture project, Artist shall enter into a separate agreement between Artist and Netflix for Artist’s writing services. In full and complete consideration to Artist for Artist’s writing services thereunder, Artist shall be entitled to the then-current minimum scale set forth in Article 13.A.1.a of the Writers Guild of America (“WGA”) Basic Agreement (“Guild Agreement”) for the delivery of an original screenplay and set of revisions (i.e., a first draft and revised screenplay). Such amount shall comprise the total fixed and contingent compensation payable to Artist, inclusive of any credit bonus or other form of remuneration other than as required under the Guild Agreement. Artist’s credit, if any, shall be determined pursuant to the terms of the Guild Agreement. All other terms of the writer agreement between Artist and Netflix (if applicable) shall be in accordance with Netflix’s customary terms and conditions for such writing agreements.
I don’t like the “sole discretion” without any reference to a time limit and “moves forward” is not defined. That can create nightmare scenarios. i.e., your project is selected, “Moves Forward”, can be simple as “announced.” It does not mean you’ve signed a deal. So, it should be “mutual approval” not sole discretion on Netflix’s part. What if they select your script? – How long can they keep it in limbo? What rights do you have should an offer from someone else comes in prior to you signing the agreement?? Can they keep it in limbo for years?? All these things are poorly defined.
And to that you are agreeing to the terms and conditions in an agreement that you have never seen – specifically: All other terms of the writer agreement between Artist and Netflix (if applicable) shall be in accordance with Netflix’s customary terms and conditions for such writing agreements. What are those terms? What if they state that they get to determine if someone else also gets a writing credit on your script? You can’t tell because those terms and conditions are blind.
Anyway - I do recognize we have little leverage in these matters - but as always, make sure you know what you;re signing up for.
They're referencing Article 13.A.1.a which that applies to theatrical releases. That pays at a higher minimum than made-for-streaming under Article 13.B.7.a through d depending on budget.
I suppose they're willing to pay an "option" for theatrical release in case they think it might be award-worthy. Wouldn't want to go slightly cheap, then have to renegotiate if it turns out to be really good.
They're not searching for new talent per se -- they're searching for bargain talent.
The best case scenario here is that they give you Guild minimum for draft and revisions on a large-scale action adventure. If you pitch and sell a large-scale action adventure any other way, you are going to make wayyyyyyyy more than that, with room to negotiate the particulars of your contract.
As usual, they're trying to devalue screenwriting -- in this case, by attempting to crowdsource concepts from desperate amateurs.
Throw something in the ring, by all means, but for gosh sake don't take a swing with your biggest and best premise for a shot at WGA minimums.
I don't have any relevant action material. It will be interesting to see what other genres they open up.
If I do have something, I'll give it a shot. the T&C's are standard for the big leagues and yes, you'll probably get a much cheaper deal being an unknown but we are all trying to break in.
Saying that, this opportunity has been shared on every writing group on Facebook, Twitter and beyond so they will be getting thousands upon thousands of submissions. I wouldn't get your hopes up too much.
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