Question by michelle: how much does author pay a screenwriter? or does the screenwriter pay the author to write a screenplay?
Answer by akaMaryn
Let me make sure I understand. The author has a completed book. She wants someone to adapt that book into a screenplay, which she will then attempt to sell. The author is retaining all right to the screenplay, which is a work for hire. The screenwriter does not hold any copyright to the screenplay. Is that right?
The fee could be anything the two can agree on. The author should make sure the screenwriter is capable of writing a decent screenplay, and should be given samples of his/her work. The author should be ready and able to pay a portion of the total for a like portion of work completed according to whatever schedule they agree on. (Say paying a third of the total fee for a third of the screenplay completed within one month, for instance.)
The screenwriter and author would be smart to involve an attorney; each will need to protect his/her own interests and allow for various worst-case scenarios, like the screenwriter never finishing the work, or the author not being satisfied with the completed pages.
It’s probably going to cost plenty to get someone competent. I’m not volunteering, but if I were, I’d expect at least $ 10,000.
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