Question by AD: Production Company vs DBA vs BL vs Film Club?
Ok, so to fill you in: I have a couple small production companies that were/are interested one my feature length screenplays. One has said that are unable to fund the project right now and said they’d be willing to hold on to it while they secure funding, but have also said that it was up to me and that’d they be fine with letting me go my own way. They are based in the US and I’ve talked to them on the phone.
The other company, located somewhere in Scotland or somewhere has been asking me to do rewrites and keeps asking for the same thing over and over again. Send them ‘this’ send them ‘that’ which I have done at least twice already. Basically where not getting anywhere. I have not spoken to this company on the phone. We tried but we had scheduling conflicts and I’ve tried numerous times to reconnect via phone, and they’ve tried a couple of times, but they end up canceling.
Both companies are sporadic in responses and that’s fine, I understand the amount of time it takes to secure funding, etc. I have not signed an option agreement with either one, and both know that my script is non-exclusive (Obviously).
The US company has not asked me to do any rewrites or anythings, and said that there would be no option agreement while the secure funding, but I would not be able to shop it around while the get funding. – I told them I’d let them know. I’ve worked with this company for a year
The Scotland Company has not said one word about any option agreement, and when I mentioned about pushing the film forward as its been at least two years, they responded with the general response completely ignoring my request for time frame. Even a simple, “We don’t know” would better than ignoring the question.
So through this I’m considering starting a production company and filming the movie myself. This would give me the most creative control, because lets face it, as a writer, I understand that one I sell/option my script, while I have say, that doesn’t mean I have “say.” But the director and creative person in my, I want to film it my way. Since completing the script two years ago I’ve been getting these images of me directing the film. (FYI: Neither production company has said they wouldn’t let me direct the film, but I haven’t asked nor demanded it)
My question is what is the best option for me to start my own production company? It would be an independent of course. I would have some crew and would be shooting on location. Would I be able to call it a Film Club? Or would be better to call it a Production Company?
Also what would be necessary a DBA (Doing Business As aka Fictitious Business Name) or would a Business License be more what I’m Looking for?
Answer by Sabot03196
Well, if they don’t want to sign an option (and pay you), they’re not the real deal. Have you checked out what other films they’ve produced? What are their budget limits? Micro or low five or six figures?
If there’s one rule you should live by as a writer it’s, “No contract, no work.” That means no free rewrites. This is a game every production company big or small will try to get out of you. Which is why the Independent Producers Agreement has minimums that must be paid to the writer.
If you want to go this solo and seek your own financing, the deal is, every feature film is its own limited company. So you can register the film as a numbered corporation, with its own set of books. This is one of the many clever ways prodco’s are able to never, “Make a profit,” on a film. You probably should also pick up a copy of The Independent Producer’s Handbook.
I’m a produced screenwriter with feature film and TV credits.
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