Question by PinkyGirl: Tv producer took my idea?
Here’s some backstory:
I have become friends with someone who worked in the entertainment industry for a long time.
He recently became incarcerated due to taxes.
We are planning a big comeback for him. His friend/attorney (who is not even an entertainment attorney) was always friendly, saying he would help me help my friend.
So I had acquired a popular filmmaker to film a pilot for a tv show that my friend and I were planning on making when he gets out.
Everything was set to go until the filmmaker asked for certain clauses in the contract, and then out of nowhere, this attorney said, literally to the filmmaker, have a nice life.
Suddenly, I was back at square one.
It was then he emailed me to say he had talked to an old tv producer friend the day before and quickly told him of the project I was trying to get started.
He said to call him and that “we would work well together.”
So for the next few days, I was on the phone with this producer trying to talk him into the project.
He eventually agreed and said he would try to sell our movie/tv show idea to big agencies he already had ties with. After a while, I started wondering why I wasn’t a part of any meetings, weird since the show would have me in it.
Well for the last two months, he hasn’t had any luck. Until last week. Suddenly there was interest from a major studio.
This tv producers emails became more and more vague. So I wrote my friends attorney saying I was feeling a bit uncomfortable because I was feeling I was becoming edged out.
He wrote back saying, “Oh, you need to go out and do your own thing. Go in any direction you feel has promise.”
So basically he was saying, ‘You’re not a part of this anymore. Thanks for making those phone calls for me, now go away”
I wrote him back asking why would I go through all that trouble of bringing producers into the project only then to be told okay, you can go and do something else now?
The email he blasted back at me said this:
“I’m going to make it simple.
You have contributed nothing in my opinion.
We have no more association.
So the bottom line is, I was led to believe that me and this producer would work together to sell my friend and I’s idea. Now he’s got a major movie company involved and I have no say so or involvement with it.
I have tons of emails back and forth from the producer guy and this attorney, so it does show intent.
If they make this movie, do I have a chance at a lawsuit?
My friend incarcerated is upset about the situation and said he will work things out.
I have emails going back as far as the summer of 2009.
Even emails from my friend saying this was OUR project.
Even the email from the attorney asking me to call his producer friend and get him to help out.
I got tons of stuff.
Answer by Lili
Possibly your history of emails will help. You need to hire your own attorney — a specialist in entertainment and intellectual property law — in order to determine whether you might have a case.
This guy is gambling that you won’t do anything. If you hire a specialist attorney who indicates that you are willing to sue, you might get a settlement or some concessions. There is no guarantee, but it’s worth a shot.
Let this be a lesson to you: always, ALWAYS have an attorney on hand — your own, not someone else’s — to deal with members of the entertainment industry.
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