Shoptioning


It is Monday morning and I’m trying to figure out my plan for the week. It promises to be a week of change: I finally caught up on all the artwork that I’d been working on over the weekend so it’s time to choose a new project to grind away on. At the moment I’m focusing on navigating the legal language herein, thereunder and forthwith of an option agreement to try to option the rights to turn one of my favorite novels into a film. It’s a project that I’ve been working on all summer: trying to gain the rights, that is, not the option agreement itself. The agent offered a Shopping Agreement, which is rather like a diet version of an option agreement: it would let me “shop” the idea around to try to sell it. It wouldn’t cost me anything, but it also doesn’t give me any rights to the material until I find a buyer and can negotiate something. This would be great if I were much better connected and could walk up to a major agency or production company and pitch them on the concept of the book based upon my  reputation and personal magnetism. Someday. I hope. But for now I’d need to be able to turn this book into a killer script before I could hope to turn the head of someone with the kind of money to do it justice. So I need to work up an option to get the rights to write the script to sell the concept to make the movie (and the green grass grew all around, all around, the green grass grew all around).

The more of this legal language that I read, the more I find myself wondering about what an author must think about selling the rights to their work. I imagine that it must be like sizing up a suitor who has just asked for your child’s hand in marriage: this was once your baby and now some ardent stranger wants to take them away and change them and take liberties with them and then to introduce them to the world as their own. No pressure or anything. As I prepare to be the humble suitor I can only hope that my earnest love of the book can make me worthy of the option agreement. 

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~ by Gwydhar Gebien on October 10, 2016.

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