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Taking Care of Business
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Old August 19th, 2005, 07:00 PM   #1
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I usually stick to the technical threads not the legal and business side so forgive me if I'm covering something that's old news. (note: I looked through the search area and wasn't really sure what to look up that pertained to this so I'm posting) I'd like to do a short based on short story in a fairly popular novel. I'm sure someone owns the intellectual property and has probably liscensed the whole book out to a production company. None the less I would love to shoot this. I'm not looking to make money and would really only like to have a festival use of the short, so someone can see how great a filmmaker I am ::ahem:: and hire me to work on big time budgets and what have you. Is it best to go drectly to the publishing company or the author, or go ahead and shoot it and then submit it to the publishing company for approval of fetival release? Or should I just try to figure out how to be creative and make my own story?
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Old August 19th, 2005, 08:00 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Nick Hiltgen
I usually stick to the technical threads not the legal and business side so forgive me if I'm covering something that's old news. (note: I looked through the search area and wasn't really sure what to look up that pertained to this so I'm posting) I'd like to do a short based on short story in a fairly popular novel. I'm sure someone owns the intellectual property and has probably liscensed the whole book out to a production company. None the less I would love to shoot this. I'm not looking to make money and would really only like to have a festival use of the short, so someone can see how great a filmmaker I am ::ahem:: and hire me to work on big time budgets and what have you. Is it best to go drectly to the publishing company or the author, or go ahead and shoot it and then submit it to the publishing company for approval of fetival release? Or should I just try to figure out how to be creative and make my own story?
Get the rights or shoot something else. I used to be a member of the Lehman Engle Music Theater Workshop, for composers, lyricists and bookwriters of musical theater. It seemed like every couple of years of so, someone would write a musical version of Catcher in the Rye, thinking they'd submit it to the Salinger Estate and get permission after the fact. Each time, they were given the same answer: "Good work! You don't have our permission to do anything with it, however." Copyright means that the owner has _absolute_ control over how the work is used, including forbidding anyone from doing anything with it.

Salinger Estate aside, you might be surprised at how easy it is to obtain the rights for what you want to do. Contact the publisher, but make sure the license is express and includes all uses you anticipate, e.g. festival, television (broadcast and cable), DVD or, better still, "all mediums, both known and unknown, throughout the universe."
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Old August 19th, 2005, 11:10 PM   #3
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Sweet, thanks would it be best to send a propsed script to the publisher or just a request to do that segment of the story?
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Old August 20th, 2005, 06:18 AM   #4
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Start with a general inquiry to see if they are even open to the idea, beofre you put a bunch of time into it. They may likely want a script before giving final approval.
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