QUESTION What is a deal memo ANSWER A deal by eminems


									QUESTION                                              • The nature and fees for any writing          QUESTION
 What is a deal memo?                                   services (revisions) to be performed          What is a submission agreement?
                                                        at the producer’s request if the
                                                        option is exercised                          ANSWER
   A deal memo is a short contract,
                                                      • What payments must be made if                    This is an agreement studios or
typically one or two pages, that spells
                                                        there are sequels or TV series based         producers may require you to sign
out the main terms of the deal. A deal
                                                        on your story                                before they will look at your script.
memo is legally binding if signed by
                                                                                                     The agreement says that you under-
both parties. A deal memo for an
                                                                                                     stand that the studio or producer may
option might include:                                 QUESTION
                                                                                                     be working on the exact same type of
• Names and addresses of the parties                   How long is a standard contract?
                                                                                                     script as the one you submit and that
• Title of the script                                 ANSWER                                         you waive most of your legal rights.
• Time (term period) of the option                        A motion picture option agreement          Most producers will require new or
• Option price (price for the option                  is typically six to eight pages, plus          unrepresented writers to sign a submis-
  itself)                                             three pages of exhibits. A writing             sion agreement. The agreement sounds
                                                      services agreement might be slightly           unfair – in fact, it sounds like an
• Purchase price (price to buy the
                                                      shorter. On the other hand, if the             invitation for theft – but producers
                                                      agreement includes net or gross                want to protect themselves from unjus-
• What rights are optioned (for a
                                                      profits, these may be defined in an            tified lawsuits. Without leverage or
  screenplay, it’s usually all rights)
                                                      attachment to the contract that is             representation, it’s hard for a new
• The term and price of any extension                 several times longer than the contract         writer to avoid signing such agree-
• Credit (your name onscreen and in                   itself.                                        ments.

This column is for general information only, and is not intended as            Send your questions for Jonathan Handel to
legal advice. Retain a lawyer for specific advice on your situation.

                                                                                                       NOVEMBER DECEMBER 2007

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