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OPTION AGREEMENT FOR RIGHTS TO LIFE STORY THIS AGREEMENT made effective as of the day of , . BETWEEN: NAME OF SCREENWRITER address (Writer) and NAME OF INDIVIDUAL address ( NAME ) WHEREAS Writer wishes
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In this Asked & Answered Video I'll be explaininghow life rights option deals work and sharing some things to watch out for -- Hi I'm Entertainment Lawyer Gordon Firemarkand this is Asked & Answered where I answer common Entertainment Law Questions to helpindustry professionals realize their dreams RC wrote in with this Question I'm going to be optioning the life rightsto an amazing true story from the man who lived it I'm going to write the script and come onboard as a producer Is there anything I should be aware of regardingthis possible sticky situation It will be my first foray into this type ofagreement Any advicewarnings Well first off taking an option on liferights is a relatively straightforward matter It's actually the best way to protect yourposition as either a writer or a producer or both By owning the option you are in positionto strike the best deal possible for yourself First let's talk quickly about how optioncontracts work When you buy an option whether it's to abook screenplay a stage musical or life rights you essentially give the rights holdera nonrefundable deposit the so-called option price in exchange for a promise of exclusivity For a specified period of time the optionperiod You will hold the exclusive right to EXERCISE The option and acquire the fullpackage of rights to do whatever it is you're bargaining for; in this casewriting and producinga screenplay and film about this person's life story During the Option period the right holder cannotsell these rights to anyone else Usually you exercise your option by payingmoney the Purchase Price before the option expires But if you don't exercise the option withinthe allotted time frame they revert to the owner and he or she is free to sell themto someone else So for starters it's important to negotiatethe key terms of the deal carefully These key terms are 1 Option Period - Make sure you negotiate forenough time to get the screenplay done the project packaged and set up with a studioor if you're going the independent route financed 2 Option Price - It's not uncommon these daysto see free or 1 options But I'm not a fan of these deals I actually give this same advice to my producerclients AND my writer clients It doesn't matter which side of a deal I'mon I think producers should put their money on the line Nothing motivates you more than having someskin in the game and it'll keep you on track moving the project forward In fact scientific research bears this out People place much more value on things they'vepaid for So come up with some cash for an option paymentthat makes sense Every deal every producer is different ofcourse but some money really ought to change hands 3 Purchase Price Compensation - This can involvea cash payment some deferred payments bonuses and back-end compensation 4 Rights Granted Make sure you get all of the rights you'llneed Life rights deals are interesting since it'snot...