Submission Releases
For Screenwriters

By Elliot Grove

From his book: WRITE AND SELL THE HOT SCRIPT

Write and Sell the HOT Script by Elliot Grove

I am not a lawyer. Nothing in this chapter should be construed as legal advice and is presented for educational purposes only. Please see a lawyer.

Sometimes when you submit a script to a production company, they will send your script back with a letter that they want you to sign. The letter basically states that they want you to cast aside you legal right to sue then for copyright infringement if they ever make a film resembling in any way your screenplay.
 
My advice is simple. If you don’t feel comfortable with the letter don’t sign it. The film company will not read your script. Go fine someone else. Of course, I believe that astute writers understand that these writers are designed by film companies, not to make it easier to plunder screenplays, but to defend then from dishonest screenwriters. Either way you look at it, don’t do anything until you feel comfortable.
 
A submission release looks like this:
 
Letter:
 
Person

Company
Town
Code
 
Re: [ Title of material submitted], Number of pages
 
Dear Sir or Madam

 
Enclosed I am submitting to you literacy works/screenplay [insert title] for your consideration under the following express understanding and conditions.
 
1. I hereby confirm that I am submitting the enclosed material voluntarily. I hereby agree that you are under no obligation to me regarding this material unless you and I have signed a written agreement that will then become the only contact between us.
 
2. I hereby confirm that any discussions, whether oral or written, between us regarding the enclosed material shall not be construed to form an agreement regarding the purchase of said material.
 
3. I hereby confirm that should the enclosed material not be new or original, or if you have already received material similar to [insert title] from others, or from you employees, then I agree that you will in no way be liable to me for use of this material and I do not expect to be paid for such.
 
4. I hereby confirm that if you product or distribute a television show(s) or movie(s) based on the same general themes, ideas, situations, geographical setting, period of history or characters as those presented to you today then I agree that you will in no way be liable to me for use of this material and I do not expect to be paid for such.
 
I hereby confirm that but for my agreement to the above terms and conditions, you would not agree to accept and consider the material [insert title] submitted to you today.
 
Yours faithfully,
 
[ insert name and signature of writer, date, address and contact telephone]

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About Elliot Grove

Elliot GroveElliot Grove founded Raindance Film Festival in 1993, the British Independent Film Awards in 1998, and Raindance.TV in 2007.

He has produced over 150 short films, and 5 feature films. He has written eight scripts, one of which is currently in pre-production. His first feature film, TABLE 5 was shot on 35mm and completed for a total of £278.38. He teaches writers and producers in the UK, Europe. Japan and America.

He has written three books which have become industry standards: RAINDANCE WRITERS LAB 2nd Edition (Focal Press 2008),  RAINDANCE PRODUCERS LAB (Focal Press 2004) and 130 PROJECTS TO GET YOU INTO FILMMAKING (Barrons 2009). His first novel THE BANDIT QUEEN is scheduled for publication next year.

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Submission Releases For Screenwriters