Non Disclosure Agreements
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.

When you go to a pitch meeting with a film company, you may be asked to pitch ideas to them. Of course, ideas are free and cannot be copyrighted. Some writers know this beforehand, and only reveal ideas they have already written down and have registered. Other writers fee constrained by this, and like to ‘pitch from the hip’ – firing off idea that pops into their head. In order to protect yourself, it is wise to ask the executives to read and sign a simple letter acknowledging that A. you were present at their office on a specific date; B. that you pitched them several ideas; C. if they use any of the ideas you expect to be paid; and D. all parties agree to enter into a formal agreement t a mutually agreed time in the near future.
 
This letter, when signed, affords the writer some protection against a shrewd, but a sly film producer, trying to wheedle an idea for the next Blair Witch Project out of you for nothing, unless you have a really hot script. Then, every producer you speak to will sign your agreement.
 
Raindance Courses Work Letter:
 
Re: [ Title of your project(s) of screenplay(s)]
 
Dear Sir or Madam
 
This letter confirms that I am presenting to you ideas today, and delivering to you certain manuscripts, storyboards and documents for your consideration under the following terms and conditions:
 
1.  Authorized use: The Prospective Purchaser may review the enclosed documents and the project to determine the suitability and desirably of entering into an agreement with [you name] and [company name]. Before Prospective Purchaser, an employee or any representative of the Prospective Purchaser shall view the Documents the Prospective Purchaser shall require each individual who will review the documents to read this agreement and sign an agreement identical to this.
 
2. The Prospective Purchaser agrees that no one shall receive copies of the documents, or shall be verbally told of the documents unless that person too signs this agreement.
 
3. Time limits: If the Prospective Purchaser decides not to enter into an agreement by [insert date], then the Prospective Purchaser agrees to return the enclosed documents and all copies made by registered express delivery to: [ insert your name and address] within 24 hours.
 
4. Damages: Since the concepts, characters and documents relating to the project are valuable to [insert you name and company] if the Prospective Purchaser discloses breaches this agreement then the Prospective Purchaser shall pay to [insert you name and company] the amount of [insert the value of your project].
5. Should the Prospective Purchaser agree to proceed with a deal based on the Documents, and then both parties agree to sign a long form contact at a time mutually convenient.
 
[Signature/Date/Witnessed by/Date]

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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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Non Disclosure Agreements For Screenwriters