My favorite thing of the day is when I take my coffee break in the afternoon and sit through a session with judge Marilyn Milian from The People's Court.
I love her throwing shade at the litigants and I get quite excited when she bangs her gavel sometimes in favor of the least expected part.
Lots of great stories there. All real, no actors, as the opening states.
This week, they aired a case of a screenwriter whose script was stolen by his friend and business partner who filmed it without his consent. An indie film starring Eric Roberts.
Let's embrace this slice of American pop culture daytime TV heaven and laugh a little. And learn a thing or two.
He stole my film!
A Participant says:
Reminds me of a "writer/producer" I knew in Los Angeles. He was a mook, too.
I found out that this film was actually released. I'm curious to see it.
Wow. Scary stuff.
Michelle L. De La Garza
Here's the trailer:
The director had the balls to kickstart the post-production (presumedly after losing the People's Court settlement).
3% of the budget ($270,000) would have net him $8100. So probably a wise idea to go to small claims and get 5k rather than have a lawyer take a huge slice of it.
Sounds like an interesting story line though, if it's a comedy.
Wow....she is hot! Now I know why you watch the show!!!
Sounds like we should all send our shit to Hit N Run productions....what could go wrong?
Intrigued, I looked around for the trailers. Among other things, there's this (terrible internet FOD) interview with the cast:
(note the host's threadbare elbows on his jacket)
This YouTube tidbit proved to be enlightening, too. Go to 1:29 and pause to see an actor holding up to the camera the screenplay cover:
I couldn't watch the whole thing - it was just too bad. Plus - really needed to research the period. That young "hippie" might have been okay for 1969, but it's '79 parts, right? It's set in or after 1979? That hair and headband were all wrong.
One good way to check out styles - hair, clothes, furniture, etc is by watching TV shows from the era - the 70s was Mary Tyler Moore, Bob Newhart, Soap, etc
My point in posting this was to show that contrary to the OP's thread headline, the producer didn't “steal” the original screenwriter's script.
After watching the courtroom TV judge rail against him, my take on it was that the agreement between the producer and the original screenwriter was not well defined, specifically the terminology of “ready for release.”
In the courtroom TV show, the two agreed that they had worked out the terms together, and at one point the producer said the screenwriter had written it up.
My take on it was the producer's definition of “ready for release” was when the picture was distributed to theaters and/or cable companies for viewing by the general public. I think the screenwriter's definition of “ready for release” was when the picture was cut and done, “ready for release” by his definition.
At any rate, the producer delayed payment to the original screenwriter, was taken to court over the term “ready for release,” and lost. It's not known whether or not the producer was planning to pay the writer when the picture “went out” to the general public (by his definition of “ready for release”).
The producer did not have the opportunity to honor their contract and pay the writer at that hypothetical point. Once the original screenwriter initiated a small claims court case, it precluded the producer from doing “what might have been”.
Maybe the original screenwriter grew tired of waiting. Who knows? Thanks to his small claims court case, not only was he was paid, but he also received a credit.
The producer, though, has made some interesting indie films over the years, won some awards for his efforts, and according to his IMDB biography, has a lot of experience, too.
No one here or elsewhere ought to sneer at that because the rumor that the film industry is a hard nut to crack is true. Besides that, he's done more than most on this forum have the means to do.
Kudos to him for his efforts regardless of what is anyone's assessment of the quality of the films. Considering their budgets, they're not that bad. A little story polish here, some editing finesse there, a higher level of acting talent, and presto! An indie film hit.
"My point in posting this was to show that contrary to the OP's thread headline, the producer didn't “steal” the original screenwriter's script. "
Yes he did. It was stated clearly that the writer didn't agree with the rewrites and forbade the director to move forward. He then found out through Facebook that the director decided to film the unauthorised script anyway.
You clearly didn't pay attention to the timeline.
They only signed the agreement AFTER the writer found out his friend was shooting the movie without his consent. The movie began shooting in 2012 (as stated by the director) and the agreement was drafted in 2013, thus why they ended up in court.
The director even admits that he shouldn't have done that without his permission during his exposition.
Now, watching again I'm starting to question if this wasn't just a false claim in order to promote the movie. Since the show actually pays the settlement, maybe they invented that so that the writer could get his money and still promote the film. Either that or the director has no morals whatsoever.
Something is fishy here.
The director claims, and I quote: "We started negotiating with him on this contract after we started shooting the film, which I know is wrong...". Lots of smirks from this guy.
I suspect this was made up by the duo to promote the movie and get some money out of the deal.
Vice wrote an article on a group of friends who made up a case so that they could get on Judge Judy and have their holiday trip to Los Angeles paid by the fictional settlement.
Good storyline for a TV episode of something...