The Nitty Gritty
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Formatting, flashbacks, techniques, dialogue, Final Draft, Word conversions, brads and locking the script... Chances are someone else has already torn their hair out facing the same problem you're stuck on.  This is the place to ask.  Or crow, if you've just figured out an awesome solution and want some applause!

  • On, no, Clene', you are right on the money.  I always work with an MOU, and although I don't ask for a CA, I always state upfront that I'm happy to sign anything that makes the other person comfortable because I never talk about someone else's project.  Never. 

    (Quick aside: I do believe you've got to pitch like mad to get your work read, but I would never pitch without getting the explicit permission of my partner on a project that we share.)

    The MOU is also a good way to get a feel for whether or not you and the other person are a good fit.  If you don't see eye-to-eye on that - and if you don't both share the same understanding of roles and expectations - it probably won't make for a fun partnership, no matter how talented both parties may be.

    You come from legal!  How fabulous!  See, I see that as a tremendous asset to your partnership.  Possibly because one of my clients has a lawyer who so screwed up the MOUs that they're essentially unenforceable... in my favor, luckily, but still.  I like the comfort of working with people who know what they're doing!

  • What a great question!  I have two avenues for you to explore:

    1) Actual collaboration.  This is what you're already thinking about, and sometimes it's great, sometimes it stinks.  I collaborate a lot.  Someone needs lyrics for a song they're writing?  A scene to shoot for their acting reel?  A writer to finesse the children's show they're pitching?  I've done all of these and dozens more.  The thing I've found with collaboration is to start small.  Some relationships will work out, some won't.  You are pretty much never paid upfront or even at all with a collaboration, so it's got to be worth it either in terms of a passion project or you just adore the person you're working with, and that makes it fun.  Keeping it small to start also means that if it isn't fun, you've just done the little thing you promised, and then you can walk away.

    If you do end up collaborating with someone, you MUST have something in writing.  I don't care if it's your sister or your best friend or someone who gave you a kidney.  Get it in writing.  A deal memo just needs to spell out your expectations on both sides, should something good happen with the project.  Ownership must be spelled out.  If you're writing, but it's someone else's idea (which, actually, I don't do unless I'm paid - it's not a collaboration unless they bring something to the table), how are you going to copyright it?  Who gets what credit?  Spell it all out in advance and have your lawyer look it over before you sign.  This will protect you if the relationship sours or if your partner declares bankruptcy, for instance.  Which happened to me.  Get it in writing.

    2) Creating your core group, your "class of...", where you're all at roughly the same point in your careers and you grow up together.  This is a fantastic idea and you should absolutely do it.  You may or may not actually collaborate with them, but you will all help each other out, brainstorm together, be each other's cheerleaders... and you all win by the relationships.  This is why writers groups are so important, but they don't all need to be writers.  I took a class on moving your career forward which deliberately grouped writers with actors and directors and producers and musicians and editors -- we were all rising together, but we all brought a different perspective to the table.  I have a friend who deliberately creates a group like that, called a Mastermind group, that meets once a month for dinner and to catch up on each other's careers and offer advice and support.  You won't love everyone equally, but having a supportive group is essential.

    So that's my two cents!  Hope it helps --