Q: The rights to my novel were optioned to a producer in June 2008. Before anything was signed (though a contract with all terms was drafted and dated), another party made a much better offer that I felt I had to refuse because the “oral agreement” we had was binding (the producer sent me an email the following day saying we “closed the deal” on my novel). The production company proceeded to actively develop my project, sending books to potential screenwriters, etc., all summer long. Finally, in September 2008, contracts were signed by all parties. After 18 months from September (in March 2010), the option was renewed for one year.
My question is this: shouldn’t the rights have expired and reverted to me in December 2010 rather than in March 2011? When the oral agreement bound me to them and allowed them to begin active development, shouldn’t the clock on their 18-month initial option have started ticking? Why would they be granted 3 free months of development at my expense? I don’t want this company to buy my movie — and they can’t if the rights have expired. Have they?
A: You sound about as excited to sell your script as Luke Wilson was to be in those AT&T commercials. I guess money can’t buy happiness. Let’s start from the beginning to see how you could have avoided this in the first place.
Continue Reading Q&A: I Don’t Want the Company That’s Optioned My Novel to Buy It, and They Can’t if the Rights Have Expired. Have They?