Monday, November 27, 2006

Two heads...

Houseguest pointed out that I should write more stuff I know and less stuff that explodes. He's right, of course. He's always right. God, that's irritating. I'm kicking him out.

So I threw out this one thing: "I've got this one idea..." I said hesitantly. And then it started. You know that thing where you start with a kernel of a thought and you bounce ideas back and forth until you have a script all written in your head and all you have to do is transcribe it? It's bloody brilliant and it's a topic in which I have a ton of knowledge and experience. No organized crime or explosions involved.

So for the first time ever I'm taking on a partner for a project. My ear for realistic dialogue and Houseguest's expertise in clean storytelling is going to equal awesome. I hope. We might end up killing each other. But probably not since we'll be many states apart when we get down to business.

Any advice on working with a partner? Especially one who lives very far away? If you've done it, what worked for you? What were your biggest problems? How can I avoid destroying both script and friendship?


  1. Anonymous2:23 AM

    I don't normally work with a partner although I am considering it for ONE project.

    The ONE and ONLY thing I would EVER tell someone to CONSIDER when taking on a partner is this:


    If the prospective partner does IN FACT bring SKILLS/BENEFITS to the table that YOU DO NOT POSSESS -- cool.

    Generally speaking, you should only partner with a writer who is AT LEAST AT THE SAME LEVEL you are or HIGHER.

    Create a deal memo between the two of you so that each of you understands what you each expect from the other.

    Wording that explains what happens to the project if one of you walks away from it.

    Wording that says how you two would split a potential sale.

    Who gets "Story by" and "Screenplay by" credit... You'll probably share this equally but put it in writing.

    Find out HOW each other works. One partner might right on Sundays only while the other writes every day for 3 hours a night after work. Can you BOTH agree on this?

    Who's going to do what? Will you work on everything together? Will you split up certain aspects of the writing? Figure it out BEFORE you start writing.

    Use the SAME screenwriting software. Sounds obvious but you'd be surprised at how many screenwriting partners neglect to do this. LOL. If you both have different programs, I still recommend one of you getting on board with the other's program or, at the very least, get a free program like Celtx so you can both use it together.

    Agree to be OPEN with each other so that either one of you can confront the other IF one of you feel that the other is NOT pulling his or her weight.

    Be able to agree to disagree.

    Share any expenses from inception of concept all the way through to Marketing.

    Don't simply ACCEPT what the other has written as perfect. PUSH EACH OTHER to kick it up several notches on every aspect of the writing.

    DON'T HOLD ANYTHING BACK FROM EACH OTHER. What good is a partnership if one of you holds something back?

    Bottom line is TRUST. If you can't trust each other all the way through the process, TAKE A WALK.

    Good luck with it!


  2. Get something in writing dealwise.

    Don't expect anything to happen fast - you'll both have different priorities and other things going on in your lives. It'll be frustrating waiting for the other guy to do their stuff. Be prepared to do lots of that waiting.

    Be brutally honest with each other.

    Make sure you both know each other's writing style - are they compatible? Does one of you write in flowery purple prose and the other in taut efficient staccato? If so, you may end up just changing each other's words around.

    Following on from that: Concentrate on the content rather than the form until you are ready to polish the script up and send it off. I have fallen into this trap and it has painful barbs.

  3. Thanks. That's a thorough list of stuff to watch out for. Now I'm afraid for my life.

    Is it really that big a pain in the ass to have a partner?


Please leave a name, even if it's a fake name. And try not to be an asshole.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.