Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Force Majeure

Bummer. I just learned that an act of God is directly having a wee influence on my life. Over the summer, I sold the film option for one of my books. I haven't announced it yet, because the folks that bought it want to wait to make a big announcement when they have more pieces in place. I'm fine with that. As a writer you get pretty good at waiting. And waiting... Waiting...

Thing is, an option lasts for a set time period, say 18 months, during which time whomever has the option has the rights to try to get the funding, the talent, the green light, etc. If they don't make it happen in that time frame they either loose the option or they need to renew it - which means paying for it again - for another limited time period. Notice I said I signed the deal this summer, which actually means a few months have passed already. I'd like to think the good people working on this one will put together the package soon, but if they don't there's always that notion that before long the rights will come back to me - or need to be paid for again.

Yesterday, though, I get a letter from these mysterious financiers explaining that the option is suspended due to "Force Majeure". What act of God caused this? Flood? War? Riot? Plague of locusts? Well, no... In this case it's... the writer's strike.

Now, this doesn't mean the contract is canceled or anything like that. All it means is delay for me, a stretching of the time frame, delay, delay. Essentially, it means that for at least three months the purchasers of the option are granted a stay in the option period, so that they're not at a disadvantage because they can't do business during the strike. Nothing new, really. And who knows? Maybe it'll actually end up being a good thing. Maybe this "Force Majeure" will allow the playing pieces to shift in some way that benefits me. It's happened before...

Also, I hear that there's some progress in the negotiations. Maybe they'll be joy and happiness soon...



Blogger Tia Nevitt said...

Thank you for explaining what a film option is. Good luck with that and what a wonderful attitude to have!

3:40 AM  
Blogger Tracy said...

The writer's strike hits us all in one way or another.

I wish you much luck on your project.

8:35 AM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

Tia, glad the explanation helps. I should add that there's also the agreed upon purchase price. So I know what I'll get paid if the movie is really made. There's a floor and a ceiling for that amount, depending on the budget of the film. Frankly, though, it's enough money that I'd do somersaults even for the low-end purchase price.

As for the attitude... Well, it's a coping mechanism. Better that than insanity!

Tracy, yep. Hopefully, it's almost over, though, and - hopefully - writers will have carved out a little place for themselves in the changing market.

3:02 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

So you not telling.
So we guess.. ?

Can it be "Hannibal the Conqueror" 2008, with "van Diesel" voice (some animated thing)

Fascinating with a strike, in the US. (and int the entertainment.. as soo individualistic, as I imagined they where)

9:34 AM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...


Well, honestly, I shouldn't tell.

However, I can say that no, I don't have any affiliation with Vin Diesel's project.


4:36 PM  

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