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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 116780
Experience:  Attorney practicing all aspects of copyright/trademark law
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I am a published author and have been approached by an old

Customer Question

I am a published author and have been approached by an old acquaintance who has their own startup film production company. They put me in touch with a film producer in LA who seems genuinely interested in producing the book into a film. Her IMDB page checks out but she's not done anything too major that I can see. My acquaintance maintains he has a foreign investor who doesn't want to simply option the film, but wants to go ahead and invest double-digit millions into production, giving me 6 figures each for the rights. The producer (who has said she has never associated with my acquaintance before this) has said this is a once in a lifetime offer and typically options are priced much lower and aren't ever made, so we should take it. They have sent us a "memo", which sort of reads like a contract, but according to two non-entertainment attorneys is more like a letter of intent. My question is, does this seem like a legitimate deal? And if so, what should the process look like? I'm suspicious about someone being so quick to.part with multimillions when they could simply option my story rights and play it safe in case things don't pan out? To be totally paranoid, I'm worried that it's simply a way for some unscrupulous foreign businessman to hide a lot of money. Can anyone shed some light? I'm not actively shopping my book in Hollywood... This came to me and so I don't really have the resources to retain an expensive entertainment lawyer right now.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
Not knowing the individuals involved, we cannot say much about them. Generally, the first step is a letter agreement in these deals which contains very general terms and a commitment to the project. Next comes a contract where it specifies the terms of the agreement in detail. The key to any such agreement is not putting up any of your money up front. Also, you should not be sending money to anyone on the project either.
If you are not spending money on the project and you get that agreement reviewed, you need to make sure there is some clause in there to allow you to cancel the agreement at your discretion at any time and make sure you retain full creative control at all times.
But based on the information you provided above, if you are not sure of the investors, then you need to trust your instincts too.

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