Screenwriters Shouldn’t Be Afraid Of Their Scripts Being Stolen by Mark Sanderson

Film Courage: What are your thoughts on Hollywood stealing an unknown writer’s idea? Does this happen a lot?

Mark Sanderson, Screenwriter/Author: I think it happens a lot less than people believe because my writing partner and I used to say we’d make more money off of the lawsuit than we would on the screenplay, you know? Go ahead and steal. It would be such a pleasure for you to steal our idea that it means it’s something good.

Writers ask me Okay, what is this process of copyright before I let anybody read it? I was like Okay, you can copyright the script. It takes a process, it’s money or you can register at the guild. Or some say that by the mere existence of creating it, it’s a copyright so there are all sorts of factors but what I’ve read is that the copyright would protect you more in court. But the thing of that is you never own a copyright of a screenplay because the minute you sell it it becomes a work for hire. So you always have to sign over your rights to the company so that was given away a long time ago in guild negotiations that the writer never owns the copy of the script. So it’s okay to do that but when you see on the cover Registered WGAW #126555, that’s just a giveaway of like an amateur that is afraid of my stuff being stolen, you know what I mean? No professional writes that on the cover of a script.

I think professionals expect you to…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).

Watch the full lecture here on Youtube

In this special Film Courage video lecture, Author/Screenwriter Mark Sanderson presents Staying In The Game: Surviving As A Working Screenwriter in Hollywood for a live audience (with Q&A) – recorded in North Hollywood, CA September 25th, 2018.

Watch the video interview on Youtube here


Youtube channel


About Mark Sanderson:

Mark Sanderson (aka @scriptcat) is a Los Angeles based screenwriter, author, script consultant and sometimes actor blessed to be living his childhood dream of making movies with thirty-six screenplays written in genres ranging from comedy to drama. His work ranges from his sketch comedy writing and performing as a founding member with The Amazing Onionheads, writing for MTV, to his spec sale, and twenty screenplay assignments with television premieres and worldwide distribution of his fourteen emotionally compelling films— the WWII indie feature “I’ll Remember April,” Lifetime Network’s “An Accidental Christmas” and “Deck the Halls,” the stylish indie noir feature “Stingers,” action-packed thrillers “USS Poseidon: Phantom Below” (aka HereTV’s “Tides of War”) and SyFy Network’s “Sea Snakes” (aka Fox’s “Silent Venom”), Lifetime Network’s highly rated thrillers “Mommy’s Little Girl,” and “A Night to Regret,” and the LMN Network premieres “Mother of All Lies,” “A Wedding to Die For,” “One Small Indiscretion,”“Hunted by My Ex,” “Family Vanished,” and the upcoming thriller “My Daughter Vanished.”

Mark’s films have premiered on Lifetime Network, LMN, SyFy, Fox, HereTV, HBO Canada, Christmas 24, NBC/Universal, The Movie Network, and have been distributed globally. His films have been recognized at festivals including a premiere and opening the Palm Springs Int. Film Festival, premieres at the Hawaii Int. Film Festival, St. Louis Int. Film Festival, The Rainbow Festival in Hawaii, Newport Beach Int. Film Festival, Fort Lauderdale Int. Festival, and nominated for the Starboy award at the Oulu Int. Children’s Film Festival in Finland.

Mark’s long association with award winning Hollywood filmmakers dates back to his first produced screenplay and has since worked with Academy Award® winning producers, veteran directors, and has written films starring Academy Award®, Golden Globe®, and Emmy® acting nominees and winners. Mark is also a screenplay consultant and his new book, “A Screenwriter’s Journey to Success” is now available on Amazon…(Read more here).

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