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Paige Hawthorne

Some readers have hipped me to a newish company that archives published works and makes them available for movie studios to consider. FlicTale. The author retains all rights, but FlicTale can bid on the dramatic rights and present the work to studios and production houses.

Not sure what their definition of 'published' is. Not sure that the one-year author's fee of $88 is a good investment.

The two founders are a producer (Marjorie Prime) and an executive with stints at Apple and Netflix. They launched the company in response to the growing demand for original intellectual property.

Discuss.

Wheezer

I would think that a legitimate broker would not ask for money up front from the writers, but would take a cut from any stories sold. If they needed to charge a fee to cover operating expenses, then it should be a lot less or even paid by subscriptions from the producers needing story material. It's my understanding that movie producers get more unsolicited screenplays from wannabe screenwriters than they could possibly use.

Remus2

Doesn't pass the smell test for me. Why charge you for you to provide your work to them? Be careful what you send them if you proceed, and damn sure read the legalese closely.

REP

@Paige Hawthorne

As they say, "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is." I ran a search on FlicTale and got 0 hits. If it is a reputable business, I would expect at least a few hits.

Most of the stories an author produces aren't suitable for being made into a movie. If your story has a good plot, that still means a total rewrite. If you are approached with an offer, you need a lawyer. That is money owed and the offer could disappear if you have a lawyer involved.

As Remus2 said, read the legalese. I would suggest reading it at least once a day for five days before making a decision. Multiple readings to catch the little items you read over and time between reading so the information you read is sorted out and makes sense.

The thing that disturbs me is bidding on the dramatic rights to your story. What does this mean in this context? The circumstances make it possible for FlicTale to find a buyer and then offer you far less than what they will get for your story.

Next what do you get for your $88? Are your stories archived on-line and easy to retrieve or are they off-line and what does it take to retrieve a story? Is there a retrieval fee? What about site security? Probably a hundred more similar questions that need answers. You can buy a lot of external hard disk space for $88 and if you need offsite storage to store the hard disk, a safety deposit box isn't that expensive.

Personally, I'd pass on the deal. There are just too many unethical businessmen in this world.

Overall, this sounds like a variation on "Vanity Press" scams, but the lure is a story made into a movie instead of a story being turned into a published book.

Replies:   Paige Hawthorne
Switch Blayde

@Paige Hawthorne

It sounds fishy to me.

I couldn't find anything on the company. Marjorie Prime is the name of a movie.

It's not an investment. You're going to be out $88.

Paige Hawthorne
Updated:

@REP

Stupid me.

Sorry, guys, the new company is TaleFlick. Over 8,000 hits on Google.

Yes, 'Marjorie Prime' is the sci-fi movie that one of the two TaleFlick founders produced.

Now, I'm not personally interested in pursuing this. But I can see why a real writer might be.

The cash value of my stores is zero. The chance of a studio honcho reading a 'Winter' tale on SOL is awfully close to zero.

The reason a writer might shell out $88 would be for the chance — a slim one probably — that TaleFlick might put his story in front of a film or streaming exec. The writer would be paying for the connection to the industry that he doesn't have on his own.

I'm not shilling for TaleFlick; in fact I got the name backwards. But there could be some stories in here that would make a terrific film. And, as companies like Netflix create more and more original content ... well there is a hunger out there for fresh material.

Replies:   REP
REP

@Paige Hawthorne

Sorry, guys, the new company is TaleFlick


Not a problem.

As I said and assuming the company is ethical - What do their clients want for $88/year? If all someone wants is an offsite backup, there are less expensive ways to accomplish that. If someone thinks their story will be that 1 in a million that the studio picks, they are probably wasting their money.

Dicrostonyx

The site in question was just launched. No one will have any information about it yet, or how it operates.

What I'd suggest is to research the site's founders: Uri Singer and George Berry. Even though the site's system is indirect, treat this the way you would researching a potential business partner.

From my admittedly minimal research, Uri sounds like a good guy. He and his production company are focused on "producing quality content for film and television that transcend genres and demographics" (from wikipedia). On the other hand, the film industry is big business and not a pleasant one, so take that with a grain of salt.

George Berry is a former executive of Netflix and Apple, holding the title of COO (Chief Operations Officer) for TaleFlick. His former duties include "coordinating the release of The Beatles catalogue on iTunes" (circa 2011) and "overseeing expansion into new markets such as Latin America, the Middle East, and China" for Apple, then managing "content operations for Europe and India" for NetFlix.

So basically Berry is the distribution guy and Singer is the film guy.

The article I found explains that the $88 is a one-time introductory fee "to cover curation, which makes the content available for one year on the website" (Screen Daily). The site's own FAQ states that the fee "ensures your book is available for one year on TaleFlick".

This strongly implies two things: first, that there will be an annual fee to keep your books on the site. Second, that the fee will be higher after the first year.

I would thus suggest that you only sign up for the service if you are reasonably hopeful that one of your stories has a decent chance of being optioned. Unless you have money to waste, it would be silly to be spending $100 a year on a service that is doing nothing for you.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Dicrostonyx

I would thus suggest that you only sign up for the service if you are reasonably hopeful that one of your stories has a decent chance of being optioned. Unless you have money to waste, it would be silly to be spending $100 a year on a service that is doing nothing for you.

This is essentially social-media for your typical frustrated screen-writer permanently parked in their local Starbucks. Just because you pay a yearly fee to have your book 'on' their site, is no indication that anyone will ever glance at it. It's akin to a 'swipe right to offer this unknown person a multiple million-dollar deal.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

They are at least transparent about the extent of the up-front waste of money. What I'd find even more disturbing is the lack of transparency about their cut if a pig flies in through their window with a multi-million-dollar offer.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Ross at Play


They are at least transparent about the extent of the up-front waste of money. What I'd find even more disturbing is the lack of transparency about their cut if a pig flies in through their window with a multi-million-dollar offer.

Personally, I'm still waiting for someone to offer me hundred of thousands to publish one of my books, before I worry about selling the movie script for millions. Though, to be honest, frustrated script writers are probably willing to give away their first script in the hopes that some movie executive will take them seriously. But it doesn't look like it stipulates their 'cut' of the one script, nor whether there's an 'exclusivity' contract for any scripts you might write in the future.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

My guess is they'd function much like a tradition agent: dismiss most submissions after a cursory examination and end up with a few they actively pitch to movie executives.

The scam seems to be all in the way they deal with the scriptwriters. It's hard to see how they'd manage to sell anything that some agent wouldn't have been willing to accept and managed to sell too - without the up-front costs and the unknown cut.

awnlee jawking

@Paige Hawthorne

It seems to me that there's a clear analogy to the world of photographic modelling.

A reputable agency will choose people they feel have the looks to be a successful model and prepare a portfolio for free, making their money out of the fees from those who hire the models.

Less reputable agencies operate on a vanity system - the models (or their parents) pay for the portfolios, so there's no risk to the agency. Needless to say, they're rarely successful in placing models, most of whom never recoup the cost of their portfolios.

I don't know how successful agencies operate in the film rights market, but it seems unlikely they'd charge an upfront fee to authors, instead recouping their costs from the film company placements.

AJ

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

I don't know how successful agencies operate in the film rights market, but it seems unlikely they'd charge an upfront fee to authors, instead recouping their costs from the film company placements.

That simple fact says it all: they charge upfront fees because they don't anticipate getting any script (or book concept) accepted. They're ONLY way to profit is to charge naive wanna-bes for the 'privilege' of 'being considered', whether they actually are or not.

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