Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Idea Theft/AF Tip of the Day

I want to start this blog with your AF Tip of the Day.

Anyone can and will steal from you and there's usually not a damn thing you can do about it, whether you register it or not.
- - from The Angry Filmmaker Survival Guide (coming in Spring 2008)

I was approached by a fellow at one of my work shops recently. He had this great idea for a movie and he knew it would make lots of money but he was so paranoid he was afraid to even write the idea down out of fear that someone would steal it from him. Okay he was probably paranoid about a lot of things and his story idea probably won’t make a lot of money no matter what. But that got me thinking…

There really is no way you can protect your ideas or your story. So why worry about it. Yes, I believe that you should register your work with the Writers Guild (www.wga.org) or with the US Government Copyright office. (Yeah, we all know that there are no crooks working for the government…). But after that? Art Buchwald is one of the more famous people to get ripped off by the studios and look how long it took him to win his case. And he had money to fight them.

My point is this. Why worry about it? We are the creative ones, not the studios or the producers that are out looking to rip people off. Protect yourself to the best of your ability and move forward. If you really want to protect your story or script, make the movie yourself or publish the book yourself.

It just seems to me that more people are concerned with having a hit movie or writing a best seller that they don’t take enjoyment out of the writing itself. Long ago I gave up the idea of having a hit. It doesn’t matter. Yes, it would be nice to have some money, but I truly enjoy the work. I love what I do and that means more to me then worrying about if people are stealing from me. It’s certainly not going to stop me from being creative. I have something that those people who steal will never have. Creativity.

Yes, I have written notes to people who have plagiarized me and they have stopped. Mostly because they saw that I was on to them and could prove that they ripped me off.

And now you’ll have to excuse me, I need to get back to my writing. I have a lot more creating to do.

And don’t forget my Masters Class in Filmmaking this summer through the Franklin Film Institute. Go to www.independentcinema.net for more details.

Find out more about the Angry Filmmaker @ www.angryfilmmaker.com. And don’t forget to buy some of my stuff!


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