Happy 2018 everybody!
Like a lot of people, I had a number of ideas for resolutions for the new year. In deciding what I would do differently and better, though, I wanted to be extra mindful to choose goals that also had deeper meaning.
One of those resolutions included being more proactive about sharing information with fellow creative hybrids out there based on my writing and business experience.
In that spirit, I am excited to announce that I am initiating a series called "Tips To Go," which I'll publish here from time to time. TTG will offer quick take aways on topics where I feel I have some worthwhile information to pass along. Because, the truth is, we all have some expertise in one or more things, right? But we get so shortsighted about our skills and experience sometimes, we can forget that the knowledge we've accrued is unique.
For this first installment of TTG, I'd like to pass along a bit of basic insight on how to pursue getting the rights to a published work that is not in the public domain. TTG is about being quick and informative, so I'll always distill my advice down to just 3 digestible and actionable suggestions. In this case, those are:
1. First, and super important -- If you have found your dream source material and you hear a voice in your head saying, "Don't even bother, you'll never get the rights" do NOT listen to that voice! Push through! I heard that voice loud and clear when I decided I wanted to adapt Mad Libs into a kids musical. Had I listened to that voice, I never would have achieved an Off-Broadway production, gotten the show acquired for licensing by a top agency and had a cast album that got picked up by a major record label.
2. Get these books now! I relied on them heavily when pitching my proposal to the Mad Libs publisher to acquire the rights for Mad Libs Live!:
Extra TTG Tip: If you're not already a member of The Dramatists Guild, JOIN! Being part of the Guild will provide you with useful tools, such as sample contract templates, and perhaps even a little legal advice, along with a community of writers, some of whom may also have some useful info to share on this and other topics.
3. Read this article by Seth Bockley about his experiences seeking the rights to adapt copyrighted source material. And here are also some tips on Ken Davenport's blog The Producer's Perspective.
CLOSING TIP: Be prepared to possibly be in this for the (somewhat) long haul, depending on the source material. Acquiring the rights to a property can take time, especially if this is your first time going through the process. You are probably not top of mind for either the estate or the publisher, so be prepared to be persistent and proactive. And also know that the various people you deal with during the process may come and go, so you may encounter setbacks. BUT, if you love the project and are hell-bent on investing the time to make it happen, then it is absolutely worth pursuing!
You will learn as you go no matter what, so I can assure you that it will not be a waste of time, even if you don't achieve your desired results. If it doesn't work out this time, hey, you'll know better for next time, right? But if you can keep the faith, give yourself permission to ask questions and get help where you can, I promise you, you will set yourself up for success in 2018...and beyond!
Now, go get 'em!
And if YOU have additional info on this topic that you'd like to share, please feel free to include it in the comments section.
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