Monday, December 14, 2009

Steve Kaire: Writing Partnerships

Writing partnerships are like marriages. They can continue in bliss or end up in bitter divorce. Working with a writing partner can either reduce your workload by half or create twice the headaches.

Any kind of partnership is fraught with peril. If it fails, not only does the project come to an immediate halt, but your friendship may be over as well.

A well-chosen partner is a valuable lightning rod to create and bounce ideas off. That person’s strengths can balance your weaknesses. But there has to be a meeting of the minds on critical issues before a partnership is undertaken.

There’s a list of questions that has to be answered before both parties make the final commitment to work together: Do your writing styles mesh rather than conflict? Do you have personalities that work well together under pressure? Can you both invest the amount of time required from inception of the script to the ultimate marketing of the material? How will major disagreements be resolved when you reach an impasse? Will you be doing an equal amount of work and splitting the money equally, or will there be some other kind of financial arrangement? And if the worst-case scenario occurs and you both decide to go your separate ways, who does the material belong to?

All these questions and potential pitfalls should be discussed and solutions agreed upon in a written contract before any partnership is entered into. I’ve had my share of writing partners. In some cases the partnership worked very well, in other cases it failed miserably. The more you know and clear up in advance, the better your chances of having the partnership work out to the benefit of both parties involved.

Steve Kaire is a screenwriter-pitchman who’s sold/optioned eight projects to the major studios without representation. He’s taught writing classes at the American Film Institute and has appeared on the Tonight Show’s “Pitching to America” with Jay Leno. His groundbreaking CD entitled, High Concept: How to Create, Pitch & Sell to Hollywood is a best-seller and is available on his website:

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