Go Ahead, Steal My Idea. I Dare You!
This will be the first of many articles on the process of getting a film made. I have been working very hard for the past two years and this will be the culmination of all that effort. Today I registered the treatment for “The Board Of Education” a feature legnth documentary about corporal punishment in the US public school system. This film hits very close to home. Pun, intended. I went to a school where the teacher’s were allowed to paddle the students. I have been wanting to shoot a documentary on this subject that raises questions and presents both sides of the argument fairly. A true Doc, if you will. None of this reality bullshit.
The first step in this process was to register the treatment with the Writers Guild of America. They will register your script or treatment or various other ideas for a small fee of only twenty bucks. Here is what that twenty smackers will get you.
Why should I register my material?
The registration process places preventative measures against plagiarism or unauthorized use of an author’s material. While someone else may have the same storyline or idea in his or her material, your evidence lies in your presentation of your work. Registering your work does not disallow others from having a similar storyline or theme. Rather, registering your work would potentially discourage others from using your work without your permission.
Though the Registry cannot prevent plagiarism, it can produce the registered material as well as confirm the date of registration. Registering your work creates legal evidence for the material that establishes a date for the material’s existence. The WGAW Registry, as a neutral third party, can testify for that evidence.
Now I have a nifty little number that I will attach to the treatment and outline for the film. This will in some ways “protect” my idea from any fat cats that I may approach for possible funding. I know that I am not the only person with this “idea” and it is by no means, unique. So go ahead, steal my idea. Shedding any light on this very conterversial topic is welcome!
Next Week: To Kick Start or Not To Kick Start?
Here is the bare bones treatment that I registered with the WGA West.
By: Jared Abrams
“The Board Of Education” is a feature length documentary that explores corporal punishment in the public schools in the United States. There are still quite a few States that allow teachers to use physical punishment to discipline their students. We will show both sides of this polarizing issue. The film will ask if this is a valid way to discipline our children in 2011.
Registered WGAW #1528875