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The ScriptNovel

January 29, 2011

The ScriptNovel

Our definition of a ScriptNovel:

A screenplay formatted as a short story, novella or novel, intended as a literary work.

You heard it here first, folks.

The Latino Heart Project is pleased to announce a series of ScriptNovels to be published on our blog beginning with the literary masterpiece:

MISS SUPER BURRITO!

So why should we publish ScriptNovels?

Unlike literary works such as novels, novellas and short stories, screenwriters lose their rights as copyrightholders of their screenplays after a sale or during an option.  Which leads to some crazy-ass behavior as to how writers are treated in Hollywood.

Even a prostitute gets to keep his/her most valuable asset(s).

In establishing a ScriptNovel as Literary Work*, the story itself can be distributed by other venues, which can in turn provide the author copyright protection along with an opportunity to earn additional revenues and/or royalties.

As in the case of a novel, novella or short story adapted to a motion picture, and regardless of writer compensation or changes made to the story for this medium, the author of the original, underlying literary work retains copyright ownership.

No one can take Harry Potter away from J.K. Rowling. She owns the underlying work to that motherfvcker.

This theory for basis of copyright has not been tested in the courts nor is it a legal opinion, however, it would be an entertaining argument to claim that an author of an original work is not entitled to retain copyright ownership because of the format of his/her story even after filing for copyright as a literary work.  How can anyone other than the author claim intended medium for the author’s work?

Advantage: Writer

Regardless of its format, a screenplay is a story intended for the screen. But its core value–its purpose for being created–is still that of a story. And in today’s E-reading environment, the sparse nature of a screenplay lends itself to appeal to today’s E-readers. Dense literary works appear to flounder in the Twitter era.

And while one can argue that a screenplay suffers from lack of description and/or character depth, it is common for the story to make up for the deficiency with twists, turns, and biting action while offering a quick, easy read.

Advantage: Reader

And while Hollywood claims to search for new voices and original stories, gatekeepers, fighting to maintain job security, surround the Hollywood fortress.  These gatekeepers protect their compensation by avoiding risk…creative risks. Which result in way-too-many remakes, sequels and boring drivel.

These days, to fund a film for millions of dollars, based on a unique story, requires some serious balls.

If screenplays are formatted into an accessible read for the public, which results in successful readership–testing the entertainment value of a story much like a novel–the pressure is off a Hollywood gatekeeper as to whether or not a specific property is worth developing.

Advantage: Hollywood

But the most compelling reason to publish a story AKA ScriptNovel is its fundamental reason to exist in the first place…

THE PURPOSE OF WRITING IS TO BE READ.

Look for the first installment of the ScriptNovel, MISS SUPER BURRITO!…COMING TO A COMPUTER NEAR YOU!

*Literary work as defined by the U.S. Copyright Office:“Literary works” are works, other than audiovisual works, expressed in words, numbers, or other verbal or numerical symbols or indicia, regardless of the nature of the material objects, such as books, periodicals, manuscripts, phonorecords, film, tapes, disks, or cards, in which they are embodied.

NOTE: Literary Works referred to as “ScriptNovels” published by this blog have been filed with the U.S. Copyright Office by their respective authors as a literary work.  
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