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Question re: Use of Storylines


#1

Hey all,
A few years back I was hired to write a one shot featuring an established character by the owner of said character. I completed the script, and then 3 years later when it came out I saw that the creator had given him a ‘plot’ credit. The only ‘plot’ direction I got from him was a single sentence outlining the characters state of mind at the start of the story. However, I let it slide as I learned this was not the first time he had done this and has a pretty bad reputation as it is (which I was not aware of at the time).

Before I learnt all of this the same creator hit me up for a squeal to the one shot. I shot through some ideas of what I thought would be cool, which he said he liked, so sent through a very broad pitch/beat sheet. However it fizzled out and was never mentioned again.

The other night I picked up the latest book from this creator featuring the character, and saw that once again he had given himself a ‘plot’ credit and had two ‘script assistance’ credited under him. I flipped to a page and saw one of my beats there - knowing what I know now I chuckled that one idea had stuck in his head and he had used it. No big deal.

I recently read the comic and was very surprised to find it was 90% the sequel pitch I sent him a few years back. Obviously this was out of contract and I don’t have a leg to stand on. My question is, do I let it be known what has happened (I can find the original conversation and original pitch doc I sent) or just let him continue in his ways? I don’t want something so small to blow up and hurt my hopeful career, but at the same time I don’t want this guys stealingthe ideas of others.

Thoughts?


#2

Hmmmmmm…that’s a youth and I feel sorry for you, buddy.
Personally, I’d let it slid and let him go about his ways…if he has done it to you he’ll do it to others and eventually his reputation will catch up with him.
I know you have suffered an injustice and that is a tough lump to take, but I think bringing this to light, unless you can prove it and have a legal stance, I think it would only hurt your reputation.
But it us your call. Buddy and I wish you luck…


#3

Yeah I wouldn’t bother with causing a stink publicly. It could backfire with people thinking your are awkward to work with. If you come across anyone planning to work with him a private word of warning wouldn’t hurt.


#4

It happened to me with Daredevil years and years ago now but it was such a bare bones adaptation it’s sort of hard to tell if it was a pilfering or coincidence. (almost definitely coincidence, but pride tells me a different story).

Sometimes it is just that story ideas are in sync from creator to creator. Unless someone is actually point blank stealing from your script or pitch, I’d just call it and move on.

You said “90%” - that’s a lot. If you have your originals and can prove a 90% similarity you could raise it with him and he might get nervous enough to send a cheque.

But if by 90% you still mean “90% broad-strokes of the idea” - just call it and pursue different creators.


#5

Stan Lee ripped Daredevil off from you and took all the credit? You should try calling Ditko to commiserate.


#6

Thanks for the advice all, I will take it. Cheers for the support!


#7

What?

No, don’t be ridiculous - Marvel insisted on crediting me as “Ann Nocenti” for some reason.


#8

It’s not just the story but how you tell it. If you come up with a story anyone could tell, or if you write a story as anyone could tell it, that’s where the problem is. If you end up with a career in comics, you can always tell these stories again, for that very reason. There’s a huge difference between Star Wars and Flash Gordon, and yet George Lucas originally wanted to tell Flash Gordon stories. Same with Alan Moore and Watchmen. That was going to be a story featuring known characters, too. But people don’t think of Watchmen as a Captain Atom/Question/etc. etc. story, or Star Wars as a Flash Gordon story. Best of luck. Sorry you came across a creator with few scruples.