1. mydayisgood
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    mydayisgood New Member

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    using others' characters

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by mydayisgood, Feb 27, 2012.

    Hi all, I have a red-hot theme for a book that could easily be written as a sequel to a 20th Century Fox movie and thread it into an older book by a now-deceased author. Can anyone help me to plot a course for seeking permission to use characters from the movie and/or the book? This is my first attempt at writing more than poetry and songs, so a newbie I is, but hopefully not for long... Thanks in advance for any ideas.
     
  2. Nakhti
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    Nakhti Banned

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    Plot a course? How about... come up with your own original characters to write about? Seriously.

    I know you don't want to hear this, but big corporations like Fox must get people wanting to use their copyright property for books and film scripts all the time. But they have their own script writers for that sort of thing - people already on the payroll whose job it is to come up with movie scripts and teleplays for their existing franchises. A newbie stands less than a cat in hell's chance of getting permission, because it would just be too much of an expensive gamble. Securing the rights for another company (i.e. publishing house) to use their characters would cost an astronomical amount, and you've already got the odds stacked against your first book making any money, so no publishing house is going to touch this.

    If your concept is really so astoundingly jaw-dropping, then pitch it to Fox directly. Still don't like your chances of success (just imagine how many people they must get trying to get their foot in the door with exactly the same idea) but it's less unlikely than trying to buy the rights.

    If you are determined to write it, then call it a vanity project and publish it on a fanfiction website. use the experience as a learning exercise, and write something original next.
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    you'd have to get permission from the movie's producers... and that would either cost you more than you'll probably ever make for the next ten years, or get you a 'cease and desist' letter from their phalanx of attorneys...

    fan fiction is a legal gray area and posting it might still get you sued for copyright infringement... so i strongly advise you to not do it without checking with a literary attorney first...

    advice given on writing sites by those who do not practice copyright law should not be taken as gospel... and yes, that does include me, regardless of the decades i've spent as a professional writer/editor and advising aspiring writers...
     
  4. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Maia has basically said it, so good luck with that :)
    But I'd suggest you perhaps re-work the character, take inspiration from the movie but come up with your own character to avoid all this hassle.
     
  5. AntisocialMoose
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    AntisocialMoose Member

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    Figure out what you like about those characters. And then make them your own.

    Personally I would find that really boring. Isn't that (effectively) fanfiction? Yes, fanfiction is a big hobby but it's not a market. Unless you're a ghost writer - and then you have permission anyway.

    But, for me, all of my characters have a piece of me inside them. If you're using someone else's characters, either you're going do a poor job "Doing" them because they weren't yours to begin with, or they're going to evolve to fit you, your style, your likes and dislikes in writing. So why not just take the good and mold them yourself?

    It doesn't make coming up with everything a lot harder. But what are writers for if not creating original, exciting ideas? good luck.
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    For original (non-adaptation) screenplays (TV and movies), it's not uncommon for them to trademark the characters' names, sometimes even location names.

    Fan fiction is a good way to practice writing, like training wheels, but you're better off developing your own characters and settings.

    (And before I hear the inevitable objections, yes there are commercial fan fiction/syndication paying markets. To each his own.)
     
  7. mydayisgood
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    mydayisgood New Member

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    Thanks for responding. Every idea is more fuel for the process...
     

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