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DrewBanger

PRICING YOUR VIDEO GAME SCRIPT

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My name is Drew Lettner, and I am more of less a complete novice when it comes to the business end of the video game industry. I have recently been asked to produce character and environmental designs, as well as story/script treatments for an individual whom is trying to produce a figting game. My question for any industry professionals out there, is what is the common rate that beginners charge for a video game screenplay? My best guess at this point is to determine my fee based on an hourly wage. In addition, I will be providing a healthy amount of the story, which is different from the script itself. If anyone can help me with some figures for this kind of project, I would be greatly indebted.

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I've heard several approaches, one being about a hundred dollars a page of approved script, considering four drafts will probably be required before the client is happy. Also, while drafting the agreement to produce the material, define closely the scope of work, by worming out of the producer/developer as much of the creative approach they themselves have in their mind, so you have good guidelines to work from developmentally. The rule of thumb is, get as much as you can, naturally. I can't tell you how many times I've helped new directors and developers with content/story development, and not been paid. Some of them I did because of good will, but others flat out violated contractual agreements.

In this book, The Business of Art there is a formula the author has calculated, which, with the 'how to deal with clients' section is about the best material the book offers.

I suggest tying the the safe and sound "milestone signoff" process within the contractor responsbilities section of your contract offer. So when you get a signed off draft 1, you get paid 25% of negotiated price, and don't do another thing before so. This is good protection, and in the screenwriting business for some years, make no mistake, you don't want to type one letter without a tight agreement of performance conditions stipulated for both parties. Also, make a clause where anything beyond four signed off drafts is considered a change of work order, and subject to a separate agreement with its own compensation structure. You can do this kind of clause at any stage of the contract, where the client changes the spec on you, thus changing the scope of work.

Use a few savvy old writer tricks, and don't give any plot away for free, if you haven't already. Demonstrate the writing skills with a separate storyline from theirs, so they aren't getting any free writing, and believe me, they will try.

HTH,
Adventuredesign

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HTH,
Thank you very, very much for your input. Your post has really gotten me off to a good start! Really, I can't express how much I appreciate this advice!! I will take a look at the book that you have recommended, as well as some others regarding the industry. Like I said, I'm pretty novice to all of the technical aspects that go w/ the creative development. Thanks a million!

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