Turning pro in less than 362 days!

Hopefully turning pro in less than six thousand three hundred and eighty nine days!

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

The Price of Fame

Hmm, in all this excitement I’ve just realised that I still haven’t heard back from The Asylum - anyone know how long these things take? It might be that they’re thinking figures and leaving me to sweat for a bit, trying to drive my price down. That won’t work though – I know how much these ideas are worth.

It’s a good idea as an aspiring screenwriter to know how much you’re going to charge for your services before you get yourself out there. If not, those producers and directors are going to eat you up for breakfast. Actually, you’re going to be eating them up for breakfast. In other words, they are going to wake you up by putting their willies in your mouth. You will have to swallow down whatever they produce. In a metaphorical, if not literal, sense anyway.

And don’t worry about all that Writer’s Guild bullshit, that’s for professionals, and you’re not a pro –yet. You might as well spend all day flinging your own shit at the wall as write an epic sci-fi that you intend to sell for half a million dollars. Don’t sell yourself short, but don’t price yourself out either. Here’s how I’m pricing myself on the two ideas I showed you that I pitched to The Asylum.


Uber Mega Pistol Shrimps vs The Earth

I tend to break the cost plan down into groups, it makes it easier to compartmentalise and remember things. Imagine you sat down to write a book about pencils, and tried to do it all in one go – you’d probably be spent after five or six pages. Now, imagine if you broke it down into different bits and then wrote about all of those in turn. You could write an introduction first, saying everything you like about pencils, then you could talk about lead extraction and cooling techniques, then about how they actually use graphite and not lead, maybe the odd tangent about famous cases of lead poisoning, possibly even water pipes and heating systems, then another bit about graphite extraction. The list is nearly endless. Now you’re looking at a 300 sheet page turner. That’s why authors tend to break their work down into chapters. Like I briefly mentioned, this is what I try to do when I’m costing myself. There’s a lot more to it than just thinking about how long I was working on something.


Notepad - £4.00 – expensive I know, but I wanted to splash out, make me feel like I was going somewhere. I had just been made redundant so I had the cash.

Pen – £1.00 – luckily I didn’t have to spend anything on this as I found one in the bookies.

Time - £5.75 – for this one, as it was early on in the challenge I priced myself at £7.50 an hour, a reasonable amount for a novice. It took me between 35 and 40 minutes to come up with the concept so I make that £5.75.

Imagination and knowledge - £3500 – I really don’t know how many people know about the existence of pistol shrimps – probably no more than a hundred. Out of these one hundred men, how many do you think have thought about them with a view to revolving a whole movie plot around them? No need to be vague here. One. Me. For that reason I’m pricing myself highly.


Running Total







Imagination & Knowledge


Grand Total


So, if they want to buy the concept for Pistol Shrimps, it’s going to set them back a little over three and a half big ones. If they want me to write it, well that’s going to be a lot more. Six weeks at 37 hours a weeks, continuing the rate of £7.50 an hour will give a total of £1665.00. Therefore, for the concept and the script it’s going to net me over five grand – not bad for my first screenplay!

For Eel Boy it’s a bit different. I got in a bit of a flow, so, as you can see, it’s worked out to an impressive degree of detail. I actually wrote the whole thing out in a 22 hour writing binge. Because I got in such a phenomenal flow half an hour of the time was spent whilst I should’ve been watching Doctor Who, so for this period I’ve given myself a double cost overtime rate.






Pro Plus






Custard Creams


Time (regular)


Time (overtime)


Imagination & Knowledge


Grand Total


Ok, so I already had the pen and the pad but, crucially, they don’t know that. I also had several tea bags left. I didn’t use as much imagination for this project, and practically no knowledge whatsoever, so this isn’t costed as highly. If they asked me to write this one I would charge an overtime rate, as I don’t really like the idea much – so that would be – six weeks, £10.25 per hour, 37 hours a week = £2275.50. So this one would work out at over three and a half grand, were I to sell the idea and the script – again, not bad for a first (or second) effort.

Anyway, I hope this helps you when you come to cost up your first efforts, and remember folks – keep the faith. Not a faith though – religion is for losers.


  1. might have to pick your brains sometime on this. must admit i didn't have a clue how to price things and thought you just waited to see what you were offered, duh! i do my writing in a pub garden btw - acceptable to charge for the flow of cider i need to replenish my juices?

    muchos lovos stinky bumus xx

  2. Of course! You should be charging for whatever it is that you need to get the job done. If you need ten pints of French cider to get to that spot that they need, then bill them for it. If they don't like it they can always give you some cider money for the concept and get someone else to write it.