How Film Options for Unpublished Books Happen.

Not Her Daughter, a debut novel by Rea Frey, published on August 21st in ebook, paperback and audiobook formats.

My contracts law professor seemed startled when I confided, “Contracts are my Disneyland.” Is it OK to love contracts? I confess that I do.

It has been my good fortune over the years to negotiate motion picture/television options, contracts that underlie the adaptation of literary works to big or small screens.

The parties to an option are typically an author, on the one hand, whose copyright in a property includes adaptation rights and an entertainment industry entity, on the other hand, that perceives the value of the property as the basis of a screenplay.

Under the terms of the option, the author agrees to withhold the property from the market for a reasonable period during which the entity has the exclusive right to assemble a package of interest to financiers, distributors, and others. Typically milestone payments are involved.

Argent Pictures recently optioned the film and television rights for Not Her Daughter, a debut novel by Rea Frey, whose earlier published works are nonfiction. The novel was published on August 21st in ebook, paperback and audiobook formats. I represented Frey’s literary agency, Holloway Literary, and worked closely with its owner, Nikki Terpilowski, to shape the option and close the deal.

My earlier options include the acquisitions of a racecar driver’s memoir by a Los Angeles-based studio and a fourteen-volume fantasy book series by an independent production company.

My work in the entertainment field is not limited to options, having negotiated agreements pertaining to motion picture production and marketing, engaging the services of independent contractors, obtaining personal appearance releases and fund raising.