Post # 1
Ok, this is weirding me out, and I’m gonna write it down in hopes that it’ll help this icky feeling go away…
One of my ex-bfs… actually, the last one to break my heart before I met my Fiance… just contacted me to tell me some news. He’s a writer out in LA, and was living in a 400-sq. ft. studio apartment in the ghetto with another guy and a cat when I met him a few years ago. He was so poor he couldn’t afford food, and he used to steal everything from groceries to clothing to toilet paper just to survive. During this time, he wrote a screenplay about the story of how we met, fell in love, and how I saved his life. When he broke my heart 6 months later, I told myself to get over it, because “he was a loser anyway.”
Well, he just wrote me an email telling me that his agent sold the screenplay. For $100,000. And he just thought I “might like to know.”
Whaaaaaaaaatttt?????? [email protected]#$%^&*(????
I feel so strange right now… almost like crying. There is a character in this script that is ME. Only the name is different, but it’s my mannerisms, my history, and my STORY out there… and am I going to see someone playing a version of me on the big screen??? Even worse… I’M AN ACTRESS. I am horrified at the thought of some other woman playing “me.”
Please… help… any words of wisdom from the Bees would be fantastic… even harsh ones. I feel like I need someone to slap me across the face and tell me to snap out of it!
Post # 3
I’d ask for a copy of the script and, if necessary, consult a lawyer. It may be that, in order for his screenplay to be produced, he’ll need you to sign a contract giving him permission to use your life story.
Post # 4
Well as long as you only inspired this character then I think there’s nothing really you can do. You didn’t provide any input or help him write it so the screenplay is his.
Post # 5
Agree with teaandtoast 100% – keep that email, and any other documented writing (emails, etc) that you have from when you were together and he was working on it to “prove” it’s you and your life story.
Post # 6
You said he’s a loser. Are you sure he really did sell the screen play? He could just be lying.
Post # 7
Yikes. I would be shell-shocked, too, if I were you. But just to try to make you feel better, I’m going to play devil’s advocate here – I think it’s kind of cool! What if the movie is a huge hit? Then they interview your ex and he talks about how you inspired the movie. Then everyone is knocking on your door, wanting to talk to you, and wanting to give you great parts in movies, TV shows, and plays!!! You’ll be a sensation!
Post # 8
I do agree that you should ask for a copy of the screen play and contact a lawyer. If this is YOUR life story too you are entitled to compensation to sell the rights.
Post # 9
I also agree with teaadntoast. Document and consult a lawyer. Im pretty sure he needs your permission to use your life story, even if it’s only “inspired by”.
Post # 10
I suppose it may not be that bad. a. it might not actually get made into anything – get lost in the shuffle for something better. and b. probably will get edited – a lot. It’s not like you have to tell anyone its about you and unless it becomes something nationally famous you won’t have to worry about it.
I’d just ask ex bf to keep you updated on any major happenings with it.
Post # 11
Sadly, this kind of reminds me of what happened with “Eat, Pray, Love” (which, as an aside, I loved.. just reminds me of this situation). She left her husband and got divorced and yadda yadda, and I’m pretty sure he got ZILCH after the book made millions, and had no input as to whether or not she wrote about him, or was played by Billy Crudup in a movie.
So.. my best advice to you.. try to roll with the punches and know that when people go see said movie/play, they will KNOW that his story is being told from his perspective, and in no way reflects poorly on you as a real person at all. I think that Liz Gilbert’s husband actually wrote his own book in ‘response’ to hers. But from what it sounds like, you were the heroine in the relationship, not the villian, so chances are how you are portrayed won’t be so bad.. just a bummer you’re likely not entitled to any of that cash.
Post # 12
I’m not sure if this will make you feel better or not, but TONS of scripts are sold, yet very few actually make it to production. There is a big chance that the script won’t go anywhere after this.
Post # 13
Even if he DID sell it – that doesn’t mean it’ll be produced or that it’ll ever actually make it anywhere where you’ll see it.
I think your legal rights will be dependent on how much the character mimicks you (if it’s obvious it’s you) and how much of the story is true. If there’s a lot changed you might have a hard time proving it.
Post # 14
It’s not so much the ‘being compensated’ part that bothers me, as I’m sure I have little or no legal rights to that in this situation. However, if this screenplay actually gets made and is a huge box office hit I might be more inclined to pursue that, hahaha. I DO still have at least 10-12 emails discussing the script and its connection to my life. He even wrote at one point, “This screenplay is basically a long love-letter to you.” “I couldn’t have done it without you.” “Thank you for inspiring me to write it.”
@Moose1209: I’ve asked for a copy, and he said I can’t have one. Because he “doesn’t let people read his scripts that he doesn’t know.” Which was a response to something I said in the past along the lines of not knowing him anymore, and therefore I wasn’t interested in pursuing a friendship after our relationship ended. Dick.
@lilybay: I didn’t think of it that way! That’s actually quite a comforting idea. 🙂
I’m happy for him, but still a bit disturbed. Hopefully it’ll get edited enough so that my height, weight, hair/eye color, hometown, place of employment, the make/model/condition of my car at the time, exact quotations of things I said to him during our relationship, and other MINOR details are muddled to some degree. I’ve read the first two drafts, but apparently he had to submit 5 rewrites after the initial interest to get them to buy it.
The script doesn’t portray me in a bad light… it actually does make me look like the heroine, as someone mentioned. However, there is some drug use in there which is DEFINITELY ficticious. He made my character a total stoner/pothead, and I don’t even smoke weed! I guess I’m just so hip and laid-back that no one would believe I wasn’t smoking some of the good stuff, hahaha.
Thanks for the responses ladies. I think my feet are back on the ground now. Phew!
Post # 15
I wrote a story based on an “ex” (that’s in quotes because the guy was gay and keeping it under wraps. I wasn’t ready to date again after a break-up, and was tired of my mom’s harassment. My SO has a fun time trying to figure out what is based on fact and what is fiction.) If the name is different et al, I don’t think you really have rights here. It’s based on his life too. And it’s fiction – it will always remain fiction. Sorry I can’t be more uplifting…
Post # 16
Sounds like he used you as a muse and then twisted everything up a bit.
At the same time….he’s spent a LOT of energy since you guys broken up writing and thinking about you and this story. Bleh. I guess i’d be more irked by the idea of an ex thinking so much about me after a break up!!!!!
But heck, maybe you’ll be famous. And then maybe you’ll be on TV to tell “your” story. And then maybe you’ll get some acting parts =]