What is the definition for a professional writer and who may be admitted as a talent?

There is a page dedicated to this question here.


I have questions about how to fill out my writer’s profile and the checking process by Scriptmakers.  

There is a page dedicated to this question here.


When and for which time span is the 5% commission from the writer’s fee due for Scriptmakers?

We do not charge a commission fee for projects generated through the independent contacts of the web database’s users amongst each other. That is included in the membership.

If a Scriptmakers submission call or direct recommendation by Scriptmakers leads to a contract conclusion, the Scriptmakers’ commission is due. It covers every payment of the writer’s fee, including all installments until the completion of the project. The commission is also due in case of residuals. For serial formats, the commission is incurred for a two year period, starting with the completion of contract with the production company. Our Terms and Conditions apply.


What happens to the commission if another project arises from the contact instead of the one described in the call for submissions?

This happens all the time. As long as the new project is directly caused by the new contact made through the submission call, the commission is still due on the same terms.


What happens to the commission if one of the parties cancel their membership with Scriptmakers before completion of contract or before the termination of the project?

The agreement concerning the commission is still valid until the termination of the project, independent of the continuity of membership.


What is allowed to happen with the users’ contacts beyond the scope of Scriptmakers?

Nothing is allowed to happen without the users’ agreement.

If producers use Scriptmakers in connection with a project, they most certainly do not want to be bombarded with applications from various other sides.

As well, there are a great number of writers who do not wish their profile to be used in any other way than the one designated by Scriptmakers. Their contact data are not accessible. A producer may contact them via Scriptmakers, but it is for them to decide if they answer a request and disclose their contact data or work samples.


What about non-disclosure

By agreeing to our general terms and conditions, both producers and writers agree to keeping confidential information secret. This affects submission calls as well as the texts submitted by the writers, naturally.

The same applies to the relationship between Scriptmakers and the users. For example: We do not approve if producers who are members, copy the writers’ data and build up their own data base. As well, it is forbidden for writers who are members to propagate submission calls in their personal network or pass them on to writers who are not members of Scriptmakers. No-one would hold it against a writer if he or she asks a friend or acquaintance for feedback concerning his/her application. But this not the point, here. We just want the business model of Scriptmakers to be respected by its partners.


What happens if a writer and producer already work together on a project launched by Scriptmakers and if their cooperation has come about independently of the submission call?

Scriptmakers do not agree if writers who learn about a submission call contact producers directly, thereby preempting Scriptmakers. The producers consent to letting us know which writers were signed on for the project.

Naturally we would make an exception if a cooperation for a project had already begun before the submission call. Please notify us in this case.


As a writer I am represented by an agency or management. I am worried that my Scriptmakers membership might collide with my agency’s contract.

Please talk to your agency or manager and speak with Sandra Ehlermann. Scriptmakers is not in competition with management agencies, it is a platform that offers special services from which management agencies can profit just as much as single writers. Casting platforms for actors exist parallel to their management agencies.


What happens if one of the parties concerned behaves dishonestly?

A few examples: A producer adopts an idea given to him in a submission call without paying for it and has a writer of his own choice write it out. A producer does not abide by the fee announced in the submission call. Suddenly, a writer wants more money than the fee offered in the submission call. A writer publishes a producer’s idea for a project on Facebook or takes it to another producer …

We are an internet platform, not agents, lobbyists or lawyers. As a last consequence, we cannot guarantee our users complete protection from foul business practices of the other users. We are grateful for any hints and always have the possibility to exclude a member. On top of that, Scriptmakers reserves the right to take legal actions in case of violations harming the company. Independent of this, any aggrieved party can take legal action against the injuring party. As a mediating agency we like to remain neutral, but we are happy to point you towards good legal advice. Scriptmakers does not grant any copyright but we procure a clear “trace” of an idea which makes it easy to reconstruct who has read it when.


Is there a guideline for the writers’ fees

Scriptmakers supports the claim that writers should be paid for writing an exposé. But again, we have to stress the point that we are not an agency. We take care that proper writer’s fees are clearly communicated in the submission calls, but we also allow calls for artistically interesting “low budget” or “no budget yet” projects. The film industry lives from both.

As a mediating agency we like to remain neutral, but we are happy to point our writers towards a good lawyer when it comes to checking their contracts.


Why do writers have to submit an application text to a submission call without getting paid for it?

The producers need something for them to check if the craft of the writer is compatible with their ideas, if the creative spark is felt by them or not. They will not get this feeling by looking at a CV and filmography. The application texts are deliberately short to give an impression without being too outspoken. They are more about the writing styles and the kind of ideas than about the ideas as such. Application texts are not supposed to be a cheap way for producers to acquire a bunch of good exposés. In some cases, short samples from scripts already written or even realized suffice – provided they fit in with the submission call.


What can writers do with their application text once it got refused by the producer who launched the submission call?

If it is based on an idea of the producer, say goodbye to it. Of course one can talk for hours about the question, which part of which idea belongs to whom in such a dispute. But this is not what Scriptmakers is about. Many writer are justified in their claim that producers should be more open. Through the medium of submission calls, Scriptmakers wants to offer a forum which will function only if both parties trust each other. It is simply not possible that a producer has a great idea, for which Scriptmakers launches a submission call, and that suddenly a whole bunch of writers force their way into the market with their pitches based on this idea, trying to get an assignment from the same broadcaster. In this case, submission calls would quickly become unattractive for producers, and it would be the end of their openness before it had even begun. We advise writers to: Let it go. And if it hurts too much, talk to the one who launched the call and ask him or her to give you clearance for your text.


What about the price reduction for members of VDD (association of German screenwriters), VeDRA and AG Dok?

The price reduction applies upon application only. As for everyone else, the profile “protagonist” remains free of a yearly fee, but administration fees for the participation in submission calls apply.


Thank you for your confidence!

Sandra Ehlermann