So it’s been almost two years since I was hired to create and write the pilot for a TV show, The Trouble With Katie Rogers. I was promised a year of work or more and I signed a contract. I have been writing for the creator of this character for FREE for years, and so I thought, “yay finally I am getting something out of this.” Well for about three months I worked many hours writing many versions of this story, Two Birds One Show… and the creator and I went back and forth many times on he wanted her to be and I followed exactly what he said, well I am not sure when things went another way, but basically he decided to write his own pilot and cut me out of the deal without telling me.. I was shocked.. that said, we talked and merged our two stories-keeping in mind I was writing exactly why he told me too do with my ideas. Okay so cut to the end of Jan when I was in complete shock when they told me the job was on hold until they could raise more money and how didn’t I know I was going to have a hiatus-well because I was never told—but anyhow—so come April, I am supposed to go back to work. I was told this several times and I email them and the creator-NO REPLY. Oh I have to add I have been close friends with the creator since 2006. Then one day I log into Facebook and they have ALL deleted me from their friends list-including my long term friend person I worked for FREE for for 6 years writing stories etc.. well if you read my previous post, you will see that the story I wrote has been used and yes in a slightly different medium, but still my story was used. I emailed the creator asking what was up and he sent me a very schmoozy LA type email telling me that it was his understanding that I got paid for my services (yeah except they shorted me thousands of promised dollars and months of work with NOT even an email) and that they hired a more experienced comic writer-FAIR enough-that is fair, but how come they didn’t tell me that last year? Why delete me and all the secret bullshit? So then he says in his email, “You did get credit in the preview” Well I didn’t, not even contributor. I have been doing my best for over a year now to make excuses for this person’s behavior and I have been trying to believe him.. but now I have been flat out lied to. I am not asking for more money, but MY STORY is out there being sold and I didn’t even get credit…that is wrong. I have seen a million times, “story by” and then “script by”….etc.. or even “contributing writers”. I am trying my hardest to not let my emotions get the best of me…but it’s really hard. All I can say to anyone out there who has a friend who asks you to work for them or “with” them.. get a lawyer and get a better contract. I was lied to so many times via email about what was going on, even in the beginning, but I was so excited to have this job that I let it go. I was afraid to say anything. That said, I have all the emails even the ones with MY story pages. The saddest part is that I was treated badly by a friend and that a major studio would have the balls to not even send an email saying, “we aren’t going to continue because we went with a more experienced writer”. Obviously they liked my work, because that is what is out there. Sigh….
I have to add that I am not writing this to slam anyone, but more to warn new writers of falling into this same trap. I loved this character and so I wanted to be a part of the world that I happily wrote many stories for free and I also trusted this person to be decent and sadly things worked out very differently. So be careful when signing contracts. They got me when I was desperate and they took advantage of that. Don’t let it happen to you.