A number of magazines have seized the opportunities Hollywood can offer their writers.
Texas Monthly, which has had a relationship with the William Morris Agency for five years, uses a financial model to divide movie-rights revenue. Staff writers receive 75% of the net income from a TV or movie deal. Free-lancers, on the other hand, split the net proceeds 50/50 with the mag, except in the cases when the writer has taken care of the film or TV deal himself.
Publisher Michael Levy says the formula is based on “making this a great home for our writers.”
What the magazine gets out of it, Levy says, is “increased yak value — it gives us a lot of free press locally and nationally.”
GQ editor Art Cooper and Conde Nast’s director of business development David Fishman were in L.A. last week, meeting with ICM agents about formalizing an agreement between the agency and GQ, and possibly some other Conde Nast projects.
“This definitely opens up cans of worms of how magazines make money from these movie deals,” says Fishman. “It’s not a revenue or financial issue necessarily. We’re just trying to push these stories out there to give these writ-ers another reason to write for our magazines and to promote our titles in the best possible light.”
Cooper says, “There is a concern, but it’s based on the unknowable: If a freelancer has a deal with a producer and they are talking about a possible story and the writer talks to me and doesn’t disclose that, then that is a problem. If anyone saw the story before I did, that person would not write for us anymore.”
In its debut issue, helmer Francis Ford Coppola’s new literary mag Zoetrope makes its intentions clear from the start.
In his letter to the reader, Coppola writes, “If Zoetrope publishes a single short story that evolves into a memorable film, then in my mind, it would more than justify our efforts to produce this magazine.”