IP Picks 🔎: The First Family of Human Cannonballing
➕A Jane Austen time-travel romp, a mystery set at a police station and a South Asian-fronted rom-com
Welcome to The Optionist! As always, thanks for reading. The other day, I was texting with a well-known screenwriter who mentioned that he and other writers often struggle to figure out whether rights to a particular story or article are available. They're never sure where to start looking, he says, or whether the sites that claim to compile this type of information are up to date. Sometimes they end up bugging their reps for help (though, as he acknowledges, that's not an option available to everyone — or necessarily one you want to use every time). “Is there an easy way to get this information?” he asked.
Welcome to my world. I recall how intimidating it was when I worked at The Hollywood Reporter and began to track down rights. But the short answer to his question is "no"— there is no easy way. There's no substitute for a live person running it down. Even if you get your hands on what you’re looking for, it’s hard to be confident in IP status accuracy. Not every option is publicly announced, and not every expiration date is clear. The status of rights fluctuates.
That's what we're here for at The Optionist. We're happy to help paid subscribers with the occasional rights inquiry if perhaps you don't want to ask your rep, or you want to look into something discreetly. I can usually track down this information pretty quickly (though older books are sometimes trickier!). Feel free to reach out if you want to know about the rights status for a book or article, and we'll see what we can do.
Now on to this week's picks. We've got a broad mix that runs the gamut from rom-coms to sci-fi, to true-life drama: