So is your idea completely original? I mean really, really 100% your own true creation? If it is, you’ll want to register and even copyright the story to make sure this is airtight. However, if it’s based on anyone else’s copyrighted material or life events, you’ll need to make sure you have these rights. Generally, these deals are negotiated through an option purchase agreement, which gives you a window of control over the material while you attempt to realize the project. However, the numbers involved in these types of deals – time and money – can vary. The monetary amount you agree to will also be factored into the project’s budget, so don’t promise an author or real life hero some unrealistic payout you’ll never be able to raise. These deals also usually go through lawyers, agents and managers. So unless you’re a moonlighting legal counselor, at the very least you’ll need to hire a lawyer or hope that some of your friends and loved ones have graduated law school by now. There’s also the issue of on-screen credit, as well as the possibility of defamation and libel issues, especially if you’re working from the whole “based on a true story” side.