Clear Information to Help Writers Understand the Entertainment Industry
What question do you have about the industry and how it works? Why scripts sell, why they don't? Anything you want, Just place it in the comments section of this post.
Hi... I have a question... if I were to pen a spec script, am I allowed to write in cameo's of characters I don't own rights to? And also, can the characters in my script make reference of a specific television programs/video games/movies?
Well, you're allowed to do whatever you want. Screenwriting has guidelines, but not rules. To better address your question let's define "characters" (real life, or fictional). Real life characters are fine to put in, legally for cameos because they are playing themselves. Example, Brett Favre in There's Something About Mary. But actually getting the individual may prove difficult, so you need to consider 2 things- how important to your script is this character? and how difficult will he be to obtain? easy to obtain and not critical, sure, go for it. Difficult to get and integral, well that's a bad idea. Real people NOT in the public eye you cannot use without their permission. Jane Doe owns her life rights. President Bush does not. Fictional characters will either be in the public domain or not, usually as a function of time. Buggs Bunny? NO, (owned by Warner Bros). Robin Hood? Yes. It sounds like what you really need to do is learn about intellectual property rights and what is, and is not, in the public domain. Do your research, use google and here's a URC http://www.unc.edu/~unclng/public-d.htm