As a writer, you will be feted and courted and asked to achieve the impossible ... the person asking this will promise various things.
The question is, if they then delay implementing those promises
(for example providing a contract for work they want you to do by such and such a date, on a deferred payment basis - - and then don't even send you the draft version of that contract for discussion / haggling / wrangling over until well after the date they really, really, really needed the script by - How long are you supposed to wait? Are you supposed to wait? At what stage are you allowed to disembowel them?)
... do you:
A) Throw a fit, then write the screenplay anyway, and then refuse to hand over the finished document until the contract is finalized, signed, and delivered?
B) Throw a fit and refuse to put pen to paper until they come forth with the contract - even though this will mean definitely missing the deadline?
C) Roll over and wipe yourself off, hand them the script without the contract in place, and then go and cry behind the rock you normally hide under?
D) None of the above.
I'll just go put pen to paper then.
Any grinding of teeth, or swearing, you hear over the next few weeks will be me. After that, if you hear a large explosion (as of a bomb, or a fire, or high velocity ammunition being fired) - It wasn't me! ... You are such a lovely, supportive person. Will you be my alibi? Pretty please?
*grinding of teeth* *muttering punctuated by prolific swearing*
Where's the alcohol?
UPDATE: 26 November 2009, I've just emailed the producer the soft version of the riot act. We'll see what happens. He may have a completely legitimate excuse?
UPDATE: 29 November 2009. Hmm. Apparently the project is not a priority, he'll get back to me about contracts next year.
Well, that's that one shelved for now, then.
(If you're keeping score, the answer was option B.)
It's good to get these things clarified. I shall concentrate on one of my other projects instead.
... and moving on.