|The goal of selling a script to a studio is of course, to get a project made (the green light). Once the script is purchased, the studio will usually insist that the producer signs over all rights they have for the screenplay. At this point, the producer usually has the option to take the money and hit the road, although they almost always take credit in the final project. A producer could also decide to remain working on the film and therefore become involved in the daily process of film production on the script.
The amount of money a producer makes on a film varies greatly depending on their level of experience and amount of active participation in the film. A first time producer who does not become actively involved in the production of a film can generally walk away with between $10,000-$30,000. This is sometimes called a finder's fee, and the producer will rarely receive any profit participation in the film.
For a producer that is more experienced and remains actively involved in the film, there is generally a development fee obtained. This fee is usually compensation for the producer's input while the studio finds a writer (or writers) and decides whether or not to give the green light to the project. In this case, the producer can make anywhere from $15,000-$60,000. If a project does get the green light, the producer can then receive an additional profit ranging from $100-$400,000 or more with a participation in the profits from the film.
There is always the chance at this stage of development that the picture will be given the "turnaround." This means that the studio abandons their support of the project and therefore the transition from development to production is never achieved. At this point the producer will be given the chance to take the project to another studio, and once the project is resold the original financier will be reimbursed.
There are many reasons why a project is given the "turnaround." One of these reasons may be due to a lack of a screenplay that seems viably profitable. Another reason may be due to a change in management, which in turn creates a change in studio interest in the project.
A lack of enthusiasm may also be a cause for turnaround of a project. In any case, a producer will still have the chance to bring their project into production, but with a different studio. Once a project finally passes through all the stages of development and is given the green light by the studio, the producer's next step is to begin a further inspection into the budget and the casting of the film.