It all starts with the script – the very foundation of a film or television show. You can assemble a brilliant cast of Oscar-winning actors, all wearing the finest costumes, appearing on the most incredible sets enhanced with the most dazzling special effects, but without a good, well-written script, you have a bomb (the old-fashioned usage of the word).
Interestingly, considering how important scripts are to the making of film and television productions, they have been underappreciated in the collecting market. Most see them as boring, mimeograph pages bound with brass brads, having no character at all. It’s interesting to note that in the field of books what is considered a “rare” modern first edition, first printing of a book might have a run of 500 copies, such is the case with the first Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. A film or television production will have far fewer scripts printed, yet oftentimes they are discarded as trash!
In addition, what is considered blasphemy in book collecting, if a script has notes written inside written by a cast or crew member, it actually enhances the value! Book values mainly hinge upon the condition and whether or not it has the original dust jacket. The association plays another key role in scripts. A major star’s script will enhance the value exponentially over one with unknown ownership. I’ll never forget one of my all-time favorite artifacts. Over 15 years ago, we handled a script that belonged to Harrison Ford for none other than Raiders of the Lost Ark. Not only was it Indy’s script, it had over 1,500 words written by Ford during production, being notes to himself, as he forged one of the most iconic characters that ever graced the silver screen! That piece is truly magical – a monumentally important document in the art of filmmaking, yet also an influential piece of popular culture. The market responded back then – it ended up selling for over $100,000, but, in today’s market, it would sell for multiples of that figure.
Indeed, the field is finally beginning to realize how important scripts are to the art of filmmaking, as prices have been steadily increasing in recent years. Having stated that, one can still find major titles of modern classics for a relatively meager sum. I urge you to explore this exciting field of collecting and recommend getting ahead of the curve and search for scripts of your favorite films and television shows before prices get out of reach.