This is what they say is "the payoff" to being a screenwriter:
“Remember, you can make an awful lot of money not making movies,” says one local screenwriter, who earned $150,000 on his first four scripts, none of which were produced. “I got fired from one film with Sony and everyone said ‘That’s great!’ because if you’re in the Guild, they have to pay you the full amount anyway, someone else has to finish it—which is the real pain in the ass—and you get credit anyway.”
Let me tell you how that looks to me. "Say, Ben, we're gonna let somebody else fuck around with your characters, but hey, we'll give you a lot of money to shut up about it if we kill them. Oh, and your name's still gonna be on it-so you'll get the blame anyway."
I was so right to start thinking novel.