How To Generate Movie Ideas That Sell

A few weeks back I was at my dentist. We got to talking about movie ideas. And she immediately started telling me about some story she’s been writing for close to a decade. That wouldn’t be too bad, except I’m paying her to drill my teeth.

And her story sucks. Well, let me clarify… I didn’t actually read her screenplay. For all I know the execution could be fabulous. But in terms of finding a remarkable hook that would lead her (or a distributor) to fulfilling my five step film distribution tactics, there was nothing there.

movie ideas

How To Generate Movie Ideas That Sell

Nothing memorable. Nothing remarkable. And nothing exciting… I recommended that she hire an A-List movie star and call it a day. That is what I call generic advice for generic movie ideas. As a filmmaker your success depends on your ability to produce and pitch movie ideas that sell.

A good movie idea is memorable. It makes people raise an eyebrow and respond, “that’s interesting!” And it’s the sort of thing people remember long after you left the conversation. And from a business perspective, great movie ideas have a clearly defined target audience.

If you can’t define your audience, you’ve either never thought about how show business works,  or you’re pretending that everybody on earth is your audience. If that’s your situation, allow me to share a saying that applies to your movie business: “Everybody is nobody. And niches will make you riches.”

Brainstorm Ideas Fast

The first step to planning your movie and finding your niche begins with brainstorming a few movie ideas. Write down a list of at least a dozen movie concepts that seem interesting to you. From there, pick the most appealing idea.

Keep in mind that getting your movie made, seen and selling is not a fast process. So in addition to creating marketable concept, you have to love your material. If you cannot have fun with your story, then why make the movie? Once you focus on a concept, distill your movie into one concise sentence known as a log-line.

For example, let’s say your movie is described as “Zombies attack people.”

Make Your Idea Memorable

Obviously this is a very succinct log-line, but it lacks the necessary detail to make your movie memorable. So your next job is to incorporate some flavorful elements back into your log-line. Here is the same example with added detail:

“Zombies attack a retirement village.”

While socially inappropriate, the extra detail adds sizzle to the description. And this will help you in a couple ways. A unique description makes it easy for your audience to understand how your movie differs from the competition. And from a marketing perspective, the words “zombies,” “zombies attack,” and “zombie movies” will help you to refine target your core audience. These targeted keywords will help you jump-start your internet SEO campaign.

Once you generate your movie ideas, your next step is to create a screenplay treatment. So make sure you learn how to write treatments that sell.

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ARTICLE BY Jason Brubaker

If you'd like more tactics like the article you just read, make sure to grab a copy of the filmmaker checklist. You'll get 65 useful steps you can employ to produce your next feature film.