If you want to sell you movie idea, you’re not alone. Living in Los Angeles, I meet creative people with blockbuster ideas all the time. The problem is, unless you are already well connected (with lots of credibility) it’s tough to call up a major motion picture studio and sell an idea. So how do you get around this conundrum?
One suggestion is to stop trying to sell your movie ideas and instead, start selling yourself as a producer. While there are many ways to become a producer, one of the most powerful strategies you can employ involves turning your movie idea into a screenplay treatment, and then breaking your BIG filmmaking project into small steps.
How To Sell Your Movie Idea
While taking your own movie idea from script to screen is challenging, it is not impossible. Once you have an awesome story, your next step is to create a screenplay, a production schedule and then a budget. From there you’ll create a business plan and start your search for prospective investors.
Because making movies is cool, there are many prospective investors outside of Hollywood who would be interested in funding movie projects. Story aside, some people are interested in backing a project because they think it will help them find love, make more money or simply give them something to brag about on the golf course.
If this aspect of film producing seems totally crazy and you never sold a thing, I highly recommend you get some sort of sales job. This will teach you cold calling skills, how to face rejection and if you’re good, you might just make few bucks in the process. And if you haven’t yet noticed… Selling your movie idea starts with selling you.
1. Don’t Pitch To Sellers:
The other day, I got my oil changed. While waiting, I overheard two dudes pitching movie ideas to each other. The problem was, both of these hopefuls wanted the same thing – Each was hoping the other person to produce THEIR movie. (And one of them bragged about knowing some movie star…)
In this example, even if these guys were real, there was no buyer in the conversation, just sellers. Before you make your pitch, make sure you’re actually pitching to a buyer. And secondly, make sure the buyer actually cares about what you’re selling.
2. Make Sure Your Movie Is More Than An Idea:
Everybody in Hollywood has an idea for a movie. Everybody thinks they can write screenplays. Everybody thinks they are special. Everybody is crossing their fingers, waiting and praying that SOMEONE ELSE will recognize their talent and sprinkle them with Hollywood famous fairy dust.
Ideas are everywhere and ideas are worth less than something tangible. If you want to be taken seriously, make sure you have more than an idea. I suggest having the rights to an outstanding story, or some money in the bank, or the interest of a NAME actor. Or an awesome screenplay. At least this is something.
3. Speak The Language Of Your Buyer:
Everybody asks: What’s in it for me? This is the number one rule of any negotiation. And you know what? Most would be producers screw this up. Don’t pitch a horror movie to someone looking for a love story. And don’t pitch a documentary to someone who makes action films. (This seems obvious. But you’d be surprised.)
While I enjoy all movies, my own interests involve skateboarding, time travel and science fiction that explores theories of physics. I also like knowing if there is an easily accessible market. Is there a niche target audience for your story?
I know life would be a lot more easy if you could just make a pitch and sell your movie idea. But for some reason, the world doesn’t work this way. If you look around, you’ll notice that most filmmakers started out on small projects and “leveled up” their careers. With each project came more experience and credibility… What will you to stop making excuses and start taking action?