If you want to sell your movie idea, you’re not alone. Living in Los Angeles, I meet creative people with blockbuster ideas.
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.
How do you get around this problem?
Simple. You make sure you have more than a movie idea.
Everybody in Hollywood has an idea for a movie.
Everybody thinks they can write screenplays.
Everybody thinks they are unique. Everybody is crossing their fingers, waiting and praying that SOMEONE ELSE will recognize their talent and sprinkle them with Hollywood’s famous fairy dust.
The other day, I got my oil changed. While waiting, I overheard two people pitching movie ideas to each other. Both hopefuls wanted the same thing.
Each was hoping the other person would produce THEIR movie.
And one of them bragged about knowing some movie star.
Beyond Your Movie Idea
In this example, even if these guys were honest, there was no buyer in the conversation, just sellers with only an idea or two.
Ideas are everywhere, and opinions 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 a great story, some money in the bank, or the interest of a NAME actor. Or you already have a fantastic screenplay. At least, this is something.
Before you start the process, think in terms of the end goal. Are you planning to pitch to a studio producer, or some prospective investors?
If it’s investors, then start with your business plan.
If they’re interested, it’s time to talk business.
Use Movie Plan Pro to lay out the plan from funding to filming to distribution. This isn’t just about numbers, though they’re essential.
It’s about showing you’ve got what it takes to turn that great idea into a great film.
1. The Logline:
First things first, you need a logline. It’s a single sentence that sums up your movie idea.
Think of it as the hook, something so catchy and intriguing that anyone who hears it will want to know more.
It’s not just what your movie is about but why it’s a must-see.
2. The Synopsis:
Next up, you need a synopsis.
This isn’t a novel. Keep it short and sweet.
Lay out your story from start to finish. Include the main plot points, the big twists, and how it all wraps up.
Make it engaging – this is your chance to turn that initial interest into genuine excitement.
3. The Treatment:
Now, let’s get into the details with a treatment.
This is your story, characters, and world, all laid out. It’s more detailed than a synopsis but not a script.
It’s a glimpse into the movie you want to make, something so vivid that it feels natural.
4. The Pitch:
Alright, you’ve got their attention. Now it’s time for the pitch.
This is where you sell not just the movie but yourself. Be confident, be passionate, and most importantly, be prepared.
Know your story inside and out, and be ready to answer any questions they throw your way.
5. The Screeenplay
If your pitch went well, it’s time to make sure your screenplay is producer ready.
I’m assuming you either already have a screenplay. Or you now have an interested investor… Which means you need a great screenplay to match your movie business plan.
If you’re writing it yourself, set a regular writing schedule and make sure your script tells your story well with interesting characters and a good plot.
If you suck at writing, you’ll need to partner with someone who can write.
Sell Your Movie Idea
While taking your movie idea from script to screen is challenging, it is not impossible.
Once you have all your elements in place, your next step is to create a screenplay, a production schedule, and a budget.
Because making movies is incredible, many prospective investors outside Hollywood 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 give them something to brag about on the golf course.
If this aspect of film production seems crazy and you have never sold a thing, I highly recommend getting a sales job.
This will teach you cold-calling skills and how to face rejection, and if you’re good, you might make a few bucks in the process. And if you haven’t yet noticed…
Selling your movie idea starts with selling you.
Why Should Your Buyer Care?
Everybody asks: What’s in it for me? Addressing this question 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.
I know life would be a lot easier if you could make a pitch and sell your movie idea. But for some reason, the world doesn’t work this way.
Breaking into Hollywood is more than having a stellar idea; it’s about proving you can bring it to life. Don’t get stuck in the “idea phase.”
In this industry, action speaks louder than words. Relationships are key because you need a solid plan to turn your screenplay into a film. Hollywood is built on connections. Every conversation is a step closer to making your dream a reality.