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. So how do you get around this problem?
One suggestion is to stop selling your movie ideas and start marketing 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 breaking your BIG filmmaking project into small steps.
Sell Your Movie Idea
While taking your movie idea from script to screen is challenging, it is not impossible. Once you have a remarkable story, your next step is to create a screenplay, a production schedule, and a budget. You’ll make a business plan and start your search for prospective investors.
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 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.
The other day, I got my oil changed. While waiting, I overheard two people pitching movie ideas to each other. 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 honest, there was no buyer in the conversation, just sellers. Before you make your pitch, make sure you’re pitching to a buyer. And secondly, make sure the buyer cares about what you’re selling.
BEYOND YOUR 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.
Ideas are everywhere, and ideas are worth less than something tangible. If you want to be taken seriously, ensure 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 a fantastic screenplay. At least, this is something.
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.)
While I enjoy all movies, my interests involve skateboarding, time travel, and science fiction exploring physics theories. 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 easier if you could make a pitch and sell your movie idea. But for some reason, the world doesn’t work this way. Many filmmakers started on small projects and “leveled up” their careers. With each project came more experience and credibility. What will you do to stop making excuses and start taking action?