I have an idea for a movie, now what do I do?
Many people, at some point in their life, believe they have the story for next big Hollywood blockbuster. Most times, even if that is true, they do not know how to proceed to get it in front of the people who might be interested. If you have a good idea for a movie, there is a process that you should follow to give the concept a chance to actually be written and produced.
First, it’s very important to know who the people are that buy movie ideas. Most of the ideas that come from the average person are optioned or bought by independent movie producers. The Hollywood Creative Directory will give you a list of producers who are always looking for film ideas. There are also some good books such as The Writer’s Market that will identify those that might purchase your concept.
Secondly, it’s imperative that you type your idea in your computer as well as make a hard copy and keep it in your files. The idea should not be longer than 3 or 4 pages. If it’s too long, it will get tossed and never read. Tell your story very clearly and methodically. Keep it in the present tense and do not use dialogue. After you’ve completed this, it’s important for you to register it with the Writer’s Guild of America (WGA) to protect your concept. As long as you protect it through the WGA, there isn’t any need to copyright it.
When you are about to send out your story to producers, whether through snail mail or online, it’s important to write a short cover letter. Include a short synopsis of your story as well as a bit about yourself. Make this letter warm and friendly but still professional. Sign the letter and be sure to include your phone number and email address.
Make a list of the producers that you are going to solicit. Investigate what genres of films they’ve produced in the past. If the producer loves special effects, high adventure films, it is a waste of time to pitch them a romantic comedy. If you are sending hard copies through the mail, add a self-addressed stamped envelope so it’s easy for them to respond to you whether they are interested or not.
Finally, follow up with the producers that you solicited approximately 4 weeks after your emails or mailing. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this, drop them a postcard or shoot them another email. Be kind and friendly and many times you will get a response. The percentage of producers who respond is usually a small amount. But it’s still worth the effort even if only one is interested. Continue mailings and follow up. The only way your idea won’t get produced is if you give up on it yourself.