HOW TO GET HOLLYWOOD’S ATTENTION
Almost everyone has at least one idea for a movie, and being the self-centered species we are, this idea usually has something to do with our own life experience. That’s fine if you’ve lived a fascinating life, but remember the old Hollywood credo: just because it happened to you doesn’t make it interesting. The first step in getting Hollywood to pay attention to you as a filmmaker is to find a great story, and that isn’t as hard as it sounds. Read the top ten news items on any given day and you’ll find at least five conflict-driven stories that might captivate a mass audience. Once you’ve got your idea, next you’ll want to write a script, but this is where a big decision needs to be made. Do you want to spend a year or more crafting a feature-length screenplay (90 to 120 pages long) only to spend the next two or three years trying to sell it with no guarantee whatsoever of success? If so, good luck and get writing. If not, there are many ways, some of them only recently made available, to get Hollywood’s attention and propel yourself into the film world. The most common choice is to create a short film. Short films require much smaller budgets, and sometimes can be done entirely through borrowing materials. Creating a short film can be done without any formal instruction, though you may find it beneficial to develop a one-on-one mentoring relationship with an experienced filmmaker who can guide you along the way. Once you’ve finished your short, you can post it on internet video sites, you can submit it to film festivals, and you can network your way into handing it directly to producers. The great thing about a short is that it is easy for the executive to watch, and it quickly conveys your talents as a filmmaker. Another method, far more possible in the age of online networking, is to create your own whisper campaign. This means you reach out to anyone and everyone you know and tell them you have a property that Hollywood might be interested in, and ask them to then tell everyone they know about it, too. This may sound like a pyramid scheme, because that’s exactly what it is, but unlike those used to bilk others for money, this is simply a practical way to generate buzz about your talents and try to grab the ear of Hollywood. Whether it is through a completed screenplay, a short film, or simply spreading the message, you can get Hollywood’s attention. Once you’ve got the attention of the film business, whether or not you make it in La-La Land is up to you.