(updated February 11, 2022)
At some point in our lives, we’ve all thought about what a great movie would be and how cool it would be if we could make it! it could be something from our personal lives, whether it’s going through a rough patch or a three-day weekend hard to believe actually happened. After all, how many movies are made about real situations that happen to real people?
Or it could be a sci-fi fantasy story with all the action, weird aliens, and hilarious sidekicks to make a summer blockbuster! It could be a western, a documentary, a police drama series, or a slapstick comedy. Whatever the idea, you may have even gone as far as giving your movie a title, choosing the lead roles, and debating who would direct your movie.
For many, it’s a fun way to daydream about seeing your name in the lights and rubbing shoulders with the tinsel elite. Or maybe it’s more than a dream, but you’re just not sure how to get your good idea into the hands of the right Hollywood producer or decision maker.
I have an idea for a movie. now what do i do?
You have faith in your film and you’re convinced that if you get the chance to pitch your film idea to the right people, you’ll be on your way. and you could be right! But there is a long road between your idea and the inauguration on Labor Day. there are a lot of great ideas out there, but there’s also a lot of legwork involved in selling an idea.
write your script or your ideas
The first thing you’ll want to do is get your idea for a movie or TV show on paper, or at least on your hard drive. at first, you’ll want to go as low as you can for your own benefit. start a master file where you can dump ideas, snappy lines of dialogue, and other passages you think belong in the piece.
In fact, you may want to write a movie script entirely before you buy it. you want to make sure you have a finished, or reasonably finished, product before you ship it. however, when it comes to submitting films, you’ll want to keep your work down to three or four pages.
Think of it like you’re writing a book report. write cleanly, concisely and with purpose. dialogue isn’t important at this point, but telling the story is. You don’t have to set up every scene, although you may want to include a particularly important passage.
write your “spec script”
When it comes time to address production companies, they won’t have time to read 120 pages for a feature film. if you get a bite or two, you’ll want to make sure you have a “spec script” ready to read. that is a script that has been written without request from a hollywood production company or studio.
once finished, be sure to register the work through the writers guild of america. this will protect your intellectual property without having to protect it. When you’re ready to submit your initial script, be sure to include a short cover letter with a brief synopsis of your idea. And keep it professional, like applying for a job: instead of selling yourself, you’re selling your idea.
how to submit an idea for a movie? where do i send my script?
You have a movie synopsis and script ready to go… but where do you send it? you could move to los angeles, print a hundred copies and drop them off at every production house in hollywood. is this the most efficient way? no, but you will be able to see much of the city.
There is no single way that has the best track record for getting your work read, let alone sold. In the past, there were publications that listed contact information for production companies, such as the Hollywood Creative Directory. but like so many print products before them, the internet has made them obsolete.
so instead of hitting the road, fire up that old laptop and get to work. what you want to do as a writer is find production companies that currently accept “unsolicited scripts.” Those two words are key. send that pristine script with its three brass fasteners and hardcover to a production company that doesn’t accept unsolicited scripts and it will either be outright rejected or shredded (with documentation of that shredding). Producers need to protect themselves, so follow the rules.
Always consider the target audience of the production companies you are targeting. While the big studios may consider it “Oscar fodder,” smaller movies will be better received by independent houses. chances are those larger production companies will outsource those movies to their smaller subsidiaries anyway.
You can even set your sights on those who have the ear of decision makers, like agents. it can be hard to figure out who really has the juice to put their work in front of those who make the movies. As with the production companies you are contacting, be sure to do your research.
Keep track of who you’ve contacted, heard from, and other information about your shipments. set up schedules to send follow-up reminders, about four weeks after your initial send. you don’t want to seem too eager, but you do want to keep yourself top of mind.
It sure is a time-consuming business, both for you and for those who read the mailings, day in and day out. it can be frustrating. so when you turn heads, be sure to keep those relationships alive. follow their advice, take note of the suggestions and don’t be afraid to consider the recommended changes.
create killer scripts
The best thing you can do for yourself is write the killer script that can’t be ignored. Film Connection Screenwriting School will match you with a mentor who has written, sold, and turned his screenplays into films. They’ll give you the advice he needs to turn his idea into a movie, TV pilot, or other visual media.
The most important thing to remember is to never give up on yourself. keep writing, refining, and resubmitting your work. One way to make sure your ideas never make it onto the big or small screens is to stop altogether. remember: all you need is one person to give you the green light.