two actors preparing for a night shoot

The Truth: How To Get Your Screenplay or Idea Made

So you’ve got a great idea for a movie and you want someone to make it.  The questions is how do you make that happen? 

There are two ways to get your film or TV project made.

  1. Raise or the find the money yourself and hire people to make your project.  The majority of film projects are independently financed.  Money comes to a project from a wide variety of sources. 
    1. Crowdfunding on sites like Kickstarter, IndieGoGo or Seed&Spark.
    2. Spending your own money.
    3. Raising money from friends and family.
    4. Finding investors to fund your project.
    5. Grants from non-profits, film festivals and arts based agencies.
  2. A production company, producer, studio or film investor reads your screenplay or loves your pitch.  However, unless you’re established in the entertainment industry getting that pitch meeting or getting your script read is close to impossible.

So the big question is how do you get someone with the power to make your script into a movie?  Or what if you don’t have a script and just an idea? 

  1. If all you have is an idea you need a script.  Ideas are a dime a dozen and your unique original idea that no one else has ever thought of before has already been thought of.  There’s an old saying by Mark Twain that in summary states “there are no new ideas.”  This is especially true in the entertainment industry.  When you pitch your idea the next question is do you have a script.  Either learn to write it yourself or find a writer.  You must have a script.
  2. Without a personal connection to a decision maker the best way in today’s industry to get someone to read a screenplay is contests.  You need to enter screenplay contests and do well in those contests.  Winning scripts are vetted and thus producers will be interested in them.  There are several good contests and several things you should do with your script.
  3. The very first thing is to get coverage on your script.  Coverage is professional feedback evaluating your screenplay.  It is impartial feedback that will let you know how good or bad your screenplay is.  You should get coverage from multiple sources as opinions will differ. 
    1. Screencraft provides great coverage and has really good contests.
    2. The Blacklist is an amazing resource and many scripts from here are made into films.
    3. The Motion Picture Academy’s Nicholl fellowship is highly regarded.
    4. Sundance screenwriter’s labs.
    5. Inktip is also really good and producers actively search this site for screenplays.
  4. Once you have coverage and you’ve done re-writes based on the coverage.  Yes you must do re-writes.  Then you need to get attention for it.  You do that by placing or winning screenplay contests.
    1. If you don’t have any connections in the industry this is how you get them.
  5. Put your screenplay on Inktip and the Blacklist.  That is where producers go to find good material.

The bottom line is it is very very rare for anyone to just read your screenplay and want to make it.  It will require work to get it out there and get your dream project made.