4 Tips for Pitching Your Movie and TV Ideas

In celebration of the New York Film Festival that kicks off this week (September 27, to be exact), here are four things you have to consider in order to get your own film idea in front of a real, honest to goodness Hollywood producer. I base these claims on the experiences of a personal friend and associate of mine, whose sister has a new TV series coming out based on a book she wrote (hint: it’s about witches). May these suggestions help you get your treatment, script, or scribble outline in front of an editor from Variety…someday.

Tips for Pitching Movie Ideas (Photos: David McNew/Getty Images, iStockphoto)

 

You have to have real talent, and be kind of crazy (but in the good way)
Your cynical self may refuse to believe that Hollywood is always looking for the next best thing to put on screen, but they really are. You will be surprised at how easy it can be to share an idea you have for a movie or new story with someone in the entertainment business who might be able to actually do something about it. The catch of course, is that you really have to have something that is interesting and genuinely fascinating. It doesn’t even have to be original (see: never-ending remakes, similar themes across genre, etc.) but fresh. If you are a creative and think you have something that people will want to see, by all means get it out in front of people and develop the idea into at least an outline of a story.

Network like a madman or madwoman
Once you have your idea and perhaps even a script in hand, you have to network like a maniac unless you have a direct connection with people on the inside. Attend every event or party that can get you in front of someone who can take notice. Sooner or later, you’ll get introduced to an agent type who can give you a clear answer on whether your script has legs. This was the approach my friend’s sister took – it took her years before first her book idea sold and even longer for that book to be picked up as a TV show. If you really want to play this game, be prepared to dig in for longer than you think.

You must not fear rejection
And be prepared to be humbled. No matter how great your idea might be, it could take a long, long, long time before you get noticed. Keep your day job while you pursue your Hollywood dreams and don’t let Debbie Downers discourage you.

Make sure your idea is commercially viable
Otherwise, stick to the presenting your story or script to art houses of film school production wings that may share the same obscure taste in filmmaking as you do. If your idea will not sell and will not appeal to a broad enough demographic in the country you want the movie to be shown, no one will take you seriously.

Debra Wheatman is a certified writer and career coach who has guided the professional development of thousands of clients globally. She is reachable at debra@careersdonewrite.com.