Praying, Begging, Pitching, and Selling!

December 8, 2010

The following question was posted on our community message board:

“My question is inspired by a conversation I had with a friend recently, who I feel has a “blockbuster” film hiding within his already written story. His story falls into the metaphysical/spiritual fiction realm in the likes of The Matrix, I Robot, and Inception. For a story writer who has no desire to be a screenwriter, what advice do you have for how that writer can get his/her work into the hands of people who can effectively transform it into a movie?”

Prayer is a good start. Abject begging is a good next step for which I always suggest buying some sturdy knee pads. I have some used knee pads that your friend can buy really inexpensively but they’re pretty worn out from all my years of begging for money as a producer.

OK, now that I have THAT out of my system:

Great question.

There are several potential routes.

The Hollywood Creative Directory is an invaluable resource. Try to locate a producer or production company who seems to have dealt with that kind of material before. This will require calling offices to see if they accept unsolicited material. Most don’t. Almost all will say that they don’t, but a good phone personality can help you find a sympathetic ear somewhere. Also, through the same directory, you can find agents who are willing to look at new material. (Submitting to a studio directly is not recommended because they basically just ignore anything from a writer or someone they don’t already know.)

There are also “pitchfests” that are sometimes sponsored by various agencies, etc. where new people can come pitch stories to agents, producers, etc. The best known is the Great American Pitchfest.

All of those ideas can be pursued online by clicking on the links I’ve included; however, the best strategy is the one that my old boss and mentor Dino de Laurentiis believed in and pursued his entire career. Every time Dino had an idea that he wanted to pursue with a studio, he would say to me “Let’s go”, and we would get in a car and actually show up in various executive offices.

Although you have to actually be in Los Angeles or New York to do this, (until, of course, we bring back The Old Hollywood and there are many more cities to choose from!), showing up in person is a powerful, powerful statement. It’s also an invaluable networking opportunity because one person can recommend you to another, etc. Just remember that anyone in any office you walk into was once in your shoes. Some of them, many of them even, may be unwilling to help, but there will always be those who want to help someone because someone helped them.

Think positive, be stalwart and undeterred. Sure, you will encounter a lot of closed doors and minds, but getting your project developed is not done by majority vote. You just need ONE yes!

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