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I got an idea for a movie, now what?

Here are the questions to ask yourself when you have an idea for a movie.
How to develop an idea for a film

Most films take years to complete so you need to be convinced you on the right path.

You have an idea for a film, but remember producers and distributors will partner with experienced filmmakers that have proven to know what they are doing.

Questions to ask about your film idea

  1. who is going to see your film
  2. how much is your film going to cost to make
  3. how big is your in-built audience
  4. where are you going to screen your film
  5. most of all how are you going to make a profit for investors

If you have successfully completed films and won awards you have a much better chance at going into production.

What a Producer wants

There a millions of scripts and ideas out there, producers will look at:

  • the film experience of the writer or filmmaker
  • do you have a A-list star attached to your project
  • how many social followers do you already have for your project
  • is it a proven film genre
  • do you have the finance to move the project forward

If you have most of the above producer requirements, then you need to be able to answer the following:

Who is going to see your film

If you say everybody, already it's a no-go.

You have to be highly specific on your audience profile: gender, where they live, their interests, where they hang out .. all because you need to create the awareness through marketing to drive them to buy a ticket.

Big studio films spend of to 50% of their total budget because they need to reach a wide audience.

For example a James Bond film overall budget is $60 million and the marketing alone is $30 million.

You need to be able to access that defined film audience through marketing.

Think of the perfect audience member, one person and where you going to find many more.

How much is your film going to cost to make

Production is expensive, start a film production company, you need to pay crew, cast, equipment, locations, lawyers, the list goes on.

You need to keep your cast and locations as limited as possible. A film budget is essential.

Example a period piece (example a historical film), brings a whole kettle of costume wardrobe, set building, production design, car rental, etc.

Build your budget, call equipment rental houses for costs per day.

How big is your in-built film audience

Say for instance your film is about sky-diving and you have a Youtube channel with 5 million followers. That means you have an in-built audience that brings value to your project.

Otherwise you need to start setting up social accounts and get people to be excited about your project and follow you journey while making the film.

You also need a website, submit IMDB listing and a mailing list to capture email addresses, as they are the more likely to buy a ticket and you do not depend on social network algorithms.

Create a page on a social network and engage with the followers.

Where are you going to screen your film

If you say Netflix, then you need to have an A-list star, a $multi-million investment or previously won major film festivals.

Anyway Netflix produce their own films and you need to be heavily connected to those production companies.

Very hard to get in the door and best to attend top film markets like Cannes Film Festival, Berlin or Toronto.

So plan B. To distribute your film is a long process and making deals with distributors in different territories.

Your direct options are streaming platforms like Amazon Prime, Tubi etc, your local cinema chain, townhall screenings or putting it up on Youtube for free.

Research distributors of similar films on IMDB.com, ask if they have interest.

How much money is your film going to make

Investors want to see a profit, filmmaking is a business.

Simple Calculation

Your film budget is $1000

You have 1000 social fans for your film

You convince 10% = 100 followers to buy tickets

Sell 100 tickets at $10 each = $1000

Can I sell my idea for a movie?

Not going to happen unless your idea is packaged with a A-list actor, producer or you have intellectual copyright to the subject of the film. 

How to submit a movie idea to Netflix

Quote: Netflix only accepts submissions through a licensed literary agent, or from a producer, attorney, manager, or entertainment executive with whom we have a preexisting relationship. Any idea that is submitted by other means is considered an "unsolicited submission".

A brilliant TV series

Ok, so you want to sell your idea to television. You know people that watch television? Anyway broadcasters pay very low per minute. They are going to go with television formats that are tried and tested with renowned production companies that deliver.

Find the production company that has a similar idea to yours, sell it to them. Otherwise prove you have a big audience on your YouTube channel.

Movie about my Life

Oh sweetheart, everyone thinks their life story is a movie. If you got your own social following about the subject, convert that to ticket sales, you got an idea for a film.

Test: Ask 10 friends to pay you $10 to listen to your story, go from there.

How to get your movie idea to Producers

Wonderful, you haven't given up, a good sign.

  1. Decide on your film goals
  2. Then put together a film proposal that you can shop around to get recognised cast and crew on board.

The way to find Producers is to look at very similar film as yours, find the production company in the credits or look on IMDB.

Once you have the contact details, you need to get in the door to present your idea and prove your film is going to be a success.

Proof of Concept

Another way to get an idea for a film moving forward is make a short film or a pilot (for tv series), submit it to film festivals, win and so you prove the content has interest and you have a experienced team behind the project.

To get funding for your film, see Film Grants

Learn the Language

When you do get in the door, you need to be able to speak 'film language', do a crash course at the online film school, have knowledge on how the film industry works.

Wishing you great success!

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