How Marketable is Your Film Idea or Screenplay?
So how marketable is your film idea or screenplay? I know so many screenwriters and filmmakers who spend months and sometimes years on an idea that is cool to just themselves.
Depending on what you are attempting to achieve with your story, you should always figure out if you idea is marketable or if you have a fighting chance of selling the screenplay or final film.
Paul Castro, the writer of the Warner Brothers feature film August Rush (Starring Robin Williams) shares with us his thoughts on how to test and find marketable ideas. You can download the MP3 or watch the video below.
LINKS AND RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
- IFH’s Online Film School
- The MILLION DOLLAR BUSINESS OF SCREEN WRITING (Limited Time Discount)
- USC ONLY Online Film Course: Directing the Actor with Nina Foch
- Film Festival Hacks: Submit Like a Pro Course (50% OFF for a LIMITED TIME ONLY)
- FreeFilmBook.com (Your FREE Audio Book)
- IFH: Filmmaking Hacks
- Six Secrets to get into Film Festivals for FREE!
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How to Writer the Million Dollar Screen play with Paul Castro
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– I wanted to talk to you about the marketability of your idea. So writers, we all have a peppering of all sorts of ideas, bombarding our psyche and our soul, often. And, most of the time, everyday, at least for me and many of my friends. So, how do you choose an idea? Well, I think it’s important to take your top three ideas and be really honest with yourself, is it marketable? ‘Cause there are ideas out there that are… Something’s that interesting to me, may not be interesting to the world. So, I wrote a script about a fugu chef, one time. The Japanese puffer blowfish, which is the poisonous fish, and I loved this story, and it got some traction, but nobody ever bought it. And, the writing experience was of value, for sure, but I could of spent those eight weeks to 12 weeks, to eventually six months, working on something that was much more marketable. So, what makes a marketable screenplay that’s going to put you in the best possible position to sell it? So these days, it is a true story for some reason, Hollywood and actors, movie stars, like to play something that actually happened. So, how do you acquire that? Well, you acquire it from source material. What is source material? From a magazine, a book, an article, something you’ve seen in the news. Now you may be saying yeah, Paul, that’s great, but I’m a new screenwriter, how am I going to acquire that. Well, from my experience, I have seen that book authors are a lot more accessible and open than say, trying to get to a movie star. So, if you approached a book author, notice I said, he or she, not the agent, ’cause agents are wonderful, but they’re the gatekeepers. They’re trying to protect that person, and they’re trying to get them paid, understandably so. But, if you approach a book author, and show your passion for the material, have a plan for how you’re going to adapt it from book to the big screen, and oh, by the way, you’re going to do this for free, as long as that he or she gives you a free option, and if the material, once you’re done with it, is at a level of vibrancy, and at a high frequency of quality, then that person says yes, this is my book on screen, in a screenplay form, that can eventually make it to the big screen, I would love to see. You did a great job. If they agree to that, then you go forward as a team to sell the entire project, and it cost you time and sweat equity. That can be done. And, most writers are a bit trepidatious and shy and circumspecting, going that route because they feel like, well, what value do I have to add? Well, I’m here to tell you, you have a lot. You’re creative. That’s invaluable. And, if you’re going to be brave enough to approach this person, and coming from a good place, you’re not trying to rip anyone off, you’re trying to add value with your talent and creativity. You can acquire some wonderful stories. So, the market is very friendly towards a true story. Something that’s current. Is it… These days you a lot of stories about autism, which is a very important subject. If there’s something that is relevant to the science world as far as a curable disease. Something that has an energy beyond just a true story. An Olympic hopeful who blah, blah, blah, fill in the blank. Maybe there’s something in your hometown, somebody that nobody even knew about this person. And, you can bring that story to fruition through a screenplay. Where there’s a will, there’s a relative, and there’s also a way. So, I would encourage you to start looking for true stories, something from source material. If there’s a book that you saw, you read when you were a little kid… Why hasn’t this ever been a movie? Then that’s a voice, a little God wink, that’s telling you to pursue it. So, your job now is to spend the next, I’m sorry, not one hour, two hours going to Google, going to your Rolodex, going to your hometown, going through all your resources to identify a true story that you can bring to fruition through the craft of screenwriting. So, you have two hours. Make sure you hit the restroom, get some water, get some almonds, or whatever you do, and get prepared because two hours, and you’re gonna unveil the gem that you were meant to write through a true story through source material, okay? In three, two, one, write it.