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IFH 072: How Marketable is Your Film Idea or Screenplay?

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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 your 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.

Right-click here to download the MP3

Alex Ferrari 0:00
So today I wanted to talk about the marketability of your idea or your screenplay specifically or your screenplay. You know a lot of people always go off and you know spend six months a year even longer either writing a screenplay making a movie and they don't even understand if this is even marketable if it's something that the marketplace wants or is positioned in a place that you can sell it you know, I've seen so many filmmakers go off and make a movie and spend six months a year two years of their lives putting stuff together and they have no idea if the the idea of the movies even marketable and it's a waste man and I hate again all depends on what you're trying to do if you're trying to just put out art or trying to do experiments and keep the budgets low and you could do whatever you want and that's fine Go for it. But if you're spending you know as a substantial amount of money and it takes you a year or two of your life and you haven't even tested to see if this is even a marketable idea my god it's just such a waste so please always test your ideas go off and do a little do a little research and see if the marketplace is interested in your kind of movie. And if the if it is interested in your idea, do you need stars attached things like that, to make it a marketable thing now, where you start with this whole idea is with the screenplay with the idea is this a marketable idea or marketable screenplay? So if you're only a screenwriter, listen up, because this is going to be very, very valuable information. And also, filmmakers who are screenwriters slash directors slash producers definitely perk your ears up, because you're going to get some knowledge bombs thrown at you right now. So Paul Castro, the writer of August, Russian, I have put together a course called the million dollar business of screenwriting. Now I'm going to give you a one of the lessons that he teaches in this course called is your screenplay marketable? What is the marketability of your screenplay. So I wanted to give you a kind of a sneak peek of the course in this podcast and listen to one of these amazing lectures that Paul does in this in this course. Now, this is not just for screenwriters, this is also for directors, producers, filmmakers, who have ideas that they might want to get fleshed out, or a movie that they're about to start, definitely listen to what Paul says, because it might save you years of your life, let alone 1000s and 1000s, or even, maybe even millions of dollars, depending on the level you're at. And at the end of the episode, I'll give you a special link to get the course at a substantial discount. So sit back and get ready to get your minds blown.

Paul Castro 4:00
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 every day, 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? Because there are ideas out there that are real, something that's 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 love this story, and it got some traction but nobody ever bought it. And the writing experience was a value for sure. But I could have 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, hey, 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 knows I said, he or she not the agent, because 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 had a level of vibrancy and at a high frequency of quality, that that person says yes, this is what this is my book on screen, in a screenplay form that can eventually make to the big screen. Yeah, 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 costs you time and sweat equity, that can be done. And most writers are a bit trepidatious and shy and circumspect in 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 a creative, right? 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, right? So the market is very friendly towards a true story. Something that's current, is it a strike these days, you hear a lot of stories about autism, which is a very important subject. All right, 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. All right, an Olympic hopeful, who blah, blah, blah, fill in the blank. Maybe there's something in your hometown, some somebody that nobody even knew about this person. And you could 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 when you were you read when you were a little kid, and you Why isn'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 role, the text 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 amens whatever you do, and get prepared because two hours and you're going to on Vale the gym that you were meant to write through a true story from source material. Okay, in 321 right.

Alex Ferrari 8:57
I'll tell you what, I learned a ton from Paul walls working with him on this course. I mean, he goes over things like how to workshop your screenplay, which I had never heard of this whole technique of how he actually workshops a screenplay so he can get feedback and make it better it's it's pretty, pretty awesome. How to submit to an agent how to get your screenplay to an agent, pitching how to read a room, not read a person but actually read a room, which is amazing how to write different kinds of screenplays from 30 minutes, sitcoms to one hour dramas, residuals, a W GA, writing assignments and so on. I mean, it's it's a pretty dense course on the business of screenwriting and how to actually make a living being a screenwriter. But again, a lot of the concepts and things that Paul talks about for screenwriters can easily be translated to filmmakers. So definitely a course to take a listen to and as promise I am going to give you a discount code so all you have to do is go to indie Film hustle.com forward slash screenwriting 25 that's indie film, hustle comm forward slash screenwriting 25. And you'll get the course for 25 bucks. I mean, that is a absolute steal, not not even playing around guys, it's so dense. And there's some more preview. When you go to that link, you'll see a few more lessons, you can kind of preview and take a listen to. Well, well worth it, guys. So I hope you got a lot out of this episode. And like I said before, on other episodes, I'm really trying to bring the highest quality film courses and knowledge to you guys through our podcast, through our blog, and through these online courses that we're creating for you. And by buying these online courses. You're supporting the show, you're supporting indie film, hustle, and what we're trying to do, and spread all of this valuable knowledge to you guys and to indie filmmakers who really need it because like I said, the reason I started this whole thing is I was just tired of seeing so many filmmakers just not making it and getting eaten up and chewed up by the film industry. And I wanted to give out as much free information as I could, but also create really top and next level courses that will take that knowledge to another place. So by by buying this, buying these courses from us, you really help us support what I'm trying to do at indie film hustle. So I thank you from the bottom of my heart guys. And also there is a 30 day money back guarantee if you don't like it, so if you just want to listen to it, give it a shot, but it's definitely worth it. Alright guys. So as always, please head over to filmmaking podcast calm and leave us an honest review of the show. It really helps us out a lot. And don't forget to go and sign up for our free Facebook group so you can talk to all the other tribe members and be part of the indie film hustle community, share your information, share your knowledge, share your what you're shooting, what you're making, all that kind of stuff and ask questions. That's why I created it. So it is a vibrant, wonderful community that we're building slowly but surely we're getting close to 5000 members already at the Facebook group so please head over to indie film, hustle, calm Ford slash Facebook and sign up it is free. So as always guys, keep the hustle going. Keep that dream alive. And I'll talk to you soon.

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