Youíve got a great idea for a movie script, but you donít know how to write a screenplay.

So, youíd like to try to simply sell your great idea.

We Know: How to Market a Movie Idea

By Nancy Hersage, screenwriter and member, Writers Guild of America

1. Know Who Buys Movie Ideas

Most ideas are bought or optioned by small movie producers who then try to sell them to big studios. You can get a list of these producers in the Hollywood Creative Directory. You can also find a list of producers in books such as the Writers Market, available at places like Amazon or eBay.

2. Put Your Idea On Paper

You donít have to know how to write a screenplay or use scriptwriting software to sell an idea. But you must put your idea down on paper. Write a description of your idea, making it from 2 to 6 pages long. Try to tell your story in order, from beginning to end. Use the present tense, and write in short, clear sentences. Avoid using dialogue as much as possible. Once you have this description of your movie idea (called a treatment), register it with the Writers Guild, to protect it. Registration costs about $20. You can find out more information by calling the Guild at 323-782-4500.

3. Write a Short Cover Letter

You are about to send your description (treatment) off to the producers you found in Step 1. Write a short cover letter telling them you have a great idea for a movie. In the letter, include a one or two sentence summary of the movie idea. Look at TV Guide and make it sound like a log line for a movie. Be sure to tell them if itís a true story. You may tell them one or two sentences about yourself, but itís not important. You donít need any experience and you donít have to be a writer to sell Hollywood a story. BE SURE TO INCLUDE YOUR PHONE NUMBER.

4. Select the Best Producers and Finalize Your Mailing

Choose 2 to 100 SMALL producers from the list who sound like they might like your kind of story. Address envelopes, insert cover letter and the description of your idea. Now add a self-addressed postcard (with the producerís name and address in the return address) and send off your mailing.

5. Follow Up and Response

You can try calling the producers after 3-4 weeks to see if theyíve received your mailing and ask if they are interested in your idea. Or, wait to see how many calls or postcards you receive. After the first 100, try mailing another 50 producers. And so on. A positive response rate of 3% is considered good. If one out of ten producers express interest in your idea, youíre cookiní!

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