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Taking Care of Business
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Old November 10th, 2009, 11:47 AM   #16
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No one here has suggested that Nathan not pursue his dream, only that just having an idea isn't enough.

Nathan, by all means you should pursue this, but to increase your chances of success you must approach this like the business it is. If you don't feel comfortable writing the screenplay yourself then it is, in fact, a pretty good idea to team up with a more experienced writer, and then knock on every door possible to find an agent (it's not impossible, just difficult). Once you have an agent then he/she can shop your screenplay around.

But the odds of being able to get a pitch meeting when all you have is an idea are pretty slim. Not that it has never happened, just that it's pretty rare.

There's a reason you can't copyright an idea, only the tangible expression of it.
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Old November 10th, 2009, 07:03 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Jeff Emery View Post
Sorry James but if the public doesn't get behind a product and fork over the bucks for the product, all the latest, greatest, innovative marketing is wasted cash. Nothing becomes blockbuster material unless the buying public makes it so.

Marketing didn't help the Edsel. Marketing didn't help the DeLorean. Just try to find a can of "the New Coke" anywhere. Hhmmmmmmmm, Vista got a lot of marketing.

But that is exactly my point.....TRADITIONAL marketing may not be the answer, but "grass-roots" style marketing is what is making the success stories all media.
Marketing can take many forms. Many of us are marketed to everyday in ways we may not even be aware of. If you don't think the movie companies (or any company that needs to market it's product) is unaware of, and is not actively utilizing, these "new" marketing techniques, you are dead wrong.
"Paranormal Activity" was marketed on the premise that "your movie theater may not be showing ask for it!".......even though Paramount was already planning on giving it a wide release. How do you think "the buying public" gets behing things? Marketing!

But all that is not really what the OP was asking about. I'll bet my analogy about the music business fits the movie biz as well. Our OP has a "spec" movie idea....he didn't elaborate on whether it was an outline, a treatment, or an actual script.
Now, let's say he shops it around. And, it just so happens that Sony Pictures is actually preparing to shoot a movie that is similar. They have attached a producer, and a lead, etc. Sony has already spent quite a bit of money on this similar movie. Now, if they never accept the "spec" script our OP submits, they have no problems. But, the minute they open his script, they might be liable for infringemnet. And NO movie house is going to take that chance. Although, they might buy the script for a small fee just so they can shelve it. Either way, our OP hasn't gotten his movie made.
A lot of people tend to forget the "business" part of the music (and movie) business. Essentially, when an artist approaches a company to help him to produce or distribute his art, he asking them to invest money, sometimes a very large amount. To expect to get anywhere with unproven, unsolicited material is unrealistic. I may have a great "idea" for a new soap...but without spending some of my own money to produce a sample, test it, and have something to show my "investors".....all I have is a great idea and no way to make any money with it.

Marketing didn't help the Edsel because people thought it was ugly. The DeLorean was plagued by late production and not being able to be sold at it's original intended price. New Coke was ill-conceived from the beginning. And Vista...well, c'mon....I never intended to suggest marketing would overcome a shoddy product to make a success. But, many good products are unknown to the general public because of ineffective marketing.
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Old November 10th, 2009, 08:03 PM   #18
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I'm just glad to see that people feel strongly about their opinions and hold fast to their beliefs. Whether I agree with you or you with me, I still respect your right to have your opinion.

I look forward to the next hypothetical topic that can be discussed or argued back and forth with no party being able to prove or disprove one theory or another. It's like riding a fast train to nowhere.

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Old November 10th, 2009, 08:51 PM   #19
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... until Nathan tells us what his idea is so that we can discuss it in more detail. :-P

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Old November 10th, 2009, 09:13 PM   #20
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Ideas, on their own, are worthless.

You can't copyright them, you can't patent them, you can't do anything with an idea on it's own.

An idea, plus years of hard work (be it script development, business development, whatever), might be worth less than the years of hard work that was put into it, or it might be worth many times more.

And idea, in essence, is only a multiplier. Great ideas multiply the success of great work.

A multiplier, without anything to multiply, is worthless.

Before you pursue your great idea, decide how much great work YOU personally want to put into it. That will determine your chance of success, not the idea (even bad ideas have become success due to enough hard work.).

The idea only multiplies the amount of success that might come from that work.
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Old November 10th, 2009, 09:37 PM   #21
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This is an awesome thread. Probably it's going to be deleted soon but I've enjoyed reading both sides of the story. Reminds me of that old quote, "In any good argument both people are right."
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Old November 10th, 2009, 10:08 PM   #22
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If you don't like the ride, get off the train.
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Old November 10th, 2009, 10:58 PM   #23
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When it comes to negotiating, you always want to be negotiating from a position of power. That's the ideal situation to be in.

For your idea (just as it is in business) you have to be prepared for the possibility of just walking away. The idea of your movie idea not happening has to remain a realistic possibility.

Otherwise you may have an unintended detectable desperation, and the "it must somehow happen" mindset will affect your otherwise clear rational thinking.

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Old November 11th, 2009, 12:47 PM   #24
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Adam, Jeff - play nice, or I'll unleash the hounds...

I would have done it already, but have to agree that you both are presenting both sides...which is necessary to hear. Just keep the fangs out of each other's necks and don't bring it to a personal level...y'all are getting a little too close.

Key points -

1. There are no new ideas, only new executions - about 99% true

2. Good scripts are hard to find - 100% true

3. Once you go overcome the huge hurdle of pulling together a script, you are about in inning 2 of a 9 inning game...are you ready for the huge investment in time and money that lies ahead?

4. Since you're posting on DVinfo, you probably either shoot or are interested in production issues...someone wise once told me, "the EASIEST thing about making a movie is the production" - 100% true - and this is far, far, far from an easy thing... have no idea what the gaps are in your knowledge base, until you start looking at the "everything else" that goes into doing this successfully.

...Adam is trying to tell you what some of these things are, and those of us who are committed to these types of productions would do well to listen to what he is saying...he's not raining on anyone's parade, he is telling it like it is.

Having said that, everyone who gets involved in making movies is a dreamer, of a sort, trying to realize the product of their imagination by spinning nothing into's from the void of the mind that movies emerge...

So dream away, that is how these things get done. But they only get done successfully when you have built out your knowledge base of the business end of things.

The easiest thing about a production is the production. That's my zen koan of filmmaking...
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Old November 13th, 2009, 02:28 PM   #25
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Nathan, I'm going to bump this thread back up. Consider writing the script yourself, just do it. Grind it out.
Go to this website: Celtx - #1 Choice for Media Pre-Production
Download their free script writing software, it works great, makes the process way easier.
Look at some sample screenplays on-line at: Drew's Script-O-Rama: free movie scripts and screenplays, baby!
Here you'll find hundreds of screenplays for just about every movie that you've seen.
Start slow or fast, but start the process of writing your idea out. Chip away at it, a page a day, a page a week, a paragraph a day, whatever you can squeeze out, just do it and you'll be suprised at the progress. Even huge novels are written a little bit at a time.
If you have an idea, you have an outline in your mind. Flesh it out on paper, fill in the edges.
Don't make too big of a deal out of it, or it won't get done. The journey is more important than the destination. Remember, just chip away at it and enjoy the ride.
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Old November 16th, 2009, 07:00 PM   #26
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Thanks for the advice and kind words everyone.

Let me just clarify a few things though, as a few people made assumptions that weren't exactly accurate.

First off, although I am a producer, I have no intent to produce this movie. I do not have the experience, budget, or knowledge to pursue such an endeavor. I simply have a concept that I want to pitch (and hopefully sell).

Secondly, this is not a dream of mine. I've never contemplated such things until this idea instilled itself in my imagination a few months ago. The idea was so good that I felt compelled to pursue it, based solely on my confidence in its potential.

Plainly put, I just feel that my idea is so good that I'm obligated to pursue it. My career is headed elsewhere at the moment, but I still want to pursue this on the side. I'm just looking for the easiest, most cost effective way of going about it. From what everyone has said, it doesn't sound very feasible that anyone will even read my idea....yet it seems shameful considering how much potential it has.

Thanks again everyone.
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Old December 20th, 2009, 11:16 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Nathan DuMoulin View Post
In any case, I have a movie idea that's...well...really good. So good in fact that I honestly believe that it could easily make for a blockbuster. I realize that people say this all the time, but I truly feel that my idea far surpasses anything I've seen or read about in recent times.
A lot a bad info and negativity in this thread. I know a guy that sold a pitch for 40k. He had no script -- one of the conditions of accepting the 40k was that he NOT write his own idea. It does happen, but it's rare, but heck, so is a script sale.

If I were you, I'd come up with a good logline, a one or two sentence summation of your concept that *really* says, "Buy my movie idea!". Google loglines, I believe John August's site has some good info on them. Entrepreneurs use them when they approach venture capitalists, here's the one that got Cisco Systems its funding: "We make networks for networks". See? original, descriptive , concise, compelling. They got the money. So you have this great idea and cool logline. Now what. You can't get an agent because you need a great script. Which you don't have. You don't even have a bad script. From this point on it's all about relationships and your ability to sell. It's who you know, who who you know knows and if you can sell them. You've got to get the ear of a player or someone close. This is why many advise living in Hollywood if you want to work in Hollywood. Getting your idea the right exposure is so hard. But not as hard as writing a great script, and writing a great script is not as hard as coming up with a great idea. So in a sense, you've done the hard part.

So I don't suggest hiring some hack to write your script. It'd take you about 1 second to find someone to do it. Yeah, it's that desperate. Instead, use the money to buy a landline and cell phone and start working the crowd. First place I'd go? Probably some schlock film festival, mingle with the wannabees, talk shop, and start swimming upstream. Coffee Bean on Sunset Plaza is another idea. In fairness, I have known people that have leapfrogged right to top of the pyramid, but those stories always feel like one in a million, but on the other hand, the particular individual in question had a concept no one had ever heard of before, in 1980, no one in Hollywood knew what a Ninja was. Now they do.
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