How to Create, Pitch and Sell a Movie Idea

Pitch and Sell a Movie Idea

The core of any great film is a great story and a great pitch.  The root premise of a film, and the plight of its main character(s) is what allows the audience to invest in that story.  And when that movie idea is marketable to a broad audience, it attracts movie stars and film financing.  Movie Producers want those concepts to package for the studios for production. offers a platform that showcases your TV Show and Movie Ideas.  Hollywood Studios are looking for an angle into a marketable project, and pitching a highly original concept for a story that hasn't been told before is a new writer/filmmaker's best bet at selling a movie idea.  So let’s talk about the most critical elements, and the approaches you can take to give your pitch the best odds for success.

What To Create: While having the skills to craft a screenplay can deliver a sophisticated roadmap of story and nuance, having the sensibility and imagination to conceptualize a strong and unique premise for a film can help you sell your movie idea too.

What makes a great movie idea?  If you want to attract the attention of Producers, focus on creating movie pitches based on "High Concepts" and "True Stories".  They're the most viable project types for good reason, and carry great opportunities for the new Writer pitching them.  "High Concept" is the big picture idea behind the story.  High Concept movie ideas are typically very clear with a unique premise and exciting turn of events.  Hollywood Producers can see the potential for humor, drama, conflict, etc, simply based on the “high” concept.

Creating screenplay concepts that are rooted in truth, or based on true events, also attracts the attention of producers and audiences.  Searching out intriguing untold stories, or even new angles on familiar subjects, can often give a pitch the "tangible" component that Producers look for in movie ideas.  Check out our article "Based On A True Story" for a deeper look into the subject.

Make Strong Choices: Film audiences arrive at theatres with a willing suspension of disbelief.  They want to believe in your story and connect with it.  It’s your opportunity as the Writer/Creator to make strong choices in every aspect of your story.  Hollywood Producers want a heightened reality, with intensified circumstances, whether it’s comedy or drama.  Create an ironic premise, but with a very plausible setup.  This kind of setup gives your story momentum coming out of the first act and gives your primary characters a lot of business.  Give your main character(s) a very unique challenge and on their journey have them encounter obstacles or influences.  These kind of challenges will test their resolve and sometimes change their course so that ultimately we see them grow as people.  How that's done is up to you, the creator.  Talent lies in the choices made by the artist so make strong, unexpected, beautiful choices.  Your strong choices will resonate through every facet of your story, connecting the buyers hearing your pitch and ultimately the audience viewing your movie idea.

The Logline: This is the short pitch. It can be just a few sentences that distill your story down to the core ideas, presenting potential buyers with your unique premise (the set up) along with your main character's extraordinary agenda.  Your Logline is the anchor for all that happens in the story.  It’s the reason for the rhyme.

120 Pages Is Totally Reliant On 1 Single Page:  A completed screenplay is the tangible property that studios will buy if well packaged with bankable talent.  But even a superbly penned script has no chance at selling if a 1 page synopsis of the screenplay’s core concept isn't compelling to buyers of movie pitches.  The root idea of the story is what will determine if the subject matter warrants a movie produced around it.  Your synopsis gives us a necessary overview of the road we're about to travel, and hopefully illustrates a unique set-up, a creative storyline, and a poetic resolution to your movie.

Pitching: When creating your pitch in written or video form, be brief and very specific.  Often the new writer will devote a whole page that should have been condensed into one paragraph.  Or a paragraph that could have been expressed in two sentences.  Efficiency and impact are the key.  Keep it brisk.  Keep it clear.  Keep it moving!

If you're submitting a video of yourself pitching, give your name, project title and genre.  Then very quickly and concisely deliver the logline. This structure gives the executive watching or listening to your pitch the framework they need to relax and simply listen to your pitch as it unravels rather than being distracted with questions they may be formulating based on essential information you failed to provide.  Giving a great short pitch (logline) will go a long way toward winning over the executive and helping them fall in love with your pitch.  Executives are generally very good at spotting good workable stories.  

After the one or two sentence short pitch, very briskly tell them the premise, how we come into the story and its set-up, the main character's agenda, and then move quickly into the storyline which should escalate in drama or comedy.  In wrapping up the pitch, you'll be delivering the resolution of the story. At this point very quickly recap the pitch on a higher level by hitting on any larger themes or a moral of the story - the essence of your story.  This may be the journey and lesson learned by our main character, or the culmination of their personal growth.  Think inspiring or ironic.

Why It Sells: If you're going to sell a movie idea, that idea has to be extremely original with a premise, plot and resolution that makes us want to see that film.  Often when a concept works for a buyer they can clearly see how the story can play out yet are pleasantly surprised by the resolution. They can see that your movie pitch is unique, entertaining and marketable.  This is the basis of selling movie ideas!