Breaking into Hollywood isn’t hard to do, it’s practically impossible. We write our stories with the best intentions, embarking on journey that may well take years to accomplish. Writers carry out this monumental task with two goals in mind; completing the story first, and seeing our words come to fruition on screen. But it’s a rush many screenwriters will never come to experience as most screenplays find a permanent resting place filed away in a desk, never to see the light of day. Which begs the question, why bother in the first place?
Whatever compels us to write, whether its a burning desire to set pen to paper, finger to keys, a fantasy or a story just itching to get out, we do what we do because it fulfills us. Brilliance, self-perceived or not, is its own reward and deserves to be shared and enjoyed by all than left to languish in the recesses of our minds.
So how do you sell a screenplay? The sobering news is you don’t. You can’t. You never will. At least majority of you will not. Hollywood is an elite “members only” club… a chain of networks, cliques and connections built on reputation. Without one, you don’t stand a chance.
You don’t need friends in high places. You just need friends. Friends with cameras and equipment. The elusive “Hollywood” is a myth. You are Hollywood. The person looking through the camera, is Hollywood. The person writing the script, is Hollywood. The person acting in front of the camera is Hollywood. You’re not just a writer, you’re a film maker and it’s up to you to raise the money and execute your vision. Hollywood is proven talent out there making movies. It’s not just writing a script and handing it to someone else. If the material is good enough, you can shoot your footage on a digital camera and edit. Establish yourself as a film maker and you just might get the interest you want from someone who admired your talent and innovation enough to make a movie with you.
Eraserhead was made in 1977 on a $20,000 budget by Director David Lynch who filmed the movie whenever money was available over a period of six years. David Lynch was a screenwriter. The movie earned $7 Million dollars domestically in the U.S. The Blair Witch Project (1999) was shot using amateur video footage, that was pieced together and edited in under a year on a $60,000 budget and earned over $249M.
Kids today are making movies and tv shows and putting them on Youtube. Look at “Fred Figglehorn” – an internet sensation who created a hilarious (albeit annoying) character for his Youtube videos. He now has a show on Nickelodeon (see Fred the Show) .
You don’t need $20,000 USD or Euros to make a movie. You just need an idea and a means to execute it. Show “Hollywood” what you can you do and people will invest in your dreams. I know this sounds like a pipe dream, but it’s true.
If you had a millions of dollars to spare, would you give it to a stranger with unproven talent? Probably not. If you want to make a movie, get your camcorder, your cell phone (whatever you use) and go make a movie. Easier said than done but it’s better than a permanent resting place on a burnt out hard drive or worse, the filing cabinet… that place where screenplays go to die.
– E. Hughes