If you are a writer or filmmaker, chances are you have dreamed of working in Hollywood. You’ve probably fantasized about having a major studio make that call to you stating they wanted to produce your next picture.
Now for most artists, this will be just a dream. But for a select few, it will become a reality. When I first started out, I never dreamed that I would be producing TV commercials and feature films. I was able to accomplish this by understanding the rules of the game—then breaking them. However, the key to making it your reality will come down to what I believe are two critical factors. The first is how exciting your project is. The other is your ability to cut through the Hollywood red tape to get your project in front of the right people.
If your script or treatment is good enough, it will take you to the next level. And it is important that you work as hard as possible to create your best work. I always first pitch my project to family and friends to see their reaction. If their eyes widen and their mouths open, I know I have a winner. If they are quiet and start asking questions, then I know I have more work to do. The worst thing that can happen is for you to get a meeting with a Hollywood powerbroker only to have then point out holes in your script or concept. So be sure to refine your script. Keep rewriting and polishing it until it’s perfect or almost perfect.
Next comes the challenging part—getting a meeting with someone who can green-light your project into production. This is where you will have to think creatively. Unfortunately, the traditional route may not be the best route. Too many people are headed in that direction, and you will be a small fish in a big pond. This is where I recommend that you start creating a list of Hollywood top executives and producers. Platforms like IMDBPro can be of great assistance in this area. IMDBPro will give you all the information on Hollywood’s top producers along with their contact information.
Now traditionally, most executives and producers will not read your script or hear your pitch unless you have an agent. So right there, you may hit a roadblock. But there are other platforms like Stage32.com where, for a small fee, you can set up an appointment to pitch your project to a talent agent, manager, producer, or executive. In fact, it puts you in direct contact with the powerbrokers. I recommend that each week you set up at least two appointments with top executives to hear your pitch. The more you pitch, the better you get. And the feedback from the pitch sessions can help you refine your script.
On a final note, going back to IMDBPro.com, don’t be afraid to call the producers directly. Tell them that you are new to the industry and would be interested in pitching your project to them. This type of out-of-the-box thinking may just get you a meeting. Plus, the fact that you are new gives you a certain amount of room to make mistakes. Most producers or their assistants/interns will be happy to school you on their process. But don’t assume that their process is written in stone.
Okay, here comes the most important secret of all: no matter what happens, don’t take no for an answer. I mean act within reason. Try to push your way in. Show them your passion for your project. Let them hear it in your voice. If done correctly, your energy could open doors for you!
Ronald K. Armstrong is a veteran writer and filmmaker who helps aspiring artists get deals for their projects. For more tips on breaking into the film industry, visit his site at.