So, you've got a great idea? Do you dream of it being on the big screen? Well stop dreaming and make it happen. If you've got a great idea run with it. Ideas and scripts are sold everyday to major studios, independent companies and ambitious filmmakers. Sometimes these have six figure pay days attached to them, other times it's just a credit but either way it's you idea up there on the screen. Sounds like fun, huh? So where do you begin?
Let's start with the basics, a film is shot based upon a script, also known as a screenplay. The screenplay is an organized telling of the story written in both storytelling and film terms to express what should be seen and heard on screen. While films and television shows are structured defiantly the underlying format is essentially the same. If you choose to set out on this adventure alone you may want to purchase screenwriting software such as Final Draft or Movie Magic to assist you. It will make the logistics of proper formatting much simpler so you can spend more time on the story itself.
Alright, so you have an idea. One of the first things you'll need to decide is if you want to write this yourself, have someone else write it for you or simply try to go "pitch" and sell the idea. While the last option may sound the best it is also the most difficult if you have no contacts to do so. Pitching, involves gong into an executive's office and giving a quick "sales pitch" of you movie idea. You'll have two or so minutes to really grab their attention and get them to wrap their heads around your concept. This is an art in itself. There are plenty of terrific writers who fall apart in pitch meetings.
The opposite is also common, great sales men who don't know the first things about how to develop a character and escalate conflict. If you have the contact necessary to just make a call and set a meeting with an executive you choose good for you. If you don't you should just stick to the old fashioned way and prove your worth because in the long run you'll probably garner a lot more respect that way anyhow.
So, do you write it yourself or hire someone else? There are positive and negative aspects to both. It depends on your writing skills, time and money. If you are that great of a writer or know nothing about writing it would be best to hire someone else if you can afford to. If you're low on cash you might try finding a student studying screenwriting who would be willing to write for low pay or a share of profits. If you want to try your hand at it and see what happens but know nothing about the format and structure of screenwriting get ready to start reading.
There are numerous books on screenwriting that you can read as well as seminars you can attend if you're not the book type. The best seminar I can recommend is given by a screenwriter named Blake Snyder. He knows what he's talking about. But what's more is the way he breaks things down, he makes it simpler to figure out how to best tell your story. Not mention he's a really nice guy. Go to blakesnyder.com for more information about his weekend workshops and seminars. You can also read his book Save The Cat. The sequel, Save The Cat Goes To The Movies will be out soon.
So that's just a starting ground for your ventures, if you have an idea run with it. You never know what will happen and even if nothing ever does the adventure alone is worth it all.