How to Sell Your Story to Movie Producers

By Rianne Hill Soriano ; Updated September 15, 2017
Selling your story to producers is often challenging work.

A movie usually begins with a pitch, or "logline," a short description of the story that puts value into the movie idea as a saleable project. When selling your own story to a movie producer, you should first be able to clearly convey your basic story idea before going to the details. Generally, movie producers are after the commercial or artistic potential of any pitch. Readily marketable ideas are usually "high concept" ones: they contain interesting stories that can be easily described in a few sentences without sounding too complicated. If the pitch grabs their attention, they will ask for more details.

List the significant and interesting parts of your own life story. This can start as a bullet-style list of brainstormed details of your thoughts, feelings, memories and milestones in life. Organize these ideas according to how they chronologically happened in your life or according to feelings or certain literal or figurative connections. Depending on how you work in your creative process, you may organize this list in other ways.

Pick the most dramatic parts of your list to make into a movie. Take into consideration that your story idea must be condensed into a quick, interesting movie pitch for a producer.

Develop your story pitch, which can be a one-liner or a short paragraph, along with your storyline, which is ideally a one-page summary of what happens from the start to the end of the movie. While it is acceptable to have the script ready, given that film is a “show me” medium, it is still possible to sell the rights to your story based on the pitch and summary alone. The script can follow later. If you are not an experienced screenwriter, the producer might hire someone else to write the script.

Investigate film-related clubs and organizations to get the contacts of potential movie producers you want to sell your movie story to. Check film festival and film school websites, film e-groups and social networking sites; they may have some announcements about pitching sessions or literary agent panels at conferences.

Make appointments for your movie pitch. Note that setting an appointment may require getting an agent if you are targeting big movie producers, but you can still find lesser-known independent producers and new producers who may be looking for ideas.

Print out your pitching materials, including your logline, summary and contact information.

Practice your movie pitch so you can convincingly sell your movie idea before going to the pitching session.

Tip

It may also help if you write an autobiography of your life story as a book, which you can show as supporting material during your pitch.

About the Author

Rianne Hill Soriano is a freelance artist/writer/educator. Her diverse work experiences include projects in the Philippines, Korea and United States. For more than six years she has written about films, travel, food, fashion, culture and other topics on websites including Yahoo!, Yehey! and Herword. She also co-wrote a book about Asian cinema.