Hollywood moviemakers routinely encounter huge challenges in explaining the movies they want to make. Often, getting a studio interested in and excited about a movie is the first, important step, and it's up to a small team to pitch the movie to them. Studios, however, listen to a seemingly endless stream of pitches, and it takes the right pitch, the right connections, and a bit of luck to get a movie idea produced.
So what's a budding director or screenwriter to do? What approach should one take if given the chance to present a movie idea? How can the team make the movie sound enticing to the studio? Although I don't claim any experience with Hollywood or pitching movies, explanation seems to be essential to a successful pitch. There is an often-told story about an approach to pitching movies that led to a true blockbuster, and it illustrates one of the most important elements of explanation: making connections.
A 1970s filmmaking team was working on an idea that involved a menacing alien. Dan O'Bannon and Ron Shusett worked together on the story and, like most moviemakers, needed a way to pitch it to studios. They pitched the movie using three simple words: “Jaws in Space.”
The movie Jaws, directed by Steven Spielberg, hit the theaters in 1975 and was a huge hit. Millions saw the movie, and even those who did not knew the story. O'Bannon and Shusett, by invoking ...