Ever wondered how movies actually end up getting made in Hollywood? This is actually something that I used to ask myself a lot. Anyone who’s interested in movies has probably asked themselves how films get greenlit in Hollywood and eventually hit the big screen. It’s a mini-miracle that films get made in the first place.
One of the main and most important parts of getting a movie made in Hollywood these days is money. Money is key. Lottoland, for instance, looks at how much it costs to make a movie. Let me tell you right now, it takes a lot of money to make a movie.
What is Lottoland, you ask? Well, it’s where you can bet on the outcome of the biggest and best lotto draws the world has to offer. They’ve also got EuroMillions and EuroJackpot. From the States, there are the supersized MegaMillions and PowerBall draws. They’ve also got Irish Lotto, Polish Lotto, four lotteries from Australia and many more big draws from Europe and beyond.
There are some studios that manage to make movies on a very tight budget. One of those studios is Blumhouse Productions. They’ve been able to make movies with very minimal budget and they’ve also made a pretty big profit out of these films. They tend to specialise in horror, and that’s a really good place to start making movies.
The horror genre is a great one to work in because it doesn’t need tons of money behind it. There have been so many great horror movies made of a shoestring budget, so money isn’t always the be-all and end-all. But, then again, money does talk. However, after the Coronavirus pandemic, studios might be looking at how they can replicate Blumhouse’s success.
How can you get a movie made in Hollywood these days?
I can start listing films that were made by first-time directors and made for very little money. Many of them tend to be in the horror genre. Robert Eggers’ The Witch, Jordan Peele’s Get Out, Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. They were all made by first-time directors and didn’t cost all that much to make.
Another movie franchise which proves that you don’t always need a lot of money to be successful in Hollywood is the Paranormal Activity films. They were made for next to nothing as far as movie budgets are concerned and ended up making an awful lot of money.
So, all that to say that funding is important in Hollywood. It’s vital really. However, it is possible to make a successful movie today without requiring a budget of $200 million-plus. Just look at Blumhouse’s track-record and that becomes obvious. Another film I have to mention in this category is The Blair Witch Project, which was made for peanuts and ended up raking in the cash at the box office.
You need a good ‘elevator pitch’
Right, the next thing you need to do to make a successful Hollywood movie is made sure you have an excellent ‘elevator pitch’. If you want to succeed in this business, you have to be very good at pitching. You’re going to be talking to very busy people in the industry, and you’ll want to hook them into your movie from the very beginning.
Therefore, you can’t waste any time. You’ll have to practise your ‘elevator pitch’ and make sure that the people you’re pitching to will be listening to your every word from the very beginning. This means that your idea has to be airtight. You can’t start meandering when pitching your idea for a movie.
That means that you also have to have the script ready to go. It needs to be written really before you pitch the movie. That’s actually very important as far as I’m concerned. I have heard stories of wannabe filmmakers coming up with ideas on the spot and getting their films greenlit, but that’s very rare.
You’ll want to be as prepared as possible. Also, the best way to get a film made in Hollywood is if you’ve written the script yourself. Most first-time directors working today also wrote their films’ scripts themselves. That means that even if you don’t get to direct your movie, you might be able to sell the script to a studio and then start a pretty interesting career as a scriptwriter.
Hollywood films nowadays are often based on previous IP
The other way you can get a film made in Hollywood is if you look into developing an existing IP (intellectual property). Rather than trying to come up with your own idea, there could be a way into getting a Hollywood film greenlit by developing a movie based around an existing IP. Most of the films made in Hollywood are either based on already well-known IP or are remakes or sequels.
Personally, I do not like the trend, yet it’s there, so I thought I have to mention it. If you were to look at most of the movies that get made nowadays, they are almost all tied to previous properties, IPs or part of a larger franchise. Movie studios tend to be very cautious about agreeing to make original movies – films that are not based on any previous IP. It’s a sad fact about the movie industry.
Make a sizzle reel. They can help showcase your talents
Finally, a sizzle reel really helps. We’re not talking about a full-fledged short film (although that is very beneficial), but a sizzle reel. It can consist of footage from previous films or shows, animatics or storyboards. Good music underneath. Essentially, a visual aid to help your pitch and get your vision across.
What do you make of this feature? Have you ever been interested in making a movie of your own? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
What do you make of this story? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages! And if you enjoy listening to film podcasts, why not check out our podcasts, Small Screen Stories and Small Screen Film Club wherever you get your podcasts!