Writing one-pagers is an excellent way of honing your storytelling and pitching skills. It forces you to articulate the main elements of a story idea clearly and enticingly. So compiling a stock of one-pagers is probably a good idea for any screenwriter. But what if you could monetize the one-pagers themselves too?
It’s not an academic question. Imagine being able to support your spec writing with a day job consisting of brainstorming, writing up and selling great ideas for movies. Sounds ideal to me. Which is why I’m looking into it so seriously. However, so far the only thing I’ve been able to confirm is William Goldman’s famous adage: No one knows anything.
Various places and people on the web offer facilities for selling pitches. People like Robert Kosberg, sites such as buymymovieidea and tvfilmrights all claim to be in the business of buying synopses rather than completed screenplays.
Equally, there are plenty of people out there, such as Christopher Lockhart who vociferously advise against trying to sell ideas rather than screenplays to Hollywood. Not just because you can’t copyright an idea, but also because the chances of anyone buying an idea rather than a script are infinitesimally small.
So who’s right? Does Hollywood buy ideas or not?
I haven’t found out yet, but I’m continuing my investigations. I’m also continuing to write the one-pagers, working on the assumption that it can’t do any harm to build up a portfolio… As Jared Kelly, commented in the twelvepoint thread:
Completed GOOD screenplays take so long there's an excuse for not having many of those to hand (but never an excuse for not increasing the numbers) but all writers have too many ideas and not enough time to write them, so develop those ideas into pitches during down time and have them ready to dazzle the world. You never know...
Indeed. I’ll keep you posted on this story as it unfolds…