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How to Write a Screenplay Proposal


In a perfect world, a brilliant idea would be all you would need to start making a brilliant movie. In the real world, however, you also need other people who believe in your brilliant idea to fund your project. To win their attention and investment, submit a proposal for your screenplay that explains the point of your film, its basic plot, its intended audience and your stylistic vision. Along with these artistic considerations, give your potential sponsors practical information about how you intend to complete the project.

Begin by stating your project's working title and basic information. This information should include the project's length, type, material and target audience. For example, a film about an American surgeon who meets and learns from an Aboriginal Australian medicine man might have the working title "Walkabout" and the basic information "This is a 100-minute drama for adults about an American surgeon who learns the value of intuition while traveling through the Outback with an Aboriginal tribe."

Explain the reason why you want to make this film. Some examples include exploring the audience's familiarity of its own culture of medicine through the lens of an unfamiliar one, making a point about the strength of humanity's intuitive wisdom over clinical knowledge, or giving the audience the experience of exploring life in the Outback through this story. This explanation should be a paragraph long.

Describe the stylistic techniques you intend to use. Give your readers an idea of the sensory experience of watching your film. Explain how you plan to use humor, color, surrealism, pace, dialogue and music.

Tell your potential sponsors how you plan to structure your production. List the equipment and permits you expect to need, as well as when, where and how long you plan to shoot, and how big a team you need.

Tell your readers about the team you have assembled so far. Write brief bios for yourself, your director, your director of photography, your editor, your composer or anyone else who has already signed onto the project in a major capacity. Show your readers that you have the right team for this project.

Explain what sort of distribution you plan to find for your film when it is finished. Tell your readers whether you plan to submit it to film festivals, contract it to an independent distributor, show it privately or shop it to major studios.

Detail your funding strategy. Tell your readers how much money you expect to need and what equipment you must find, then tell them whom you intend to approach for help and what other fundraising channels you plan to use.

About the Author

Stephanie Mitchell is a professional writer who has authored websites and articles for real estate agents, self-help coaches and casting directors. Mitchell also regularly edits websites, business correspondence, resumes and full-length manuscripts. She graduated from Syracuse University in 2007 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in musical theater.

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