Do you have a question that you’d like to have answered by a longtime Hollywood literary agent? Send it in!

Question #1: (from Kevin Banker)
Say I have question. When coming up with a concept for a movie, is there a standard as to how it should look on paper? I have a couple floating around the OL’ gray matter and not sure how to put the ideas correctly on paper.

Question #2: (from Trevor Mayes)
Obviously fleshing out concepts is secondary to having multiple completed scripts, but I’ve heard that having additional movie ideas outlined also helps “sell” a writer. Is that true? And if so, is there a specific format to go for?

Answers: (Michele Wallerstein)
Producers, development executives and agents will often want to read other movie ideas by writers after having read a completed screenplay.  Sometimes the finished script is not what they want but they’ve sparked to the writing style.  It is imperative that writers have short treatments of their pitch ideas as “leave behind” pages or to send out to those people.

There are any number of styles one can use for these treatments.  The best ones are between 1 and 3 pages in length.  They tell the story of the film and define the major characters by showing who they are and what they do in the story.  It is important to tell precisely what the plot will be, including the ending.

I find it helpful if the writer begins their treatment by stating that the film is a “romantic-comedy, set in the year ______, in Boston.”  This information gives the reader a point of reference so that their mind doesn’t wander while trying to figure out what they are reading.

By the way, even treatments should have a cover page with the title, the name of the writer and how the writer can be contacted.

Michele Wallerstein is a Screenplay & Novel & Career Consultant and author of “MIND YOUR BUSINESS: A Hollywood Literary Agent’s Guide To Your Writing Career“.

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