Your Idea Is Worthless

An idea is worth precisely nothing.  Nothing!  Why don’t beginning writers understand this?  It’s a giant mystery wrapped in an enigma stuffed inside a very dark Churchill cigar.  I go to writing conferences ad infinitum and people always want to know where to go to sell their idea.

 The answer: no damn place!

 Nobody wants to buy your fabulous idea!  Nobody!  Nobody!  Nobody!  You will never, ever sell an idea!  Not one time, not once, on this, or any other, astral plane.  So stop trying and stop asking questions about it, f’rchrissakes!

 And why is this, you might ask… still holding out hope that if you could somehow get your precious idea to Mr. Spielberg, he’ll see how stellar it is, buy it and all your troubles will end… Nope.  Not happening.  From nobodies, they buy screenplays, not ideas.  Famous people can sell ideas.  Are you famous?  Didn’t think so.  People with screenwriting track records can sell ideas.  How many of your scripts have been produced?  Thought as much.  More to the point: how many scripts have you finished?  Am I getting through to you, Mr. Biel?  Hope so.  If you still think you can sell an idea, your troubles won’t end and your daughter will take up with that married car salesman down the block.  And, because you don’t listen, she will get what she deserves.

 An idea well executed, in the form of a screenplay… that is something you can sell, bud.  But not an idea and not a treatment.  You can’t sell one of those, either.  There is no such place as “We Buy Treatments Warehouse.”  Show me that picture and I’ll eat my hat. 

 Some people can sell an idea.  Just not you.

 Someone who has sold screenplays for lots of money can sell an idea, if they have a famous actor attached.  Have you sold screenplays for lots of money?  Have you got a famous actor attached?

 If the answer to either question is “No,” then shut up already and write your script.

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