You’ve written a great screenplay or directed one you’re proud of and want to show the world. Your agent or manager sends it out to development executives who review it and formulate an opinion. After that, they do their job. But what is the job of a development executive?
What do they do every day and how does their job affect Hollywood on the whole?
Today, we’ll go over the general tasks of development execs and talk about how you can get the job they have, what they do, and where the industry is going.
What is a Development Executive?
This is a high-level position generally above a creative executive within a studio or production company. They read scripts, take meetings, give notes and work on finding the intellectual property or source material that can be turned into film or television.
What does a Development Executive Do?
Love the stuff you see in movies and TV? It’s there mainly because executives got together and decided it should be on the air. But don’t give them too much credit, because they don’t always pick winners. Let’s dig into specific responsibilities and tell you how they get the job done.
Scouting for ideas/talent
This part of the job changes with the times, but execs normally watch as many movies and TV as humanly possible. You want to keep an eye on the people you want to work with. That means creating writer and director lists sorted by genre, and talent lists as well. They should also be attending festivals, watching shorts, and even scrolling online for people they can share with agents and managers. If you scout talent while they’re young, you can work with them when they’re hot.
What do you do with this talent?
Well, you sit across from them and hear what they want to do and see if it aligns with your company’s mission. You take “generals” to also meet talent who might fit the scripts your company already has on file. The goal is trying to look for talent to attach to the project. That means getting face time with people and seeing who you think would be great to have on set.
These meetings are where you make other connections too. When a writer or director opens their own production company, they usually try to work with talented execs they’ve loved working with around town. And everyone is always looking to move up in Hollywood.
They’re called “development” executives for a reason. They should be looking for articles and books to set up internally. And sending ideas and loglines to writers and directors to see if they spark their fancy.
Plus, they should be reading and riffing on writers’ and directors’ ideas to help them get them going. That way they can have multiple projects going at once. See, the truth of the job is that 99% of what you work on probably will never come to fruition. So you need to work on a ton to try to see it through.
What’s next? Learn how to get a job in Hollywood!
Landing a job in the entertainment industry can be hard to find. So we made a list of the places you can apply for them!