HIGH CONCEPT: How to Create, Pitch, Sell to Hollywood
By Jim Cirile
Kaire has been around forever and is well-known in town as “the high-concept guy” – he’s a regular at pitch fests and screenwriting events, hoping he’ll strike gold and find material he can then go sell (Kaire has indeed sold eight pitches to the studios -- without representation.) I remember meeting him at a pitch fest years ago and fired some ideas at him. I was a working writer with heat, and I thought sure he’d grab onto my ideas. Instead, he found flaws with each of them -- and he was right. I left reeling, but with a ton of respect for the guy. Simply put, Kaire has divined the secret of what Hollywood is looking for. And now he’s sharing this knowledge with us all.
The first thing you need to know is that this is an audio CD. While this might seem quaint in the age of BluRay and podcasts, it’s actually wonderful. I did not have to carve an hour out of my day to sit down and watch this thing. Instead, I listened to it in my car. Three freaking times. Even after 20 years in this business, I still learned a lot from Kaire, and his precepts really helped crystallize my thinking as to what projects I should be focusing on. Gojira-size thumbs-up for the audio CD format, and thank you, Mr. Kaire.
So what exactly does Kaire have to say? 63 minutes of advice, anecdotes and sage how-to. Kaire exhaustively details what “high concept” is and what it isn’t and why it’s so important (in a nutshell, it’s an idea that is rife with potential that you can visualize just from the title – for example, “Beverly Hills Chihuahua.”) He runs down movies with great concepts as well as terrible ones (“I Heart Huckabees.”) Yes, movies with weak concepts do get made, but they are generally executive or auteur-driven. For a baby writer trying to break in, your best bet is to find that great high concept idea.
Kaire’s delivery is gentle and evenly paced, and his Brooklyn accent is sometimes amusing (and hey, I’m from New York.) I’m guessing he deliberately kept the fast-talking to a minimum so as to make sure that the material is readily digestible, and it works. So listen up and listen well. If you’re looking for that lightning bolt to kick-start your creative juices, Kaire’s “High Concept” may be just the ticket. Check it out right HERE.