Okay, so you have a story you want to tell. Maybe it’s your own great idea, maybe it’s a script or a book that someone else has written. What now? Development is the process of shaping and preparing the story for the screen, and bringing in those people who can help the project get financed. Start with a Script.
Write it yourself (make sure to register it with the WGA for protection) Find a good script and option it (see IP film terms for definition of option) Or maybe you just have an idea and you need someone else to write it, in which case you can find someone to do it for hire or for "points" later on - in other words, they can write the script for free now in hopes that if the movie gets greenlit, the screenwriter will be fairly compensated.
Attach Key Players including the Director, the Producer, and the Talent.
PRODUCER: The producer should be someone who will back up your film, who has a lot of contacts, and who can take it and pitch it around to the studios to find funding (some types of producers even have the money themselves to finance production). Many producers accept query letters through email. Send a short logline and synopsis about your screenplay to the production company, and they will contact you if they are interested in your query. Other times you might have to “pitch” your script Most established writers often set up meetings with studio executives or producers to pitch their new idea for a film. If the studio or producer likes hi or her pitch it is understood, under a "good faith" agreement, that the writer will be hired to turn his or her idea into a screenplay. Most established writers have agents that serve to negotiate the deal and to protect their client from being "ripped off" as a result of a pitch meeting. As a general rule, most beginning writers do not have an agent, they are trying to sign with one. In order to get the attention of an agent writers must have a sample to show them in the form of a speculative script. A "spec" script is an original screenplay written in the hopes of being able to sell it or garner an agent. Note: If you are hired to write a project based on a pitch, you are considered "work for hire." This means that the script you produce is not owned by you but by your employer.
DIRECTOR: The Director should be someone creative who has a clear vision of how the finished film should look and feel. Some directors also have good relationships with specific talent, so having one on board could help you get the other.
TALENT: The best talent to hire are those actors who will bring the story to life while at the same time bring in big numbers at the box office. The bigger the names attached, the easier it will be to get initial interest and funding the movie. Talent is best approached through their agents and managers, not by knocking at their doors or by flagging them down on the streets.