I just posted this to reddit/screenwriting (i.e. a hive of scum and villainy) where we’ll see if it is discussed or downvoted:
I wish I had realized this 20 years ago:
1) FAME. The thing is famous. Call this I.P. Or, sometimes, the person who wants to make it is famous—the mogul or star. Obama wants to make it? Yes sir!
2) MONEY. Somebody who controls money (studio boss, wealthy person) wants to make it, either for business or personal reasons. Whether or not it’s good, enough people say, “Sure, I’d like to be paid.”
3) RELATIONSHIPS. Material passed around because people know each other and want to help their friends, either sincerely or transactionally.
Only then do we get to...
4) MATERIAL. It’s based on such a good idea that people smell the possibility of it becoming #1 (famous). This is called high-concept and the most common (and possibly only) way a spec gets sold or made. And pretty much the only thing that lit managers look for.
Also, notably, the idea is more important than the execution. There are so many “made” writers who can fix bad execution—but the idea is the idea.
Finally, please note that even if #4 exists—the great idea—it needs #3, relationships, to bring it to #2, money, in order to try to make it into #1.