- Exposure—if vast numbers of people know your property, that’s equity you can trade upon. Lots of people knew of The Chronicles of Narnia novel series, which made it easier to get the The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe and subsequent films made.
- Heat—if your property is the all the rage with a bullet, that’s a sexy selling point. Heat, or the trumped-up illusion of heat, drives deals. Twilight was hot, so The Twilight Saga films got made. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles had limited success in a smallish market, but licensing agent Mark Freedman hyperbolized its mild warmth into a “grassroots comics phenomenon” and sold Playmates on licensing the property for toys and producing five animated half-hours. TMNT took off from there. (I know a good bit about that situation and I’ll tell the tale one day.) Not all properties that have exposure are hot—Narnia wasn’t—and not all properties that have heat (or the illusion of same) have tremendous exposure—TMNT sure didn’t.
- An A-list talent attached to a property—if Travolta just happens to love your property and is committed to your potential project, it gets done. Which explains Battlefield Earth. A-list stars are considered “bankable,” meaning that with their involvement, studio financing is virtually a lock. Some director/producers are A-list, too. Anything Spielberg wants to do gets done. Same with Lucas, Cameron and a few others.
- Money—if you invest a substantial sum of your own, sometimes, rarely, it will help get a show produced. I’m not talking about development money. Investing development money is pretty standard. I’m talking about committing dollars to production.