In this time of isolation and limited social contact, some writers may find themselves with ample time, either to consider new projects or to take a new look at some old concepts.
At one time or another, anyone who has ever considered writing has had an idea that they looked at, thought about, turned over in their mind, and declared:
"That idea is too stupid!"
"I could never write about something so ridiculous!"
"No one would ever buy into it!"
This premise flips the concept behind the first post in this blog on its head.
So many rookie writers believe that the idea is what sells the story. While a "high concept" is a valuable part of any screenplay, it's not what makes or breaks the script.
As we've seen so many times in this blog, the most vital component of any script is characterization.
Strong characters can sell an audience on the silliest concepts.
Here are two loglines that would have gotten any writer laughed out of a producer's office a decade ago:
Logline #1: A band of space criminals, including a three-foot-tall talking raccoon with a gun fetish and an eight-foot-tall walking tree that repeats the same three words over and over, must stop a patriotic zealot from gaining control of a shiny purple rock.
Logline #2: A hip-hop Broadway musical explores the life of the first U.S. Secretary of the Treasury.
Strong characters can help writers put a new spin on an old story.
Here are two possible loglines for two highly different stories:
Logline #1: A teenage boy on a desert planet discovers that he has mental superpowers, joins a ragtag band of rebels, and overthrows an evil empire.
Logline #2: A teenage boy on a desert planet discovers that he has mental superpowers, joins a ragtag band of rebels, and overthrows an evil empire.
No idea is so brilliant that it doesn't need strong characters.
No idea is so dumb that it can't work with strong characters.
If you're stuck on what to do with your writing efforts, consider these two options:
Option #1: Take the dumbest idea you've ever had. Make it work by creating a set of characters (protagonist, antagonist, supporting characters) using the VOTE Method and start from there.
Option #2: Take the premise of the dumbest movie you've ever seen. Make it work with completely different characters by creating a set of characters (protagonist, antagonist, supporting characters) using the VOTE Method and start from there.
For myself, I'm taking Option #1 and creating a series of shorts based on a bunch of old action figures I found at a local toy store.
I even created a "pitch deck", as if I was going to pitch it to producers instead of using it as a way to learn how to shoot and edit video for myself.
If you're still stuck, or if you want help developing your ideas, contact Story Into Screenplay.
Story Into Screenplay offers script coverage reports, one-on-one consultation, and rewriting services.
No matter what stage of the writing process you're in, no matter your experience level as a writer, Story Into Screenplay can help.
If you have a script and want a professional review from an experienced coverage writer, Story Into Screenplay's "10 Pages for $10" offer is still available for a limited time.
For more information, you can email storyintoscreenplayblog(at)gmail(dot)com, or send a direct message through the Story Into Screenplay Facebook page.