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Old 06-24-2020, 11:37 PM   #1
Bono
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Default Picking Right Idea

We talk about a lot of things on here, loglines, outlines, treatments, acts, midpoints, etc...

But it all starts with the idea. If you pick the wrong idea the rest doesn't really matter honestly.

Keep this in mind as you plot your rise to the top of the screenwriting world.

-- A great idea is one you can explain in one sentence
-- A better idea is one you can explain with just the title
-- The best idea to pick is one that YOU can write better than anyone. This is key.

A great idea is one thing, but if you have a great idea for a thriller, but you write comedy -- it may not be the right idea for YOU. Or even if same genre -- you may have ten ideas -- think they are all worthy -- but you know deep down that 1 or 2 of them are the ones that you really want to write. The others just sound good on paper when you pitch them.

John August I recall saying if you are choosing which idea to pick -- go with the one with the best ending.

I always pitch my friends first and of course reps if you have them. But pitch anyone.

I think a good idea would be to take some top ideas and write out a 2-4 beat sheet/outline to make sure you do have enough story for 90 pages. Do you have an act 2 engine like "find a cure" "save grandma's house" "get my bike back."

Also to me the best ideas are the ones you can't get out of your head. Stay with you.

So before you go down too far the rabbit hole -- make sure you brought the right rabbit with you. And that you went down the right hole to start with.
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Old 06-25-2020, 06:29 AM   #2
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Default Re: Picking Right Idea

Quote:
A better idea is one you can explain with just the title
Most of my Top 10 favorite films do not meet this criteria. But I do get your point:-)

A couple more..
1. Know your market (audience).
2. Keep Production Costs in mind.

--fallen
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Old 06-25-2020, 08:12 AM   #3
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Default Re: Picking Right Idea

Im saying JAWS tells you the movie. Or more current SNAKES ON A PLANE.
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Old 06-25-2020, 09:16 AM   #4
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Default Re: Picking Right Idea

Good advice. Probably few things more frustrating than spending months on a feature and realizing the idea might not have been worth the time.
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Old 06-25-2020, 10:31 AM   #5
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Default Re: Picking Right Idea

I'm pretty sure I once read some screenwriting guru say "concept is king".

I've yet to find a shop that sells "turd polish".
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Old 06-25-2020, 10:34 AM   #6
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Default Re: Picking Right Idea

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Originally Posted by DDoc View Post
Good advice. Probably few things more frustrating than spending months on a feature and realizing the idea might not have been worth the time.
I'm saying -- I feel many writers -- skip this step. They have an idea -- it must be worthy. Make sure you run it by people.

On the logline forum -- I feel writers come to craft the logline AFTER they wrote the script which is fine -- but in private at least craft the logline and pitch friends before you write it. Get some feedback. At least when you are first starting out.

If you have been at this awhile -- and have good feedback on your work -- then chances are you are good at picking ideas you can execute well.
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Old 06-25-2020, 10:36 AM   #7
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Default Re: Picking Right Idea

Concept is king is well known expression -- but what I'm saying is that most writers think any idea they have is king when it may be a joker.

If you aren't good at seeing flaws in your own ideas -- that's why you get feedback. From friends, pros, readers, contests, the person in line at Starbucks.

It's critical to make sure you get feedback. And listen. If you're trying to write something to get others to like it -- it seems obvious that the first step would be to ask others -- yeah do you like this idea before you write one word?

Before they spend billions on making an Apple Watch first companies like to find out -- what does anyone want this thing? And still they mess it up... but you got to have your own focus groups for your ideas before you waste time writing a dud.
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Old 06-25-2020, 01:25 PM   #8
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Default Re: Picking Right Idea

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Apple Watch first companies like to find out -- what does anyone want this thing?
Funny that you quote this. In our tech world, there's a line that echos...

Microsoft designs their products based on what customer wants. Apple tells their customer what they must want.

--fallen

Last edited by fallenangel : 06-25-2020 at 01:26 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 06-25-2020, 03:04 PM   #9
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Default Re: Picking Right Idea

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Originally Posted by fallenangel View Post
Funny that you quote this. In our tech world, there's a line that echos...

Microsoft designs their products based on what customer wants. Apple tells their customer what they must want.

--fallen
Well tell that to the 10 people who bought a Zune. But I hear you. Steve Jobs did say that. Apple wast he worst choice I could have made. So I should have picked a widget.

How about this. Think of your spec idea as a kickstarter campaign -- can you raise 30K because people believe in your idea?
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Old 06-25-2020, 09:53 PM   #10
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Default Re: Picking Right Idea

Well said Bono.
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