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Old 06-26-2020, 05:19 PM   #11
Bono
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Default Re: Picking Right Idea

It's not a coincidence that great writers tend to also have great ideas.. hmm.... I'm sure a great writer can take a good idea and make it work -- but just saying -- the two go hand and hand...
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Old 06-26-2020, 06:18 PM   #12
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Default Re: Picking Right Idea

Bono, such good advice. My hesitation in asking the person in line in front of me (or other non-writers) is that everyone seems to think they could be a screenwriter, just as everyone thinks they are a doctor or lawyer. I am not sure how to differentiate the hack from the person to whom I should listen.
Perhaps my faltering is only masked frustation at the persons who ask me what I do. "I write," I respond.

"Yeah," they say, "but what do you do?"
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Old 06-26-2020, 06:45 PM   #13
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Default Re: Picking Right Idea

Well if non writers are not wearing a mask in line at a coffee shop -- don't ask them for advice. And no I have not randomly pitched someone like that.

You know I meant friends, co-workers, your mom, my mom, your sister's friend, real writers too are my main source, random people on twitter, random people on forums...

And Yes I've been pitched to write together by over 10 people when I tell them what I do. So I always ask -- so when can I come in and do your job? Tomorrow at 8am good for court?
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Old 06-27-2020, 01:10 PM   #14
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Default Re: Picking Right Idea

“Would I pay to watch this in a theater?” is the question I always start with. That doesn’t mean it’s not a fit for a streamer, but let’s think about whether or not the idea will get people excited. Now I think people are less than honest with themselves when answering this question about their own ideas...yes, write what you’re passionate about. But also write something that’s fvcking cool.

I look at my list of ideas from just a few years ago and they are not great. These days it takes a longtime to land on an idea for me. But waiting is worth it, IMO. Because once you figure out something is, actually, a movie...the writing generally comes a lot more easily, in my experience.
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Old 06-27-2020, 01:35 PM   #15
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Default Re: Picking Right Idea

Well said. Although "would I see it in a theater" doesn't work as well these days for many reasons -- but the sentiment is the same. "would I pay to see this before I can stream it" may be more appropriate. Or would "I hit play if this was on Netflix" is a good question too...

But you got it. If finishing a spec is 100% -- the idea isn't 1% of the process -- it may be closer to 50% of it.

You can do all the other steps right, but if you're going down the wrong road you won't get to where you want to go.

Being able to judge your own idea and poke holes is one skill -- being able to at least take people's reaction when you tell them ideas is another good skill. Reading the logline forum over the years -- many writers have trouble with this. If 3 or more people are confused by your idea or genre or just well the whole thing -- the answer is usually the idea is off and not the opinions of the people commenting on it.

Now of course I've just written things and had success. Maybe I'm good at picking ideas. I think I am. But maybe what I'm really good at is picking the right idea to write.

I have literally 1000 ideas in a document over the years. At least 20 ideas are in my mind right now as I work on current idea. All the time I think of new ideas.

And of course i have written BAD IDEAS. But I learned as I went, but of course for newbies I suggest write whatever gets you to finish. I'm talking more about getting to the next level trying to sell stage..

Now for a bit -- I went the wrong way and never got off the "think of perfect idea" stage -- which is just as bad as picking the wrong idea. You have to find the right balance.

RUN THE RIGHT WAY

There are people that think "I'll exercise tomorrow" and never go... (never choose idea)

There are people that just wake up and go for a run w/o a thought in the world half way through learning they wore the wrong shoes and didn't' charge their iphone. (pick wrong idea)

Then there are people that wake up and make sure they have the right shoes on before they go for the run and download the podcast they want to listen to before they leave the house. (just right, like the goldielocks)

Be the latter. Write the script. Just don't gloss over the idea stage.

Last edited by Bono : 06-27-2020 at 01:49 PM.
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Old 06-27-2020, 03:03 PM   #16
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Default Re: Picking Right Idea

Personally, I only develop concepts I would pay to watch. Then again my taste in films is really eclectic and what I enjoy ranges from blockbuster action to small, arty drama. So I'm not sure if that's a good gauge for me.

As for feedback, I prefer other writers' opinions and I'll also run ideas by my brother, my guy and my soon to be 18-yr. old kid. Thing is -- all of them enjoy writing their own stuff and all are interested in films.

Also -- my brother is in post production (primarily TV editor and commercials) and my guy is a sculptor/artist who has worked on storyboards -- feedback from them really helps with visual ideas for set pieces, etc.

I just asked my kid to read my near-finished novella because the protag/antag are teens her age and I want to see what she thinks works or what may be missing.

And, since there are so many original Amazon/Netflix shows/movies targeting the 16-18 yo market, I'm thinking of adapting the novella for the screen even though it's likely not commercial enough for a theater release. (Maybe I'll post the logline here)

BTW: She read my future-set script and made a brilliant suggestion that no one else thought of. Now I'm rethinking Act 2 entirely.

Overall, some suggestions above for picking the right idea are solid yet there's no way to accurately calculate which idea will blow away buyers and make them think: Gotta have it.

I think the only thing the majority of people can agree on is bad ideas.
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Old 06-27-2020, 04:15 PM   #17
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Default Re: Picking Right Idea

Quote:
Originally Posted by sc111 View Post

I think the only thing the majority of people can agree on is bad ideas.

I wish that were true...
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Old 06-27-2020, 05:08 PM   #18
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“yet there's no way to accurately calculate which idea will blow away buyers and make them think: Gotta have it.”

I bet I could guess which ideas by non-established writers WON’T sell.
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Old 07-03-2020, 10:05 PM   #19
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Default Re: Picking Right Idea

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_c...ure=emb_ logo

Watching Lin Manuel basically take an idea (he was still developing) that I think we all heard the first time and said WTF? and then to make it what it is -- I don't think there is a better example of proving people wrong with an idea that sounds stupid to most -- until the artist brings it to life.

You can literally hear the audience laugh at him when he first speaks and almost instantly by his performance, they know this is something special.

So sometimes, you got to just go for it. And prove them all wrong.
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Old 07-09-2020, 04:19 PM   #20
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Default Re: Picking Right Idea

I'll throw in my two cents:

Picking the right idea is hard. Sometimes you hear "write what you love." Other times, your manager will tell you to write something more commercial, in a certain budget range. Just because you write something that costs 500,000 to make, that doesn't mean it's easier to make that movie. Sometimes movies that cost 10 or 30 million to make might be easier, because you might be able to get bigger studios/prod companies involved and attract more talent.

What's more, reps don't want their clients writing movies with a 500,000 budget unless they're going to be a producer/director as well. You can imagine the measly commission if not.

What Bono described in his opening post is just what's known simply as high concept. Explain it in a few words, a phrase, a sentence. Not all the best movies do this, but it helps with marketing. Some people would be shocked at the marketing budgets of some studio films.

Simply, I would say write something that you feel is unique, relevant and or timeless, and a masterclass in the genre(s) you're exploring. 80% of netflix films are pure garbage, and they start with an awful script. Those films are getting produced.

The opportunities are there. And the doors will open if you've executed great, commercial ideas.
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