I don't understand "High Concept"

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  • #46
    Re: I don't understand "High Concept"

    Originally posted by Deus Ex Machine
    This may be YOUR definition of high concept but it is most definitely NOT what agents, managers, producers and studio execs think of when they use the term "high concept".

    If you are striving to crack the concept driven spec market you would be better off not thinking of "high concept" as well developed characters turning a story into "high concept" and start thinking the way the people in HW think: High Concepts are simple to tell, provocative to hear, and based on the concept alone people will want to see the movie. You come up with a concept like that and people will climb over each other to read your script.

    Yeah, that. Methinks we speak the same language from the same planet, but come from different orbits of trajectory.

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    • #47
      Re: I don't understand "High Concept"

      Originally posted by Prosaics
      We have to write somthing original and good and marketable.
      Well, granted. So far, I can hit any two out of three. =]

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      • #48
        Re: I don't understand "High Concept"

        Originally posted by Deus Ex Machine
        This may be YOUR definition of high concept but it is most definitely NOT what agents, managers, producers and studio execs think of when they use the term "high concept".

        If you are striving to crack the concept driven spec market you would be better off not thinking of "high concept" as well developed characters turning a story into "high concept" and start thinking the way the people in HW think: High Concepts are simple to tell, provocative to hear, and based on the concept alone people will want to see the movie. You come up with a concept like that and people will climb over each other to read your script.

        I guess I'm trying to say- don't SUCCESSFUL high concept movies deliver more than just a thrill, carry a message that hits deeper into the soul than most? Say Twins vs. Lord of the Rings? Tremors vs. Alien? It seems in my observations that the successful high concepts are rooted deeply in the hero journey, with strong resounding universal relatable message(s), and the characters inner journey is closely married to the external journey.
        Is Lord of the Rings simple to tell? Yes, and no. Talk about layers upon layers, but sure you could sum it up in a sentence. Provocative? The risks are the ultimate- life or death, seems to be always a shoe-in. The concept, unusual and otherworldly, BUT with characters and delivery that is totally relatable.

        Guess I'm always on the look out for what makes it the most successful emotionally, and at the box office.

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        • #49
          Re: I don't understand "High Concept"

          I wouldn't consider Lord of the Rings to be high concept.

          It seems like you are trying to make box office success a criteria for "high concept" which is like putting the cart before the horse.

          You are also trying to make execution of the concept a component of high concept. Execution of a concept does not create the concept. Execution can not make a concept "high", it can only make it well executed.

          While universal themes, broad appeal and good execution are desirable, they are not unique to high concept stories nor do they make a concept "high".

          When discussing high concept it muddies the water to say it should include universal themes and identifiable characters on a compelling journey with solid execution because those things are found, or should be found, in every story.

          For the purpose of discussing high concept, it's less confusing if we limit ourselves to those aspects which are unique to high concepts and therefore help define what a high concept is and how it is set apart from other dramatic concepts.

          Fortune favors the bold - Virgil

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          • #50
            Re: I don't understand "High Concept"

            I wouldn't call Lord of the Rings high concept. It had been a hugely successful series of books, so it had a built-in audience because of that.

            If I hadn't been aware of the books or known anything about it and just heard a pitch about a hobbit and a ring, I wouldn't have bothered. High concept is about a plot with an easily grasped, appealing hook. I don't see it there.

            When you're writing a high concept movie, you start with a concept that immediately sounds appealing. That's what will make people want to see the movie if it's not based on a well-loved book or TV show.

            So people go to a high concept movie sight-unseen because they are drawn to the concept. After opening day, word of mouth becomes more important. Then, if people like the movie, they tell their friends. So it pays to have a movie that delivers on all cylinders besides having a good concept. But the concept comes first.

            Some high concept movies are very successful merely because they are funny or exciting and they deliver on a premise people want to see. And some get extra viewers because they do it well, with real humanity.

            I think 40 Year Old Virgin would have had a lot of customers based on its title and concept alone. But that same title, which would work like candy on teens, would turn off a lot of adults who would think a movie with that title would be inane.

            Because the movie was not only funny but also had real, honest emotion, some of the adults who were wary of it because of the title eventually heard good things about the movie from adults they trusted, so the movie did extra business because it was done well.

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            • #51
              Re: I don't understand "High Concept"

              Just because something is High Concept does that mean that it's instantly an easy sell/easily marketable? Just wondering if exceptions exist...
              Smile Is Best Makeup!

              -A Grammatically Incorrect Japanese Proverb

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              • #52
                Re: I don't understand "High Concept"

                "Easy" is relative.

                Let's call it "easier".

                It is "easier' to sell and "easier" to market.

                High Concepts have less financial risk for buyers which makes them desired by buyers and sellers alike.

                Fortune favors the bold - Virgil

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                • #53
                  Re: I don't understand "High Concept"

                  Interesting. I am learning a lot here. There is room for subjective interpretation. One being that I thought high concept went beyond a catchy logline?

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