High Concept vs New High Concept

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  • Re: High Concept vs New High Concept

    Originally posted by SundownInRetreat View Post
    1. You don't know that
    2. There's more than pros to worry about
    3. Great ideas, in all fields of human endeavour. are stolen all the time and by pros
    4. Pros rip-off other pros* so they're definitely not going to be afraid of ripping off amateurs
    5. Amateurs not being able to write as good as pros doesn't mean they can't come up with great ideas






    *Just one example: The Island and Clonus
    If Jeff Lowell sells a psychic rabbi serial killer pitch to Netflix, I'll get suspicious.

    IMO: 1) most ideas here stink. 2) If you can't write your idea better than anyone else, what's the point?

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    • Re: High Concept vs New High Concept

      I steal all my ideas. But they are from movies and TV shows that already got made.

      Comment


      • Re: High Concept vs New High Concept

        The basic idea for Terminator was from a short story written in 57 by Harlan Ellison, that he adapted for "The Outer Limits" in 64. Two soldiers from opposite sides of a future war are sent back in time and fight each other in the present day. The concept was out there for decades.

        Or take "Liar, Liar." You hear it, and it's a great high concept idea: what if someone who lies for a living, a lawyer, is cursed and can't lie?

        Of course, it was an episode of Bewitched: what if someone who lies for a living, an ad exec, is cursed and can't lie? And it was an episode of the Twilight Zone: what if someone who lies for a living, a used car salesman, is cursed and can't lie?

        I definitely fall on the "the threat of theft is greatly overblown" side of things. There are probably hundreds of salable ideas floating around in the ether right now - someone has to be able to turn them into a script. Which is hard.

        (FWIW, Cameron admitted to ripping Ellison off. I have no idea if the original "Liar, Liar" writer saw either of those episodes.)

        Comment


        • Re: High Concept vs New High Concept

          Originally posted by Satriales View Post
          IMO: 1) most ideas here stink.
          This may be true.


          2) If you can’t write your idea better than anyone else, what’s the point?
          But this is a non sequitur.


          Having a great concept for a story is not at all dependent on being able to write it well, let alone better than anybody. There's hundreds of films out there that were elevated because the original writer (especially a first timer) was replaced the minute the ink dried on the contract.

          Likewise, being able to write it better than anyone doesn't stop someone else taking that idea and beating you to it, whether that's going down the same amateur route or, as pros can do, taking it direct to decision makers.

          You've even had Jeff say that poorly-executed scripts sell, as long as the concept is good enough, and better writers brought in so I don't get this defending of unjustified conclusions just because they make nice soundbites.

          Comment


          • Re: High Concept vs New High Concept

            Originally posted by JeffLowell View Post
            The basic idea for Terminator was from a short story written in 57 by Harlan Ellison, that he adapted for "The Outer Limits" in 64. Two soldiers from opposite sides of a future war are sent back in time and fight each other in the present day. The concept was out there for decades.

            Or take "Liar, Liar." You hear it, and it's a great high concept idea: what if someone who lies for a living, a lawyer, is cursed and can't lie?

            Of course, it was an episode of Bewitched: what if someone who lies for a living, an ad exec, is cursed and can't lie? And it was an episode of the Twilight Zone: what if someone who lies for a living, a used car salesman, is cursed and can't lie?

            I definitely fall on the "the threat of theft is greatly overblown" side of things. There are probably hundreds of salable ideas floating around in the ether right now - someone has to be able to turn them into a script. Which is hard.
            Yeah I was too lazy to write that, but didn't Harlan sue and eventually get a credit on the Terminator films? https://www.cbr.com/terminator-harlan-ellison-credit/

            BTW I often will see an old sitcom and that will inspire me to think of a feature film idea based on some minor B plot that was in the show, but I'm like -- well that's a great idea for movie in 2020 expanded of course. And it's just the most basic idea -- that gets you from 1% of inspiration to 99% of the real work.

            Same as when we watch TERMINATOR and go -- what if that was a comedy? Same difference to me. BTW OJ Simpson was first choice to play the role.

            So like Jeff it's hard to "steal ideas" when I feel almost all are related like in some weird 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon way.

            Fun Fact -- I've already stolen Jeff's new feature film idea he hasn't even written yet! Mine will not sell!

            Comment


            • Re: High Concept vs New High Concept

              Originally posted by Cyfress View Post
              Spielberg asked him what he is working on. Crichton said it was top secret and didn’t want to say. Spielberg begged him for a hint. Crichton said it had to do with Dinosaurs and DNA. Spielberg said he immediately saw the story.
              I don't doubt Spielberg said he immediately saw the story. But maybe he meant he immediately saw A story.

              Spielberg would have to be a psychic FBI agent to see from that hint THE story that Crichton was writing.

              Comment


              • Re: High Concept vs New High Concept

                Originally posted by Bono View Post
                Yeah I was too lazy to write that, but didn't Harlan sue and eventually get a credit on the Terminator films?
                Supposedly Cameron admitted that he'd been "inspired" by Ellison a couple of times, and the studio paid Ellison off. Cameron denies it.

                Originally posted by SundownInRetreat
                You've even had Jeff say that poorly-executed scripts sell, as long as the concept is good enough, and better writers brought in so I don't get this defending of unjustified conclusions just because they make nice soundbites.
                I'm not saying it's impossible. I'm saying it's really rare, and workshopping ideas/scripts is incredibly useful for writers. People have to figure out the balance for themselves.

                If someone really thinks they have lightning in a bottle, then they probably should just write the thing. But how many times have we all seen this happen here: someone shows up and says they need contact info for an agent/manager, because they have a blockbuster script. It's so original, they can't possibly share the concept in a public forum. I know that more than once, I've offered to read the logline privately, and if I thought it was good, I'd pass it along to my rep.

                I never had to pass one of those along to my rep.

                Comment


                • Re: High Concept vs New High Concept

                  Originally posted by Bono View Post
                  BTW OJ Simpson was first choice to play the role.
                  First choice was Lance Henriksen - a favourite of Cameron's and an Everyman as per Cameron's initial vision for the titular character.


                  So like Jeff it's hard to "steal ideas" when I feel almost all are related like in some weird 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon way.
                  You need to check out the small print in my earlier message.

                  Comment


                  • Re: High Concept vs New High Concept

                    Originally posted by JeffLowell View Post
                    I'm not saying it's impossible. I'm saying it's really rare......I never had to pass one of those along to my rep.
                    I agree, I'm just saying theft is a possibility (and I'm talking groundbreaking ideas as per the titles I mentioned earlier) and that I don't get the emphatic counterarguments.

                    Comment


                    • Re: High Concept vs New High Concept

                      I honestly forget what we are even talking about anymore and I post recently. I need a TV like recap...

                      Comment


                      • Re: High Concept vs New High Concept

                        Originally posted by Bono View Post
                        I honestly forget what we are even talking about anymore and I post recently. I need a TV like recap...
                        Looks like you picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue.

                        Comment


                        • Re: High Concept vs New High Concept

                          Originally posted by SundownInRetreat View Post
                          This may be true.



                          But this is a non sequitur.


                          Having a great concept for a story is not at all dependent on being able to write it well, let alone better than anybody. There's hundreds of films out there that were elevated because the original writer (especially a first timer) was replaced the minute the ink dried on the contract.

                          Likewise, being able to write it better than anyone doesn't stop someone else taking that idea and beating you to it, whether that's going down the same amateur route or, as pros can do, taking it direct to decision makers.

                          You've even had Jeff say that poorly-executed scripts sell, as long as the concept is good enough, and better writers brought in so I don't get this defending of unjustified conclusions just because they make nice soundbites.
                          I believe idea generating and ability are strongly correlated.

                          I personally only write things that I know that no one will be more passionate about than I will be. The internet can go ahead and write my Stewart and Capra making of IAWL story.

                          Comment


                          • Re: High Concept vs New High Concept

                            Originally posted by SundownInRetreat View Post
                            I agree, I'm just saying theft is a possibility (and I'm talking groundbreaking ideas as per the titles I mentioned earlier) and that I don't get the emphatic counterarguments.
                            Yeah, some ideas are definitely exciting. There was a spec script that went around a few years ago about Ronald Reagan - he had dementia, but they didn't want America to know, so they convinced him that he was playing the part of the President in a movie. I wish I'd heard about it and stolen it. I love that so much. I doubt it would ever be a hit, but I wish I'd come up with it.

                            Comment


                            • Re: High Concept vs New High Concept

                              Originally posted by JeffLowell View Post
                              Yeah, some ideas are definitely exciting. There was a spec script that went around a few years ago about Ronald Reagan - he had dementia, but they didn't want America to know, so they convinced him that he was playing the part of the President in a movie. I wish I'd heard about it and stolen it. I love that so much. I doubt it would ever be a hit, but I wish I'd come up with it.
                              The script was really great too. Ferrell was circling at one point but the right wingers freaked out which is a shame because Reagan and the fictional protag were the two good guys.

                              Comment


                              • Re: High Concept vs New High Concept

                                Originally posted by SundownInRetreat View Post
                                Looks like you picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue.
                                No joke, I say this at least once a month.

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