High Concept vs New High Concept

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  • Re: High Concept vs New High Concept

    Jesus H Krhyszt, people. Surely it's not that hard to define:

    Low Concept = the kind of stuff that happens in everyday life.

    High Concept = the kind of stuff that doesn't happen in everyday life.

    Or am I missing something?
    Know this: I'm a lazy amateur, so trust not a word what I write.
    "The ugly can be beautiful. The pretty, never." ~ Oscar Wilde

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    • Re: High Concept vs New High Concept

      That sounds pretty right until you think on it and think of high concept ideas like TOP GUN and TITANTIC and others that are real thing, some based on real events that happened, even if of course drama was added....

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      • Re: High Concept vs New High Concept

        Originally posted by Crayon View Post
        Jesus H Krhyszt, people. Surely it's not that hard to define:

        Low Concept = the kind of stuff that happens in everyday life.

        High Concept = the kind of stuff that doesn't happen in everyday life.

        Or am I missing something?
        I'm stealing that.

        Originally posted by Bono View Post
        That sounds pretty right until you think on it and think of high concept ideas like TOP GUN and TITANTIC and others that are real thing, some based on real events that happened, even if of course drama was added....
        I think he's got it exactly. Pilots fly ever day, but they don't fight the Russians and die in crashes every day. Ships sail every day, but they don't usually hit icebergs.

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        • Re: High Concept vs New High Concept

          True, but low concept ideas also are not things that happen every day to most people. Some ideas sure, but I feel most movies (high or low concept) are movies because it's about things more exciting than our real boring lives.

          It does sound cool. And I liked it when I first read it. Still sort of do.

          I mean it is a cool way to put it overall and I would totally steal it to put in my screenwriting book after reading it in Jeff Lowell's book.

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          • Re: High Concept vs New High Concept

            I feel like identifying high concept from low concept is like obscenity, you know it when you see it.

            But Crayon more or less has it.

            Sure, being trapped in a high concept towering inferno with O.J. Simpson is something that can theoretically happen to someone, but it's a lot less likely than Seth Rogen knocking up a woman on a low concept one night stand.

            Assuming Seth Rogen doesn't have fertility issues, in which case we might be back to high concept.

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            • Re: High Concept vs New High Concept

              Originally posted by Satriales View Post
              I personally only write things that I know that no one will be more passionate about than I will be.
              How can you say this with certainty? Are you saying that every professional screenwriter is the most passionate about the gigs they work on?


              The internet can go ahead and write my Stewart and Capra making of IAWL story.
              It's one thing to flippantly offer up an idea so vague that it doesn't detail the actual story or genre, about people and events that would probably require rights, and a decent pitch for an actual high-level idea of yours. I mean, if you're sure no one is as passionate about your ideas as you, and that there's zero risk in sharing, especially with us plebs, then give us some of your top-tier ideas, which haven't sold or optioned, and ideally which you haven't written yet. Otherwise your IAWL comment simply undermines your position.

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              • Re: High Concept vs New High Concept

                Originally posted by SundownInRetreat View Post
                How can you say this with certainty? Are you saying that every professional screenwriter is the most passionate about the gigs they work on?



                It's one thing to flippantly offer up an idea so vague that it doesn't detail the actual story or genre, about people and events that would probably require rights, and a decent pitch for an actual high-level idea of yours. I mean, if you're sure no one is as passionate about your ideas as you, and that there's zero risk in sharing, especially with us plebs, then give us some of your top-tier ideas, which haven't sold or optioned, and ideally which you haven't written yet. Otherwise your IAWL comment simply undermines your position.
                1) Rights are overrated. Just write it. You think Blonde Ambition or Barron is getting made? Hell, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent *is* going to get made.*

                2) Of course they aren't the most passionate about every gig they work on. Thus the challenge of being a pro. If you're writing something on spec, I believe you need to be the person best equipped to tell that story.*And I definitely believe I'm the most passionate about my ideas. I wouldn't commit to writing something on spec if I didn't think that.

                3)*I don't know about other writers but as has been discussed in these threads, I'm not exactly sitting on a trove of ideas I'd classify as "definitely-a-movie.- But sure, if you want my pitch for the first act of the making of IAWL, here ya go. It's free for the taking.

                Logline: A PTSD stricken Jimmy Stewart reluctantly partners with a down-and-out Frank Capra to get their respective careers back on track after World War II - the result of which is a moderately received, commercial failure that would go on to be the most beloved movies of all time.


                COLD OPEN

                Over GERMANY, COLONEL JIM STEWART, 36, is behind the stick of a B-24 Liberator. He sees another plane he commands destroyed. He FREEZES UP behind the controls - he is, in the parlance of the time - "flak happy." Shellshocked. PTSD. "Jim you ok? You ok?"

                ACT I*

                MATCH CUT TO:

                "Are you ok?" A stewardess shakes Jim awake on a flight. Tells him that he was shaking and yelling. He apologizes and asks for a drink. He's still wearing his dress Army Air Corps uniform, his chest a fruit salad of medals including the Distinguished Flying Cross. But for America, and Jim, the war is over.

                Stewart is picked up at the airport by his best friend and actor Henry "Hank" Fonda. The press is there, but Stewart has no interest in talking to them because he is a mess. Stewart looks terrible. Lost weight. Looks like he is pushing 50 years old. They drive to Fonda's house because Stewart has no place to live. He's going to crash in Fonda's guest house. They discuss their respective experiences during the war - despite serving honorably on a destroyer in the Pacific, Fonda was not exposed to the horrors that Stewart was as the Deputy Commander of the 2d Bombardment Wing. He lost many men and had to write letters home to the parents of the dead.

                Frank Capra is also back from the war. He won an Academy Award for his WHY WE FIGHT documentary while in the Army Signal Corps. He meets with Samuel Goldwyn, pitches his take for THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES, the movie about GI's returning from the war and adjusting to civilian life which Goldwyn will produce. Goldwyn doesn't think Capra is up to it. Said it is not in his wheelhouse. Your **** is saccharine schmaltz. That America is gone. Goldwyn lets him know that it's possible the studio system has passed him by. "There's no seven picture deal out there for you, Frank."

                Walking across the RKO lot, Capra bumps into Director William Wyler, also back from the war. Though he did not receive the acclaim that Capra did, Capra is envious of his friend because his documentaries allowed Wyler to be exposed to actual combat, which Capra feels guilty about. Wyler asks what he thinks of the Best Years Of Our Lives and Capra says it's not great, but he should do it. Capra pitches that he do one more picture for Goldwyn then they go out on their own and form an independent production company - that's the way to go. This Hollywood system is bullshit - hell, the government gave us more creative freedom than these people do.

                Stewart and Fonda drink by Fonda's pool. Stewart reveals that the only thing he ate during the war was ice cream and peanut butter and that's all he continues to eat. He can't keep anything down and he can't sleep for more than a half hour at a time. He can't stop shaking.

                Fonda introduces Stewart to not-yet legendary agent wunderkind LEW WASSERMAN, 32. He tells Stewart that he took the liberty of putting some feelers out for him. The bad news is that there's nothing. Despite your accomplishments, despite two Oscar nominations and one win - it's not five years ago, man. You're typecast as an everyman and now you're a war hero. People want to forget the war, not relive it. But I still believe in you.*

                The holidays arrive. Capra, distracted by civilian life at Thanksgiving tells Wyler they should go independent. He pitches him a short story called The Gift. RKO has the rights to it, and in fact, they've got a script by Dalton Trumbo, even though the script is ****. Let's get a couple of other guys from the war together and form an independent prodco - I already got a name - Liberty Films. We'll buy the rights to this story and make it. Wyler agrees.

                Wasserman tells Stewart that Capra wants to meet with him.

                page 11-12

                Capra pitches Stewart on It's a Wonderful Life. Stewart is not impressed. "I mean a guardian angel? A suicidal lead? It's either the most sentimental thing ever or dark as hell." Stewart passes, but Capra says here, at least read it, think it over.

                He reads it, but doesn't want to do it. It's fine, but...again, I'm not sure if this is what I want to do anymore.

                Stewart announces that he is going back to Pennsylvania to run his father's hardware store. After all the stuff he's seen, acting just doesn't feel right anymore. How insignificant.*

                Wasserman and Fonda grab Stewart at the train station and tell him that you can't quit on this town. You're Jimmy ****ing Stewart. They drag him to meet with LIONEL BARRYMORE.*

                He is confined to a wheelchair, unable to walk. He has a heart-to-heart with Stewart. Stewart confides that he's scared that he's lost it. He doesn't know how to act anymore. Barrymore tells him the same thing happened to him when he lost his legs. But you have to keep going forward. Stewart says movies are meaningless, in the grand scheme of things. Barrymore tells him that it would be a great disservice to let his God given talent go to waste. After what the world has been through, they still want to be entertained. It is your DUTY - just as it was your duty in the war - to entertain people, to give them HOPE.

                Stewart agrees to do the picture.

                END ACT

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                • Re: High Concept vs New High Concept

                  Originally posted by Satriales
                  3)*I don't know about other writers but as has been discussed in these threads, I'm not exactly sitting on a trove of ideas I'd classify as "definitely-a-movie.- But sure, if you want my pitch for the first act of the making of IAWL,
                  As stated, I don't want your IAWL idea. I'm asking for details of one of your best ideas - the type you spec with (or will when written). My point is I'm sure that the ideas you and your manager think are great are ideas you're not going to share publicly with other writers.

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                  • Re: High Concept vs New High Concept

                    Originally posted by SundownInRetreat View Post
                    As stated, I don't want your IAWL idea. I'm asking for details of one of your best ideas - the type you spec with (or will when written). My point is I'm sure that the ideas you and your manager think are great are ideas you're not going to share publicly with other writers.
                    I have zero idea what I'm writing next on spec, otherwise I wouldn't be posting here as frequently as I am. Open to stealing ideas at this point.

                    I pitched the hell out of that K129 project that Mazin and August were talking about a couple of weeks back. Now THAT is a movie. (Albeit one that the economics no longer work for, sadly)

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                    • Re: High Concept vs New High Concept

                      Satriales: love the IAWL concept. Unfortunately the market (demo wise) is not huge.
                      Advice from writer, Kelly Sue DeConnick. "Try this: if you can replace your female character with a sexy lamp and the story still basically works, maybe you need another draft.-

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                      • Re: High Concept vs New High Concept

                        Originally posted by sc111 View Post
                        Satriales: love the IAWL concept. Unfortunately the market (demo wise) is not huge.
                        It would be prohibitive, especially with international. I wouldn't write it on spec and I'm not in desperate need of year end Black List attention at the moment. I do think it's a movie and talent bait. But it's probably limited to one buyer - Paramount - if you want to pay it off in the right way. But if I were breaking in, I'd write it.

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                        • Re: High Concept vs New High Concept

                          Originally posted by lostfootage View Post

                          I've had the experience of latching onto an idea that's floating low in the diaspora. I wrote a TV pilot called OPEN about a bored married couple who decided to start exploring open relationships. The man's first extra-marital experience was with a yoga instructor, which starts the love triangle, etc. blah blah blah...

                          But I hit walls with it, in part because I had a writing partner who I discovered was a closet psychopath. (I ended up walking away and gave him all rights to the project as solo work if he wanted to continue working on it by himself, or with someone else, which felt like the right way to remove myself from the situation.)

                          Then I find out six months later that Ryan Murphy set up a TV pilot at HBO called OPEN, a project that would be examining sexuality, etc. And it also had a 'yoga professional' in there.

                          My friend read about it and called me up, "They stole your idea!"
                          "No, Tom. They didn't."
                          "But they have a yoga person in the pilot also!"
                          "Any TV show about polyamorous relationships will have a yoga teacher in it. They didn't steal it. The idea is low in the collective unconscious. I bet there are twenty TV pilots in LA right now with the title OPEN about the same subject matter."
                          "Oh. Huh."

                          The Ryan Murphy project never got off the ground, maybe for the same problems the psychopath and I hit -- there was no compelling place to go with the basic idea after a season. Though I've always been curious to see what Ryan Murphy's show would have looked like. Very curious.

                          https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/li...rd-ryan-717094

                          Bono: it'd be fun to take a basic idea with some parameters and have us each write a five-page take on it, see what comes out of that.
                          Interesting concept. For a brief moment I considered the same because...

                          Three houses down from mine, two women and a man in a polyamorous "marriage" less than a year were renting while looking to buy a larger home. There were 4 kids: two from the original couple and two from the woman who joined their marriage (let's call her wife 2).

                          My daughter became friendly with the teen daughter of wife 2 at the school bus stop. This girl was constantly coming to my house to escape and vent about what was going on. The youngest kids were acting out in school. Her father was fighting for sole custody. As the kid described it, it was non stop stress.

                          One night the girl starts texting my kid about committing suicide. I called her mom because I really don't trust how the cops might handle it.

                          They finally bought a house and moved away. My daughter and the girl drifted apart. But I can't imagine their 3-way marriage issues were resolved.

                          Like that Sister Wives reality TV show it seems like jealousy is a huge issue. I also watched two true crime shows where poly relationships ended in murder. Maybe that's a kernel of a thriller concept?
                          Advice from writer, Kelly Sue DeConnick. "Try this: if you can replace your female character with a sexy lamp and the story still basically works, maybe you need another draft.-

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                          • Re: High Concept vs New High Concept

                            Originally posted by Satriales View Post
                            It would be prohibitive, especially with international. I wouldn't write it on spec and I'm not in desperate need of year end Black List attention at the moment. I do think it's a movie and talent bait. But it's probably limited to one buyer - Paramount - if you want to pay it off in the right way. But if I were breaking in, I'd write it.
                            About your last sentence: I'm curious as to why you'd write it if you were breaking in.
                            Advice from writer, Kelly Sue DeConnick. "Try this: if you can replace your female character with a sexy lamp and the story still basically works, maybe you need another draft.-

                            Comment


                            • Re: High Concept vs New High Concept

                              Originally posted by sc111 View Post
                              Interesting concept. For a brief moment I considered the same because...

                              Three houses down from mine, two women and a man in a polyamorous "marriage" less than a year were renting while looking to buy a larger home. There were 4 kids: two from the original couple and two from the woman who joined their marriage (let's call her wife 2).

                              My daughter became friendly with the teen daughter of wife 2 at the school bus stop. This girl was constantly coming to my house to escape and vent about what was going on. The youngest kids were acting out in school. Her father was fighting for sole custody. As the kid described it, it was non stop stress.

                              One night the girl starts texting my kid about committing suicide. I called her mom because I really don't trust how the cops might handle it.

                              They finally bought a house and moved away. My daughter and the girl drifted apart. But I can't imagine their 3-way marriage issues were resolved.

                              Like that Sister Wives reality TV show it seems like jealousy is a huge issue. I also watched two true crime shows where poly relationships ended in murder. Maybe that's a kernel of a thriller concept?
                              Most of the polyamorous relationships I've been around, and I've been around more than a few living here in San Francisco, devolved over time due to jealousy. I personally don't understand the arrangement because I have trouble giving enough time to one relationship, let alone multiple relationships. But still polyamory is interesting to me from my armchair.

                              I do think the topic is more suited to feature than a TV pilot. I had never thought about it with a thriller aspect. That is something to think about.

                              Your situation where kids are involved makes it more interesting.

                              Did you see BIG LOVE? I think a lot of the story lines also showed the main character grappling a lot with jealousy of the wives. That was about religious polygamy, not liberal polyamory. But I think much of it ends up being the same. My favorite episode was when the husband character demands a night off to himself because he can't keep up with servicing three women sexually. It still makes me laugh out loud.

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                              • Re: High Concept vs New High Concept

                                Originally posted by sc111 View Post
                                About your last sentence: I'm curious as to why you'd write it if you were breaking in.
                                Weighty themes. True redemption story. Hollywood loves Hollywood. Beloved story that would display an ability to cobble together your own IP from multiple sources. If done right would definitely get you in rooms.

                                Also, Stewart is a serial killer.

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