Will you ever come up with a truly original movie concept?
Look at it like this: how many unique ideas does one have in a day? Truly original ideas, such that you’re the first human being to conceive it?
For most of us, the answer is: none.
We may never have a truly unique idea in our life. And that’s OK.
Imagine if every human being on this planet would contribute exactly one original idea to the Grand Ideas Pool… That would make about 5 billion added over the past fifty years, or more than three ever second. Unlikely? Maybe.
To create and communicate meaning, we repeat, rehash improve and repurpose existing ideas. We don’t have to re-invent the wheel. We have to innovate.
We are effectively surrounded by an infinite number of ideas.
Look around you: every object is a collection of hundreds, possibly thousands of different ideas packaged together. The window I’m looking through combines the 4,500 year old craft of glass-making with several modern industrial techniques of glass-making and fitting. To build the laptop I’m writing this on, thousands of ideas had to be packaged.
As filmmakers, we’re after concepts that may not be truly unique, but original enough to (re-)distribute, possibly to a new audience.
What may work is something people haven’t heard for a long time, or never before in this context. The idea needs to be in some way or other refreshing or exciting to be worth spreading. Which movies spring to mind?
Now we’ve redefined the concept of ‘originality’ you’ll find that you will have original ideas quite often. You may have such an insight every week or possibly every day. Are you using it?
But how do you decide whether an idea is really worth pursuing?
Challenge yourself immediately to see if you can come up with anything similar but better. Write it down and revisit it tomorrow. Test it on some trusted people and see if they get excited.
Got a great idea? Now execute it. Ideas are cheap.
Screenwriters are not in the business of selling ideas. They sell scripts.
Karel Segers wrote his first produced screenplay at age 17. Today he is a story analyst with experience in acquisition, development and production. He has trained students worldwide, and worked with half a dozen Academy Award nominees. Karel speaks more European languages than you have fingers on your left hand, which he is still trying to find a use for in his hometown of Sydney, Australia. The languages, not the fingers.
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