Free Support and Outreach for Colorado's Filmmaking Community
About a year and a half ago I started a discussion about an exercise I was trying: coming up with 30 different script ideas in 30 days. It was a great exercise for a lot of reasons, and a few of the ideas have been good enough to expand on. Click on the link if you want to see more about that.
Now I am trying another exercise and I think this would be beneficial for other writers. Take an idea (preferably one of yours, but it could also work with a pre-existing property) and do 4 or 5 "takes" on it.
Let me illustrate (with a bit of the ridiculous and lots of stereotypes thrown in).
CONCEPT: A trampoline is a portal to another dimension.
Take 1 - Action Adventure: After buying a used trampoline, a retired gold medal gymnast and action star finds that it opens a portal to another dimension full of flesh-eating Beanie Babies who use it to try to take over the world. He must use his skills as a gymnast and his Hollywood contacts to stave off a massive, synthetic fur covered invasion.
Take 2 - Family Fantasy/Drama: A young girl who just got cut from the Olympic gymnastic team gets a new trampoline for Christmas. She finds that while jumping on it she gets training from the spirit of a deceased Romanian gymnastic coach. She trains hard and improves, but just before she gets her shot to try out for the team again, her mom sells the trampoline so they can pay the mortgage. She has to finish her training herself, re-building herself confidence and making the team. When she wins her spot she sees her ghostly coach in the stands.
Take 3 - Romantic Comedy: A young widower, who lost his gymnast wife to a bizarre accident during a competition, has never been able to part with her beloved trampoline. He jumps on it nearly every day while talking to the memory of his wife. When he meets a new love interest, he mentions it while jumping during his daily routine. The ghost of his wife actually responds and begins to wreak havoc on his new relationship. Until, of course, the dead wife realizes her husband has to move on, and this new girl is a good match. Close with the wedding ceremony, the dead wife being the maid of honor while bouncing on the trampoline.
Take 4: - Horror: A group of teenagers buy an old trampoline at a swap meet from a suspicious man. They bring it out to the woods where they have a hangout. What they don't know is that the trampoline is made from the skin of murdered children. Everyone that jumps on it for 666 seconds gets sucked into hell. After losing two of their friends to the evil trampoline, the rest band together and jump into hell as a group to take on the devil and get their friends back.
Yes, a lot of that is trite and/or ridiculous, but I hope you get my point. If you don't have an idea of your own, do it with films you know. What would Juno look like as a horror film? What would Saw look like as a comedy or a romance?
What I have found in my limited experience working with folks in Hollywood is that you have to be able to think on your feet. You have to be able to take an idea and turn it on its head (whether it's your idea or a pre-existing property). You must be flexible and be able to see the potential for a project from all sides.
Give it a try and let us know how it goes.
This is a great idea Jim, I haven't been to the website in awhile, but I'm glad I saw this post when I popped on here today! I'm going to try out your idea, and see where it takes me, as right now I have some ideas for a particular script (or, rather, a set of characters) but am having trouble focusing in on where I specifically want the story to go. I think that this exercise will help me "flush out" some ideas, and see which ones will work best...