Take One Simple Idea Then Run with It

Lightbulb by Morberg on Flickr

One of the hardest things to do as a filmmaker is come up with great ideas worth filming, great stories worth telling. We’ll sit in front of our copy of Final Draft, Screenwriter, Celtx or Scripped waiting for inspiration.

And waiting…

And waiting…

But it doesn’t have to be like that folks. Take one simple idea, then just run with it. For example:

You ever been at a restaurant with a group of friends, then one of the friends dares another to do something gross, like, oh I don’t know, mix a tall glass of water with ice cream, ketchup, mustard, gravy, french fries, tabasco sauce, and a hamburger, then drink it all down non-stop, after which said friend runs to bathroom to throw up and a french fry shoots out his nose?* THAT’S a short film.

You ever get into a stupid argument with your spouse about something ridiculously silly, like, oh, I don’t know, like an intense, mano-a-mano yelling match fight over a drop shadow?* Bingo. Another short film.

You ever find yourself sitting in a college dorm lounge with a bunch of rappers from Oaktown (b.k.a. Oakland, CA) who go to blows and you think you’re gonna die but you don’t die and in not dying you can now laugh at it?* Voila. Fodder for a film festival.

Get my point? There are stories all around you. Don’t wait for some Aaron Sorkin like revelation to come over you. Just take a simple idea, then run with it.

FilmRiot host Ryan Connolly puts it great in this episode of the show. (Advance to 3:02)

* These are all things that actually happened to me. I may or may  not eventually make films out of them. But my short film “Lawn” was a film I did that started out as just a simple idea: “Wouldn’t this be a funny opening to a movie about marriage?” I sat on it for a couple of years waiting to find the right inspiration for the whole movie. Finally, I decided to just make that one simple idea. Just that opening. I’m very glad I did. It got a great response and many people asked for a follow-up. (I have a sequel written that I’m looking to eventually shoot).

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