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my first short film...how do I get ideas???


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#1 Seth Mondragon

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Posted 11 October 2005 - 05:15 PM

Hey everybody, this is my first post here. I've been shooting a lot of Super8 lately (mostly test footage to make sure the camera works, get more experience with actual film, and see how the film looks under different circumstances) and it's time I put together a real project. I've been shooting professional video for the last 7 years, so I know how to compose shots and run the camera and all that. Shooting and editing is where I do my best work, but writing and coming up with a story is not my strong point. How do all of you come up with ideas for your films, both short and feature-length? Any help is greatly appreciated.
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#2 Evan Miles

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Posted 12 October 2005 - 08:02 AM

How do all of you come up with ideas for your films, both short and feature-length? Any help is greatly appreciated.

My best advice is to constantly think of things that you think you'd be able to translate well to film. It depends on what you like as far as stories go. I always try to pay attention to people's conversations and if I hear a strange story or something that would work well in one of my movies, I write it down, no matter how small(I carry a small pocket sized notebook.)

I also like to read a lot, and while this may sound bad, I take small parts from books all the time. Whether it's a small character quirk or a start for an idea on a scene. I obviously never take actual plot lines or fully drawn out characters, but it's a good starting point for where you may want to steer your movie.

I think writing or story telling comes from the individual person, and you may find something that works well for you, so it's hard to give specific advice, but rather what each of us actually does.

Another suggestion is talking to your friends about story ideas, whether you have friends that are writers or not, many people have some unique stories that could be part of a film, or be the main outline for a film.

You can also talk to college writing students, as they'll generally be happy to have one of their short stories turned into a short.
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#3 elvworks

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Posted 04 November 2005 - 10:49 AM

Hi Sooper8fan,

With a background of writing stories, I can tell you, it takes time. Something you will hear literary agents agree on is it's easier to sell a concept than a story. As a writer, sometimes it's tough to put a two hour movie, or even a 30 minute movie into one or two sentences.

Just because you have had no experience coming up with stories or ideas doesn't mean you can't do it. It's new to you, that's all. Sometimes the story could be from someone else, but I think if you could shoot something you came up with, that would be most satisfying.

First, start real small. The seed. Find the concept of the movie. Something that will really catch and when you tell your friends, they become interested in it and maybe want to be a part of it.

i.e. "The story is a comedy about a group insomniacs that can't sleep, so they start to fight crime at night so they don't go crazy."

So that's the concept, then you start to make an outline:


Woman visits insomniacs help group that meet at 3 am.
All are frustrated because their system is out of wack.
As they leave, they witness a crime and stop it from happening.
Next meeting they talk about it.



etc. then you start to break down that outline..

Woman visits insomniacs help group that meet at 3 am.
Woman is messing up at work cause she can't operate correctly.
Realizes she has to do something or she will go back to partying.
All are frustrated because their system is out of wack.
They all agree they want to do something.
They realize, this could be a blessing in disguise.
But they don't know how to use the time and still function in their day time work.
As they leave, they witness a crime and stop it from happening.
Punk gang surround a guy going to work.
Group leaving begin to make so much noise.
They all turn on their car alarms.
Punks get scared and run away.
Next meeting they talk about it.
They all realize that they were all able to function the next day like normal after the event happened.
They all felt really good about themselves and had an extra energy.
They begin to see, maybe this is a way for them to live a normal life even though it's not normal.

Now the insomniacs have found something, and now they have purpose.

This is pretty rudimentary, but it's pretty funny. But you gotta get that concept down, something that you can't be easily shaken off of. Something you're excited about. Then start breaking it down, then breaking it down even more, then start to make it into scenes. And you just keep going.

I hope this helped,

All the best,
Rick
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