Anyone that is claiming that they’ve got the secret to how to find ideas that make great movies is either a lunatic or James Cameron.
Yet there are certain thought patterns you can use to exercise and/or activate your right brain (that’s the creative-side). So, you can call me a lunatic. We’re in for some brain-hacking.
Can asking this simple question help you find good ideas for movies.
It all starts with this simple question; WWYDI.
What would you do if […]?This thought inspiring question will lead your consciousness into right brain thinking.
Just ask yourself this question, right now, to yourself and fill in the blank. If you want to generate ideas about a specific person or place just inject them into the hypothetical. (e.g: What Would Bugs Bunny Do if…)
This mental exercise will train your brain to explore plausible possibilities. Those are what is necessary to make good films.
It has something to do with brainstorming within the suspension of disbelief.
Now, if you have not heard of the suspension of belief, the concept is easy to grasp. It’s basically the plausibility of your plot. Could this movie actually happen in a some form of reality.
Simply put, if you break the suspension of belief; this would be the point in the story where your audience tunes out because they cannot follow the logic of your narrative.
A Tutorial in TOTAL BRAIN muse streaming.
So, you must attempt to tell stories with believable and well-thought out outcomes. Also, you want to do so without your audience feeling duped. If at any point, you need you audience to indulge you, just imagine, or follow along- you had better have some tentative information to justify you going into the realm of disbelief.
That’s why the “what would you do if […]” logic works! Majestically, it takes you the writer out of the story and allows your audience to inject their personalities and ethos into the narrative. Therefore, you are creating plots that are easy to follow and engage with.
Moreover, this concept is forcing you to tap into the logic processing side your subconscious (the left brain) to confirm that the narrative-concepts of plausibility make sense to you and your audience. This is happening at the speed in which your synapse fire. Truly, allowing you switch, in the blink of an eye, into both sides of your imagination. Thus, unlocking TOTAL BRAIN muse streams.
The idea of muse streams comes from the work of Mark David Gerson’s Organic Screenwriting: Writing for film, Naturally. https://www.markdavidgerson.com/books/organicscreenwriting
Finding ideas can’t be this easy.
Let’s do a simple exercise. For a moment, meditate on some of your favorite movies. Think about what the movies are about. Make an attempt to fit them into the “wwydi” logic.
Moreover, grab a notebook and start identifying the premise of these films using wwydi logic.
- Terminator – wwydi a robot was sent from the future to kill you?
- Romeo+Juliet – wwydi the only person you found love with was the daughter of your father’s sworn enemy.
You could go on forever with these hypothetical(s), and since they’re so thought-driven you’re allowed to inject your opinions into them, while following the writer’s take on the scenario.
Which of your ideas are best to make into a movie?
Since you have an exercise to explore your mind and narrative concepts, what ideas are the nuggets of gold. More so, what’s the point of tapping into the total brain subconscious if you can’t make sense of the mess it spews out?
What’s worst, the quality of an idea is highly subjective. How can we be certain that we aren’t serving our egos? Can’t we short the process of selecting which ideas to explore? You absolutely can.
Luckily, there are two surefire ways to do it.
Hollywood v. The People
Now, the way big studios do it is through proven market success. But, if reception is subjective how do they know a particular film will generate income at a specific rate & time? Truthfully, they don’t know. They go by market research and verticals.
We will start with a vertical, and expound into the market research;
Is the book, article, song, story etc., is gaining enough organic attention to invest in. This is where the cult followings of the comic book culture force Hollywood to pay attention. And where sequels are king. But damn, that’s boring film making.
Hollywood is always playing the game a step behind market trends, waiting for waves and catch-fire talent. And they have to, because the money is too big, and the risks are substantial. Therefore their version of the market is reactive and fickle.
The Birth of the Blockbuster Theory
Sadly, this practice turns into mega expensive episodic entertainment; ww(the avengers)di Tony Stark made an A.I. that went rouge, or a super-alien with a super-weapon attacked earth, and so on. Cue in- this weekend the Avengers fight Ultron, and next week Thanos. All that is missing is intermittent commercials.
Frankly, it’s good safe-money because the audience will turn up. The hypothetical(s) are to easy to follow for the fans, because they’ve bought into the “universe”. Luckily for Hollywood-land, those markets (audience) already exist. So, all they have do is pay to access those markets via enormous ads spends. And they do that well.
What about the people’s way?
I know it’s hard to believe, but independents have it easier. That’s because we generally get to interact directly with our audience when we hunt for a premise. Also, the subject matter normally applies to the common man.
Don’t think so, well wwydi your doppelgänger was sent to kill you; or wwydi the person you fell in love with was having a medical procedure to erase the existence of you from their minds (guess the films and you may win a prize).
Can you see how these are everyone issues. Anyone could put themselves in that scenario, with little to effort, to form an opinion without feeling like they’d have to reach far outside their own suspension of disbelief.
Better yet, you could easily be the hero in that story.
That’s the biggest difference between big films and independent films. In independent movies or modest budget movies, you could easily be the hero by answering what you would do in those particular circumstances.
While it’s not so easy to see yourself fighting off intergalactic beings without a super-suit of sorts. And, without the previous marketing success of these concepts, those plots would be too convoluted to sell to the general public.
Are your wwydi ideas flowing after reading this?
It really isn’t difficult to generate good ideas, but picking the great ones is the fun part. Remember to listen to feedback when you’re pitching your concepts to friends and family. Listen for the “ I wouldn’t do that…” language that’s when you know you have something. Or simply ask a pal, wwydi[…].
You better bet your bottom dollar you should be constantly creating conversation about potential films with your friends, forums, and family. It’s your profession! And if you are shy, you’d better be able to identify when someone else does this, and use it (Tarantino-style).
Because your audience is injecting themselves into your narrative, and vice-versa.