Where Script Topics Live
Ideas can come suddenly when brushing your teeth, while other ideas will need more time. Let’s be honest. Many people don’t know what inspiration is. Some of them think that it’s a quality of artistic people only, or something that you need to be born with. Let us break the myth. Inspiration is a state that can be created on demand. Do you know that many writers have their own “rituals” that help them to tune into the process of generating ideas? For example, Charlotte Bronte peeled potatoes to become more creative. Ernest Hemingway woke up at dawn every day and just started writing. Find out what situations make your creative juices flow. Just keep in mind that even everyday routine can become a source of inspiration.
Before you start brainstorming for the future script, we advise you to buy a pen and a notebook. You may ask: Why not a computer? When we write with a pen, we activate certain brain functions that are responsible for our thinking. Maybe, this simple routine will become your working inspirational tool.
First of all, you need to decide what kind of movie or play it will be. Will it be a drama, comedy, or historical film? Besides, it will be great if you define the purpose of your script. People usually go to the cinema or theater to have fun and rest from a boring life. But from good films they can find a more useful truth. And your aim as an author is to hide this truth between words of your script. Answer the following questions:
- What life lessons have you learned? How did you realize it?
- What moral issues are you worried about?
- What incredible things do other people do that excite you?
- Think of a person you really admire. Why is his or her life so special? What do you like about that person?
- What mistakes do young people make again and again?
- How has the behavior and expectations of society changed over time?
The answers to these questions will help you define the premise of your future script. Don’t worry if you don’t have a full understanding of this matter; you can answer these questions when you will be writing the story.
So, where can you find script writing ideas? How can you come up with good script ideas? In the following part we will show you working methods of generating ideas for movie and play scripts.
10 Ways to Find Play and Movie Script Ideas
The idea may come in any case. It may be something you really care about, or just a crazy thought that has come into your mind in the bath. Try the following methods:
- Watch films and plays. If you want to write a script like a pro, you will need to learn from the masters of screenwriting. Watching existing masterpieces will help you define your favorite style, find out techniques screenwriters use to engage the audience, and adopt working methods of screenwriting to evoke certain emotions.
- Read fiction and non-fiction literature. On one hand you can create a script for full-screen adaptation of a book or a sequel of an existing story. In the first case the company will need to buy all necessary rights for its adaption, while for the other you will need to work hard to make your story as interesting as the original.
- Go back over the history. Legends, historical events, and mysteries may serve a great background to your script. Your characters may have supernatural abilities or be experts that are trying to reveal the secret from the past. If you don’t want to spend time on reading historical manuscripts, watch historical content on Discovery Channel and YouTube.
- Read biographies. Do you have a favorite artist, writer, or another famous person? Read their diaries and autobiographies. Maybe, his or her life story deserves to be screened?
- Look on your own experience or the experience of your relatives and friends. Ask your parents or grandparents about the history of your family. Take part in family holidays and note funny and interesting stories. Try to remember significant experiences that you can use as a base for your story.
- Read critics. From critique articles you can find out what points are taken negatively by critics. Many critics have their own blogs and YouTube channels. Keep up to date with new information and record the most important points to consider in your future script.
- Listen to the people. Look through feedback from ordinary people on your favorite movies. Many people share ideas for other movies just talking about episodes they think should be changed. Check writing communities which may contain lists of topics for script writing.
- Ask “What if …” questions. What if the American president was a woman? What if cats ruled the world? What if one of the important events in history would be changed? What if humans don’t need to sleep? What if people could fly like birds? The weirder the questions you ask, the higher your chances are to find a brilliant idea.
- Combine conflicting situations and turn them into absurd scenarios. For example, a priest has inherited a brothel and wishes to lead women to the right path. Don’t be afraid to mix even the most strange ideas.
- Analyze your dreams. Many authors get inspiration from their dreams. Always leave a pen and notebook near your bed and record your dreams as soon as you wake up.
No matter whether you are writing a play ideas or movie ideas, all methods presented above may become a starting point for your masterpiece.
Go to the quiet place where no one can disturb you. Your head will need some time to rest from noise and tune into artistic mode. Write down all ideas that come to your mind. You can write phrases, words, or full sentences – as you wish. If you will spend more than an hour in a quiet place, ideas will start to appear. As soon as you feel a lack of ideas, try one of the methods from the above list. When you have a list of ideas, start to eliminate the most unsuitable and leave only the promising ideas.
If you will be ready to expand your idea, you can turn on music. Pick the music that corresponds to your mood. Don’t turn on ACDC when writing a love story. But you can try, so why not?
Test Your Film Script Ideas
As soon as you will develop a brilliant idea, test it on your prospective audience. Many scriptwriters are afraid that their ideas may be stolen. In fact, ideas are floating in the air. People are reading the same news, watching the same movies, and experiencing similar feelings, so it’s essential that two or more people can come up with same screenwriting ideas. The idea of your script should evoke certain emotions, so don’t hesitate to share it with other people to see their reactions.
- Make a short description of a future film or play (it’s also known as a logline). What is it about? The description shouldn’t be too long; two or three sentences will be enough. Your text should be like an advertisement that will engage the reader to watch the play or film. If you don’t know how to write it, try to describe your favorite films – this will be a good practice. Make sure that your description sounds original and impressive.
- Share your idea with your friends who have the same tastes. Don’t tell that it’s your idea; try to present it as an upcoming film you have heard about. Will your friends be interested in it? Watch their reactions and make the next step.
- Find movie or theater fans and show your idea. Let them compare your idea with several other existing films and give recommendations. Carefully record all remarks.
Be ready for the fact that not every person will appreciate your idea. Your aim is to gather reactions and consider improvements to your idea. If your idea has received mostly positive feedback, you can proceed to write the script.
Watch people’s reaction to your ideas. The bad signs are:
- Indifference in the eyes of your audience.
- You were asked to explain your idea.
- Someone has found out that the idea contains logical errors.
- Someone has seen a film with the same story.
Definitely, you can write a script without the appreciation of the public if you are sure that your idea is exceptional. But you need to know that it will be harder to find investors for such an idea. Even if you will find money, a weak idea won’t interest actors and other specialists to work on your film.
So, how can you find great film script ideas? Only constant practice can help you generate screenplay ideas more effectively. Create a journal for your ideas and record all interesting thoughts, facts, and events. Exercise. Every day create ten script ideas on a particular topic. Write a logline for the most interesting idea. Take part in writing communities and writing contests. Also, we advise you to read our guide on how to write a good script and script examples to get a better idea of what a well-written script looks like.
We all have different experiences and talents. But what can you do if you have no idea what to write about? From the very beginning you can experience panic, your thoughts get confused, and you can’t gather yourself and get to writing. Follow our advice and be ready, as the best ideas arise only after lengthy work on the script. So, take your pen or open a notebook and start to write! Good luck!