Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Writing Week (Vol. 4) part 159 - Trying to Come Up with New Script Ideas

Let's face it, coming up with ideas for new scripts can be hard. Especially if you're like me, you don't often just sit down at the computer or with a notebook and spend an hour trying to come up with ideas. The best ideas generally hit you when you least expect it - when you're walking to the store, on the train to work, or in the shower - and the source of their inspiration can be impossible to find. Maybe you saw something that triggered the idea. Maybe you remembered something. Maybe there's no logical explanation for it at all, but whatever electrical synapse that just fired through your brain left you with the germ of a script that you cannot wait to start writing.

For me, those experiences that come out of nowhere are how I generally come up with new ideas. I rely on those eureka moments to keep me in pages for the next three to six months. But what happens when you don't have the time to wait for those moments to hit?

As it happens now, I'm in that less desirable place. I need to get my agent new ideas, because we haven't found one that quite clicked for him yet. Sure, I have dozens of ideas logged in my "Logline Master List" document, but I track the market and know that a lot of them aren't right yet. Also, since the project that I have producers, a manager, a lawyer, and an agent for is a tentpole action piece, that's the kind of script I'm working on developing more of. Problem is, a lot of my ideas in that master list are much smaller, more appropriate for an indie production company than a major studio's summer flagship.

On Friday, I made myself sit down for an hour and come up with other loglines. I think I got about five. Of those, there were maybe only two I'd really want to invest a lot of time in now, and many of them were quite similar in nature, only set in different worlds. I had a bit of an ah-ha moment yesterday while taking a walk (which I did in part to get the creative juices flowing), and as much as I like the idea, I think it still might be too small. In the end, though, I need more ideas and as much as just staring at a blank drawing board can be frustratingly unproductive, an hour spent with a notebook in hand is better than a night spent without even trying. The routine you find yourself in can be essential to your writing process, and I know that by forcing myself to sit with a pen and paper for an hour, no matter how much my mind might want to wander, but focusing and concentrating I will eventually come up with something (even if it's just the fuel that sparks an idea while I'm on the train to work the next day).