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Thursday, January 8, 2009

Okay, Not This. TOTALLY Not This!

So the other day - wow a lot of my posts begin that way - tell me if the Rouge Wave descends into what I had for lunch and I'll have myself taken away to farm...oh dear, where was I? Oh yes, hung out with a dear friend who was utterly stumped with a very good problem on her hands. Her manager sent her to a meeting and at that meeting a producer threw her a premise and asked for her to work up a "take" on it. That means she is to write a treatment and submit it to see if she might get the job of writing the script. She's a good writer but this premise is just one half-step to the left of what she usually writes. And she was stumped.

So over coffee (it wasn't yet 5pm), we brainstormed about the premise until she wound up with enough ideas and inspirations to write her "take."

Remember the video I posted here some time ago...?

As my friend and I were brainstorming we said to each other, referring to the video above, not this but - well, NOT this but what IF - and when we were able to playfully enter the zone of ridiculous ideas and laughter, slowly, out of that arose some really great ideas.

You can brainstorm with anybody. Yes, it definitely helps if your brainstorm partner knows a little something about character, structure and film but they don't HAVE to - maybe you have a friend or your spouse or a fellow writing group member who would be willing to brainstorm with you. The only thing you should remember while brainstorming is that you are looking for ideas of all sorts but you are also looking for significant act break beats. Sometimes brainstorming sessions can descend into free form spitballing and you can get a bit swept away in an avalanche. Remember to grab a tree now and then so that you can write down ideas that actually do hold down the bit of your script that you're looking to pinpoint as jumping off points. Somebody has to be the designated driver - wait, wait - what is the INCITING INCIDENT?

Brainstorm playfully and often. It's good for your writerly soul.

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1 comment:

Phil D said...

Couldn't agree more! Brainstorming is so useful. I spent a very enjoyable evening last night doing just that with a group of friends. One or two interesting ideas came out of the exercise, and we had a great laugh too.