Most writers like to carry notebooks around, so they can make notes on things they see and then take those notes back to home base to be spun into gold.
Streamline. Cut the middle step. Why carry around blank pieces of nothing in the hope of maybe turning them into jumbled pieces of still nothing, but with the added benefit of that nothing being confusing? Ideas are fine. But, you can’t sell an idea. (Trust me, I’ve tried.) You sell scripts. “What do you do, Kevin Hall?”
We carry a notebook around, but we put the ideas in first! Preapproved Kevin Hall templates for a wide range of cinematic brilliance. Genre film ideas, teen angst ideas, ideas about what it means to be a black man in Los Angeles. This way, when we see something interesting, we merely plug it into the appropriate template and am left with nothing in my notebook but movie magic.
Here are a few examples:
(We just want you to know that I’m breaking my own rule here. We never let anyone see my templates. Please be advised that we have registered many completed versions of these templates with the Writers Guild of America, and know many high-level entertainment lawyers willing to take you to court should your movie too closely resemble any of this. Thank you for your understanding.)
When the [last name]s accidentally witness a [shady organization] murder, they must flee their extravagant lives in [extravagant city] and hide out in [not very extravagant town]! Will they be able to adapt to this new way of life? Will [shady organization] find them? Coming this summer, it’s: [title].
When professional [career] [male first and last name] is caught [something illegal], the judge sentences him to teach a ragtag group of inner city kids how to [something that ties in with his career]. Will the typically standoffish [male] warm to these new students? Will the inner city kids learn that [thing they all like to do] is just another way to [thing male teaches them]? Coming this summer, it’s: [title].
When [girl name] goes on a camping trip with her [girl’s organization] friends, she has no idea what awaits. After a [disaster] wipes out their campground, the girls flee to a nearby cabin. Hoping to finish their night of [drinking, smoking, sex, or all of that stuff]. One by one the girls go missing. Who is killing them? Why are they being murdered? Who could have predicted the [ghost or zombie body] of their former classmate would come back and seek revenge for [terrible thing to do to a girl] using only a [unconventional weapon]? Coming this summer, it’s: [title].
Former [awesome military style job] [male name] lives a quiet life in the suburbs. Soon to be married to his high school sweetheart, [male name] seems to have it all. Except for one problem. His future wife’s kids, [a girl, a boy, and another girl] hate him. Plus, [organization for his military kind of thing] has called him back into duty for one more mission. Not to mention the fact that his nemesis, [villain], has found his location and kidnapped the kids! How will he get the kids back before his fiancé returns from her [reason fiancé left]? Will he destroy [villain] once and for all? Will [organization] ever let him retire? Coming this summer, it’s: [title].
So, there you have it. A few templates to play with. Keep them in your pocket, and when you see a really great male name or strike upon a really fun place for extravagant people to hide, you’ll be able to plug them in and craft your own original piece of material. (As an added favor to you, we chose the concepts we felt would be most marketable.)
Don’t think of ideas. Think of scripts.