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Magnus's avatar

Have you ever gotten a great idea for a movie?

Asked by Magnus (2860points) October 5th, 2008 from iPhone

You don’t have to tell me the idea. Just what you did with it. Did you write it down? Did you make it into a script? How long did you go with it? Are you still working on it? Is it normal to think you have the best idea in the world and nobody would ever think about the same thing? Because that’s how I feel now.

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19 Answers

augustlan's avatar

Do yourself a favor and write that script now! My ex-husband and I had an idea for a comedy involving a husband and wife switching bodies (think Freaky Friday), and the man being pregnant. We started writing it, but our motivation kind of fizzled, and we didn’t stick to it. Not too long after, a movie came out with a pregnant man (Arnold Schwartzenegger – can’t remember the title). After that, we felt like “meh, why bother.” Do it now!

JackAdams's avatar

That’s part of the way I earn my living.

I create movie ideas, then sell them to other writers.

willbrawn's avatar

I had a great idea for a drama, the movie was called “Within a Lifetime” and its about a girl that deals with the tradegy of Columbine High School, plus other stuff in her life. I ended up making a teaser trailer for it baised on flash’s of the character and scene’s from the actual Columbine tradegy.

It was fun, never had a full script though. Someday i might actually finish writing in. Then make another teaser trailer.

Magnus's avatar

Are you seriuos Jack? Please elaborate, who do I contact? And if I tell them my idea and they don’t like it, how are you sure that they won’t use it anyway?

judochop's avatar

I had an idea once for Death-Proof car….Well I don’t know if any of you have seen it but Tarantino made a movie pretty much like to detail the same way I would have. I have a huge crush on car movies and Rosario Dawson and Kurt Russel plays the best psycho stunt man ever. Le sigh….I would have at the very least made the banter more interesting and I would like to think that I would have also included a gang of hell chicks who drove super reinforced 1950 Mercury’s shaped like bullets that shot flames and possibly a sidekick mechanic for the stunt man who drives a tow-truck that spits tacks on the road and pushes about 1000hp. There is SO much more that could have been done. Death Race 2000 meets Mad Max meets The Fast and Furious.

JackAdams's avatar

Magnus: Yes, I am as serious as a heart attack. I’ll tell you what I have told others, who wish to do what I am doing.

When you create an idea for a motion picture, the most important thing you need to do, is prove beyond any and all doubt, that you thought of the idea, first. Here are some ways you can accomplish that:

1. Take your idea to the Post Office, buy a first-clas stamp, place a stamp on each sheet of your idea, then ask the postal clerk to cancel the stamp in front of you. S/he will do that, and the cancelled stamp on your sheet(s) will give you date proof that you thought of the idea, first.

2. Place your idea inside two separate envelopes and mail both of them to yourself, via certified mail, return receipt requested.

When you get them, make sure that at least one of them never gets opened, except in a courtroom, in front of a judge and jury. That will also supply date proof that you thought of something, before anyone else.

3. Apply for a formal copyright with the US Government. That will afford you protection and proof.

4. The best way (besides a formal copyright), is via the Writer’s Guild of America. There is a $20 charge for having your work registered with them (if you are not a member), and I can assure you that it is worth every nickel.

I hope that my advice is helpful to you, and “Break a leg!”

Magnus's avatar

Thanks Jack. Now, when you say idea, do you mean a well written synopsis of the story, or could it be a mess of notes, ideas for scenes whatever but with the real idea of the movie clearly stated?

JackAdams's avatar

You need to submit a formal synopsis of the story idea, which is crystal clear, so there is no doubt in anyone’s mind exactly what you mean, and so that no one can steal your idea.

kevbo's avatar

About a year ago, I had an idea to write a movie about a “wayward terrorist” who comes to the United States as part of a terrorist cell, but in between the time of his arrival and the delivery of his orders to strike a target (you know, over a period of a year or two or whatever), he falls in love with an American woman and emerges from his background of poverty and ignorance (assuming that he was indoctrinated into terrorism as a result of his low socio-economic status) to learn to love American values and freedoms and liberation found in American culture. The climax was something along the lines of realizing that his girlfriend or girlfriend’s warm and loving family would be caught in the crosshairs of the evil plot that is handed to him and he has to choose between his suicide mission and the promise of a new life and love. Making the choice for his love and his new country, he’d then have to hunt down his partners in crime and neutralize the catastrophic plan.

Then I started researching terrorism and found a presentation online (similar to this) given by some military researcher guy which said that “ignorance and poverty” doesn’t fit the terrorist profile and that most have advanced degrees and are highly intelligent and skilled. Then I did some more research and learned that the War on Terror is pretty much a fraud. Then I did some more research and learned that the ways that Americans typically idolize the country is also somewhat propagandizing if not fraudulent (for example, we are “spreading democracy.”)

Since I’m not interested in using my talent to propagate lies, I abandoned the idea despite how good it still sounds as a story. Maybe if I flip-flop the Muslim terrorist character for a young U.S. recruit who comes from a background of poverty and ignorance (so unlikely, I know) it would work.

dalepetrie's avatar

I had an idea, but I’ll give it up here as I have no interest in trying to flush it out (I have ideas I may well do something with, I’ll keep them in my head for now). I thought once could create a movie entitled “90 Minutes of Sex, Violence, Nudity and Unnecessary Profanity,” and as long as you gave the audience what you’d promised, you’d have a hit on your hands. The movie practically writes itself. Let the guys who do all those horrible movies with the word “Movie” in the title (Date Movie, Epic Movie, Superhero Movie, Disaster Movie, etc.)....they’re used to writing movies with absolutely no plot or even reason to justify their existence.

eatmunky's avatar

It happens to me all the time. Usually I’ll be listening to a certain album, and i’ll have an idea that it sort of becomes the soundtrack for. Like for Sigur Ros’s Takk I had this whole winter/wolf/poor farmer fantasy world type thing. The ideas are usually awesome in my head, with the things i visualize, and certain shots, or names for characters.

I had this other one with three friends that find a homeless woman giving birth, and they take her to the hospital and she dies during childbirth, and they’re forced to figure out what to do with the baby. Kind of a parable of the three magi, (I was thinking of naming them Goldberg, Frank, and Murray. Ha! I’m so clever. gold, frankincense and myrrh.) I had beautiful shot ideas, and parts that would go great with the songs i was listening to, but beyond that I never really flesh out a whole plot.

The problem I always have is whenever I try to explain them to someone, I realize there’s no way to explain them without sounding like an idiot. So i give up on them…

deaddolly's avatar

I think of ideas all the time. As soon as my daughter graduates from film school…maybe I’ll be famous!

dalepetrie's avatar

deaddolly – I don’t know why I thought of this just now, but you mentioned your daughter in film school and I know you’re from Milwaukee and I know you like movies and horror, and I guess I just got the association of someone making their own horror movie in Milwaukee, and it made me wonder…have you ever seen the movie “American Movie”? It’s these two guys, one is a REAL burnout and the other is this hyperkinetic film geek who is obsessed with making his own independent horror movie called “Coven”. The movie basically follows these two real “winners” around Milwaukee while they make their low budget indie horror movie. One of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen, if you’ve never seen it, check it out, and if you have, I’m betting you liked it.

deaddolly's avatar

@dale No, haven’t seen it. I will def look for it. Thanks!

shadling21's avatar

Ah, American Movie. Wrote a paper on that one.

I’m a film student, too. If you guys want, you can sell give ME your ideas!
…As long as I can use them in class ;)

gadfly's avatar

After watching Garden State, I was convinced I could piece together a screenplay that was more coherent and viable than that piece of tripe.

So I did.

Was it good? No. Was it better than Garden State? Undoubtedly.

rockstargrrrlie's avatar

Yeah, I think that’s why I went to film school.

Lovelocke's avatar

Short answer: Yes, and that’s why I didn’t go to film school, instead I started making movies. I taught a film workshop in Dubai this summer… “accomplished”? Moreso than I thought I would have been. Time to go full swing? Oh yes. Working on two scripts at once.

hitomi's avatar

When I was in Middle School my friends and I started working on writing a script for a fake scary movie….In other words….Scary Movie….When Scary Movie came out I was really annoyed that I didn’t manage to get anything out of having that idea. Especially since they’ve managed to turn that into an entire industry.

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