September 4, 2014 at 6:51PM

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I can't write anything from my ideas! (help!)

I have written a bunch of ideas for videos, but I can't think of any ideas that will make any of them into a story that I want to film.
Is there anything that I can do that will help me improve in this area?

6 Comments

Okay, just to make sure I'm understanding this...your issue is that you've come up with a lot of ideas for videos, but don't consider any of them worth going through the process of filming?

If so, that's pretty common for any type of writer. Ideas and concepts are cheap and a dime a dozen. The trick is to come up with something you're passionate about and want to invest the time into making happen. If you're not head-over-heels for the story, don't try to force it to happen, much less expect other people to like it if you don't.

I suggest writing around what you know and love, or things that have caused strong emotions (good or bad) in your life. If you're still coming up blank, maybe go outside and have some more life experiences to draw from! Good luck in your pursuits.

September 4, 2014 at 7:07PM

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Samuel Neff
DP / Editor
675

Thank you! this answered my question perfectly!

September 4, 2014 at 7:21PM

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David Cunningham
freelance filmmaker/photographer
221

I'm glad to hear it! Cheers.

September 4, 2014 at 7:29PM

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Samuel Neff
DP / Editor
675

It's hard to answer your question without knowing more specifics, but one thing that has really helped me grow as a storyteller is to just go do it. Fincher said something like, "around the time I finish a film, I feel like I'm prepared to make it." My translation: Make your movies, and the process will teach you what you need to know. Once you've finished a film, you'll know what you needed to do in the beginning to make it great. Take that knowledge and use it on the next project.

September 4, 2014 at 7:23PM

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Douglas Henderson
Director/Writer/Producer/Actor
949

I think Douglas is right on this one - the process of actually making something (and this counts for writing too) is utterly unpredictable and teaches you an enormous amount that can't be learned any other way. Samuel's advice is good - it helps if you feel engaged about the subject - but at the same time, it sounds like you just need to get your teeth into anything - even if it's as an exercise. Once you've made that step and actually completed (for example) a finished feature script, you'll find that other ideas start to come a lot easier.

For my first feature script, I came up with a basic idea - plotted it out in a fairly standard way - then forced myself to write it over the course of 15 days (around 8 pages a day, for the first draft). Regardless of the quality of the script (it was horseshit), the process of doing it taught me a huge amount, and I've since written 5 others and just directed my first feature from one of those scripts. Sometimes it doesn't matter what the idea is - it's more important just to force yourself to do something, and learn from it as you go.

If you're at a loss where to start, there's 1001 books on screenwriting (many of which are diabolical...) - but you can always use the simplest formula in the world: 'X wants something. Y is standing in their way'...!

September 5, 2014 at 10:49AM

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Alex Richardson
Director
3427

It sounds to me like you're editing/censoring yourself before you've even started the race. This happens to many creatives, especially writers (who are more often than not their worst critics). There's a time to sit back and judge ones work and that is during the re-writing phase i.e. AFTER you have a completed 1st draft.

You kind of have to give yourself permission to write and especially, write what will probably suck. That's ok, know that 99.9% of first drafts (even from professional writers) usually suck. It really is as simple as just sitting down and writing, see what happens, be open to the organic side of the process. You may start off writing a hardboiled film noir and then by the end have a comedy - that's ok too. Structure, plot, character, theme, dialogue, all of these important elements can be re-written and improved upon as you develop the piece. Without having something tangible, something that has some form of beginning, middle, end, it's hard to know what to rewrite.

So get writing. I guarantee that even if you only write 4pgs in an entire day there will be something worth building upon.

September 5, 2014 at 3:57PM

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Neil Every
Writer/Director/Story Consultant
203

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