Filmmaking is a hobby enjoyed by many people all over the world. Some do it on a large scale, while others do it more casually when they have the time. People can make short movies on any topic they want, and use a variety of gear. They can shoot on film and convert 8mm to digital or even use their phone to capture the action.
Filmmakers need to take time to think about how long their movie is, come up with a good script and find the right people to help and star in the movie. But one of the most important things for any movie is the content itself. The actual story, characters, plot and settings that viewers will see on the screen.
A filmmaker needs ideas for what will happen in their movie, but these ideas can be notoriously hard to come by. It can take weeks or months for many filmmakers to make progress on their movie. In an effort to help, this blog post is going to go over how to come up with some unique and high-quality ideas for your short movie.
Look to Your Life for Inspiration
One of the best sources of information is to look at your own life. If you write what you know, it can flow easily and often be much simpler to tell a story. You don’t need to write your movie about your life exactly, but don’t hesitate to borrow some important elements. This could be a person you know, a past heartbreak you suffered from or a silly situation you once found yourself in.
Of course, be sure to change certain things to either protect people, add dramatic effects or simply make the story a little more interesting. Using your life for inspiration is one of the best ways to truly connect with your story and ensure that you let your voice shine through.
Think About Current Events
Current events going on around the world or even your city are another good source of inspiration. There are newsworthy stories and stories worth telling all over the world at all times, and you just need to find them. Simply opening yourself up to the world more can allow the inspiration to flow more successfully.
Read the news every day, search for stories on social media and simply listen to what people are talking about and what is going on in their lives. Plenty of movies are made using inspiration from current events, and not everything needs to be completely original from your own mind.
Also, if you make a film on something that is already news or well-known throughout the world, it can often be easier for them to connect with and appreciate the work you are doing.
Visit Unique and Inspiring Locations
Some locations just breed creativity and inspiration, and visiting these can help you come up with the right idea for your story. No matter where you live, you aren’t that far away from somewhere that can inspire you. This could be a mountain range, a beautiful lake, a great piece of architecture or anything in between.
Also, the people at these inspiring locations often have stories to share that can inspire you, as well. Don’t hesitate to talk to the people around you to find even more inspiration. Of course, if you decide you want to actually film your short movie at these locations, be sure to be aware of the laws and what is required of you in order to do it safely and legally.
Start With Something Singular and Expand From There
When many filmmakers work, they put too much pressure on themselves from the start. They try to create the whole movie at once and think through everything. This can be overwhelming, and often lead to mixed results. Instead, consider starting with something singular, and then expanding from that.
This could be a prop, person, location or even a single idea. You may even decide to start with the ending of the film, and then build out the story of how you get there later on. This can make things much easier at the beginning, and allow you to take time to build out the story from that one idea or piece of information.
Another great way to come up with unique ideas is to use freewriting. Freewriting is all about writing without any kind of structure or goal. You simply sit down, and don’t stop writing. Write about whatever is in your head and what you are thinking about, short movie-related or not.
This allows your thoughts and inspiration to flow freely and can be great for those who are suffering from writer’s block. It can help you find truly unexpected and unique inspiration, as this form of writing doesn’t stifle creativity in the slightest.
You don’t need much to begin freewriting, simply a pen and paper or your computer. It can feel awkward at first, but is a truly special way to find inspiration when you are struggling with the other methods. The more you practice, the more effective your future sessions will become.
Look at Existing Media
As a filmmaker, you are likely a fan of other films, TV shows and documentaries. There is nothing wrong with looking to existing media for inspiration. You might find some themes, character traits and other aspects of these films that will fit well with what you are trying to do.
Of course, if you do this, it is important not to plagiarize at all, and get written and official consent if you decide to use elements from other films. Don’t take the whole character or theme, and be sure to add your own unique twist and personality to ensure it is yours.
As you can see, there are many different tactics and techniques that you can use to come up with creative ideas for your next movie.