Set your timer for ten minutes. Write down FIVE novel or movie concepts in logline form (one sentence describing each idea). You must get down five ideas within the time allotted. Polishing the loglines afterward is optional.
I did this recently and came up with the following:
- Comedy/Coming of Age: A teenager drops out of high school and heads out to find the Dalai Lama and ask him the meaning of life.
- Action/Adventure: An amnesiac woman in a bathrobe and fuzzy bunny slippers shows up on Dave’s doorstep – but she isn’t what she appears to be, as the gunmen who soon follow confirm.
- Action/Comedy/Fantasy: The Sonoran Desert trickster, Coyote, takes on a man’s form to halt the urban sprawl invading his environment, but only endangers his home further as spiritual seekers gather to ask him existential questions.
- Comedy/Action: Ellie’s father died years ago, or that’s what she thought until he shows up at the reading of her mother’s will – as a zombie.
- Action/Adventure: Deep in the forest, a lost hiker comes across a strange civilization, a group of alien “grays” running from persecution.
I’m not sure if I’ll use these, though I’m very intrigued by a couple of them, especially #3 (it may even be my next movie project), but this exercise shows how when pressed, the mind can come up with all sorts of crazy ideas, ideas that might turn out to be unique and promising.
Also, each idea could go a number of different ways. For example, I put Action/Adventure on #5, but what if I changed that to Comedy? It would be a completely different movie.
If you have time to give this exercise a try, I’d love to hear how it worked for you!