Writing Story Concepts at London Screenwriters Festival

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I just came back from a weekend at the London Screenwriters Festival.  One of the highlights for me was Scott Myers’ session  about story concepts. Scott Myers is a screenwriting teacher and guru from LA. He runs his own website and blog about 30 things about screenwriting, which aslo links through to loads of interesting websites and comments. ( see the link)  In his session, he suggested  coming up with a story idea for a month, as it is the hook or concept that is key. There is no judgement on these.  One idea he suggested was to replace

The BLANK from hell:

eg The nurse from hell (Nurse Ratchet in ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’)

The travel companion from hell (‘Trains Planes and Automobiles’)

The Mistress from hell (‘Fatal Attraction’)

I had a go at coming up with concepts for features for 15 minutes  the other day, and it wasn’t that hard to come up with concepts, even if they weren’t great. As Julia Cameron says:  never mind the quality, think about the quantity!

 He added, that its important later to  assess how good your concept is. This is what my notes from the session summarised of what he said:

  1. Does it have a GRAB – are others grabbed by the idea, and are you grabbed by it?
  2. Does it have an indicator of the general direction it will take  – will people enjoy the ride ( and will you enjoy the ride?
  3.  Who is the audience – what is it like? For example I have a film idea about a hen trip and I might compare it to The Hangover, Bridesmaids, and My Best Friend’s Wedding.
  4. Is it big enough to be a movie, emotionally and psychologically ( and is it big enough for me? Does the story resonate with me?
  5. What is the log line, or premise? Who is the protagonist, what do they want, what stops them? what do we hope and fear? He recommends getting this down to 6 words!                                     Here is his link to 30 things to consider about screenwriting https://gointothestory.blcklst.com/30-things-about-screenwriting-ee025a9f29d4