There’s a brainstorming session in the near future. The prospect of farming some new concepts is very exciting. The possibilities limited only to the extent of our combined imaginations. Where will we go? Who will we meet? What will we do?
When we first began working together, nearly four years ago, we brainstormed a list of concepts from which we could withdraw at any time. There were eight concepts on the original list. We’ve written one, dropped and added some since. We think of the list as a bank account to be drawn upon when times are lean. Everything we’ve written since the first screenplay was conceived in subsequent brainstorming sessions.
You’re not supposed to shoot down ideas in a brainstorming session. Writing everything down. When there’s only two people, you can’t do that. Takes too much time and becomes a distraction to creativity. We follow a ‘free-flowing lateral conversation’ approach. We talk about whatever comes to mind. It doesn’t matter to us if our conversations don’t seem to have anything to do with a screenplay concept. Everything is a potential concept. Think about anything but a concept and a concept will come to you, through you.
Once we latch on to something of interest, we start asking each other a series of questions. With the sum of our popular knowledge, we need to determine if the concept is original. If it’s not, we throw it away. We throw storyline ideas around the concept. We devise potential resolutions. If we can’t think of a dynamic conclusion, we usually turf the idea. On rare occasions we might resuscitate an idea, if a compelling conclusion occurs to either of us at a later time. We never work on a project unless it has a solid ending. So many good stories are ruined with weak resolutions.
We devise a few concepts with rough story lines and resolutions and pitch them to a few people. Different people usually react the same way to the same stories. One of the three concepts will illicit a response which will prompt us to work on it. If we didn’t get the response we were hoping for, we’d start over.