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Indie Film - Step One: The Idea

Updated on December 3, 2015

I'm too young to look this old!

Makeup from one of my projects.
Makeup from one of my projects.

First rule of Write Club, DO talk about Write Club!

The first step, on any journey, is toward the rest room. Because you know I'm going to tell you you should have gone before we left.

Now, with that out of the way, we will take our next step, which we will call the first step, just so we don't have to rename this entry.

The first thing ANY movie needs is--TA DA--an idea.

it doesn't have to be an elaborate idea (Speed 2: Cruise Control) or a good idea (NOT Speed 2: Cruise Control), but it does have to be some kind of idea which can be put into the shape of a DVD (other acceptable shapes are VHS, Blue-Ray, and any shapes found in M. C. Escher paintings, but NOT those of M. C. Hammer).

But, RG, how do I get one of these elusive, Block Buster Movie ideas, you may ask. And I say, "You got five bucks? I'll tell you!" No, unfortunately I cannot charge you for this information. It may prove to be completely useless and I don't need a lot of people asking for their money back!

The way you get an idea for a movie is--wait for it...



Use your brain!

I know it's a stretch, but hundreds of people do it every month.

Sit down and...

I said sit down.

NO? OK, then stand, I don't care! As long as you are able to engage the gray matter and rub two synapses together to come up with a list of things you really like to do, hear, or watch.

Focus on something that you would like to have a part in and see what comes of brainstorming ideas about the subject. Invite friends over to help. There's nothing wrong with sitting down over a few (many) beers (drink responsibly (but fast)) and play around with what might make a good movie.

Some of my ideas have come while walking through the library or book store. Many have come to me while listening to music or at the video rental place. I'm not paid to write Blockbuster's name so I'm not going to use Blockbuster's name unless by writing Blockbuster a lot in these paragraphs, they will decide to send me ungodly amounts of money for promoting them as a wonderful place to rent videos at reasonable prices at all of their many conveniently located locations. So, Blockbuster, just remember that!

There is nothing wrong with using an existing piece for your inspiration or adapting it to your own, new creation. Remember that there are licensing and copyright issues. You don't want to take Titanic and remake it now. But you can take Titanic and, as in the case of a funny Filipino film, make a NEW movie and call it Tatay Nick. (Tatay means Dad in Filipino.)

You can take Spider Man and make a parody of it as in the Filipino film Gagamboy (translated from Tagalog (Filipino) and meaning Spider Boy). Ahhh. Good times.

Always do your due divergence when using another piece of intellectual property as inspiration for your own.

You never really know where inspiration will leap out and try to give you an infarction!

Your idea may start with seeing a really neat building that you feel simply MUST have a story in it. (By the way, don't try to break in and see if you can find the story--unless you want to write a prison drama and are looking for first-hand experience, then by all means...) You might see an outfit you just have to have...I mean which looks really cool and would fit a super hero character. You might even be reading a PUBLIC DOMAIN book of some kind and want to make it into a movie. Whatever you find works for you, do it!

So, now that you have your idea, you want to flesh it out and see if there really is a story in your subject.

Can you think of anything useful to do with the situation? Can you think of an interesting course for your character to follow. What are some interesting conflicts and challenges that can present themselves in your movie?

All of this is considered in the next step...The Script!


I have been working on a new film recently (2015). It's been a tough go. I had all of my actors and all of the necessary crew.

Sadly, there was an issue which lost me three actors all at once and I even had to start rewriting the script because I couldn't find actors to fill the roles again.

I've decided to do a crowdfunding program instead.

I am making the trailer to add to the campaign so that possible investors (the public) will be more willing to contribute to the movie.

I've learned a lot from previous campaigns I even wrote a bit about it in a Hub.

I really think that this film will do well. I'm going to be releasing it on iTunes and the Google Play Store and others. I also will be working at getting a theatrical release ASAP. More on that subject in a new Hub.

I even was able to get Jon Bailey, the voice of Honest Trailers, to do the narration for the trailer.

It's going to be great. Remember! If you can conceive it and believe it, you can achieve it!

But onto a bit of info that is more along the lines of THIS Hub.

I was at a radio station recording for an amateur theater group with which I work and talking to a young, Japanese student who was doing sound for us.

She agreed to do the ADR voice over for my film, Akumu, and, after we finished, we began talking about other projects.

I was developing an adventure story about a tour group that got shipwrecked on a deserted island, but found out it wasn't quite deserted.

I asked the student what her favorite kind of film was and she said 'romantic comedy.'

I'd never tried to write one, but the adventure film turned into a romantic comedy with a really nice twist.

From that I began doing research into the islands of the San Juans, the customs of the Japanese people, and also began studying romantic comedies.

I used The Writer's Dream Kit to create the characters, plot points, and scenes and then began fleshing out the script in Movie Magic Screenwriter.

After a while, I had the timeline set for all the major plot points and for the twists which, I think, make the story unique and very interesting.

I'm hoping that I can use my own advice to make this movie as good as I see it in my head!

Of course, the images to the right are not from that project (Shipwrecked), but are from my previous film (Akumu) which is finally close to being finished (thanks, in a LARGE part, to Misa, the a fore mentioned Japanese student).

Life does get in the way of passion sometimes, but with focus and desire, you can follow your passions and stay happy with yourself and life in general.

I'm happy to say that my passion for the creative arts is coming along better now and I look forward to finishing my projects and seeing your projects completed too!

Best wishes!


Do you think you hae a good idea for a movie?

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Hollywood, CA:
Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA, USA

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You don't have to be here to make a movie!


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