Inside out/upside down is a sophisticated, and yet largely unknown, brainstorming technique. I first heard the phrase “turn it inside out and upside down” when I was in a producer’s office for a pitch session. I found out what he was referring to after the meeting.

The first of the five requirements to achieve a High-Concept idea is that the story has to be original and unique. Even though that requirement is the hardest to meet, it does not involve the reinvention of the wheel. What it means is to take the main storyline that already exists in another film and turn it on its head. Change a few key elements of another story to transform it to something different.

For example, change the protagonists from men to women, young to old, ethnicity, etc. The location can be altered from urban to rural or even jungle. You can also play with the the genre. If the original film was a drama, change it to a comedy. If the genre was an adventure film before, try making it a horror movie. Take what has been presented before in one manner and transform it to a way that hasn’t been seen before.

The term “half-baked idea” does not mean what you think it does. Traditionally speaking, half-baked has meant something that hasn’t been completely thought out. It has been hastily put together and has obvious flaws. However, in the world of High Concept, a half-baked idea is something that has merit but has not been fully developed. And that idea deserves further work to fully bake it and make it work.

Remember, if you receive “half baked” as note, it’s actually a positive rather than a negative comment.


Read Steve on Screenwriting by Steve Kaire once a month on Write On! Online. Kaire is a screenwriter/pitchman who’s sold eight projects to the major studios on spec without representation. For more from Steve Kaire, check out his CD: “High Concept-How to Create, Pitch & Sell to Hollywood and website.



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