Thursday, September 8, 2011

An idea is not a story

An idea is not a story.

"A scientist clones dinosaurs" is not a story.

"Cloned dinosaurs run amok when the safeguards of their carefully controlled bio-preserve are sabotaged" is a story.

Don't write an entire script about an idea. Write a story.

That is all.


  1. Don't you love when somebody tells you they have a super-secret hush-hush can't -miss screenplay idea and they will bequeath it to you for sixty percent of the profits and all you have to do is write it? Hey Bitter! Here's a great idea - a time machine that runs on Oreo cookies. What are you waiting on? That's gold! Now go invent it!

  2. We just had this discussion, no? Well, I welcome it again because it's worth repeating.

    Love the ideas I get from people.

    "What if you wrote a story about a robot that shops in department stores?"

    "You should write a story about a superhero."

    "I was thinking of this story about a guy that gets rich. I think it would be a nice story."

    These are actual serious ideas presented to me in the past couple years. It goes without saying that I no longer communicate with any of the three people that made these suggestions.

    I'm hijacking your blog, Bitter. Please, readers of Bitter Script Reader, share with us other amazing ideas given to you!

  3. So - my idea about a woman who's cursed to turn into a man every month instead of having a period, is going through menopause, is a virgin in love with her best friend whom she always wrongly thought was gay, and finds out if she doesn't break the curse before her menopause is over she'll be a man for the rest of her life and the curse will continue to plague her nieces and their daughters isn't a story?

    (And for the record, Carlos, I'll let anyone steal my ideas if they promise to let me audition for a song on the soundtrack/a scene where you need a live singer who does older type music in any movie they sell. No money required. If it tempts you, I also have an idea for one where Hugh Grant plays a math genius who has a thing for fat women and goes a bit balmy when his father, who should be played by Alan Rickman - having the same fattie fetish - starts dating Hugh's boss' overweight and much younger daughter....)

    You know, I have way too much time on my hands.

  4. Haha. That is so true. When I first wanted to write a script I thought to myself, alright I have a cool twist so I have a movie. So. Wrong.

  5. I had this idea about stories first. I am therefore suing you for imaginary copyright infringement, for an imaginary $11,000,000.

    I could share the worst idea for a screenplay that ever came out of my website (thank goodness, the guy in question is long gone), but it's so out there I'm not sure I should subject it to anyone - let's just say it was a dystopian near-future idea, where a certain sexual preference had been outlawed (cue cack-handed Final Solution metaphors by the bucketload), but the biggest controversy came from the relationship between two characters that broke just about every taboo in this world and the next (and the one after that).

  6. Jami, I think the woman in your story should find a way to make that wrongly assumed gay man gay so that if she remains a man, she can still be with the love of her life. Everyone wins.

    Monster Zero...Actually, forget it. Let's pretend that never happened.