After I find an idea that I’m really interested in pursuing I start building a foundation for the story. This applies to a short story or a short script. I’ve found that brainstorming around an idea can be very helpful. For example, in collaborating with a couple of other filmmakers I needed to develop a suspense / thriller script. I pitched a number of ideas to the filmmaking team and they were interested in an idea for a psychological thriller. I never wrote that type of script before. After the pitch meeting I didn’t really know where to start, so I found some writing time and put on one of my favorite albums from the band, Godflesh.
As I listened to the music I started writing down images of what I would like to see in the film. I wasn’t worried about the budget or if we could accomplish any of the shots. I needed to start building a bank of ideas for a starting point.
Within a half hour, I had about six pages of notes for things that would fit a psychological thriller film. There were a handful ideas that fit the genre, but didn’t necessarily fit the film. I felt like I was in uncharted writing territory, so this was very helpful.
As I started developing the characters and story ideas for the script, this bank of ideas helped me break the story of the film. In addition, when I started writing scenes, I had a bank of images I could look to for inspiration.