Hey, so whenever I have an idea for a film or a short film, I can only ever get as far as maybe the first two minutes? Even if I have this whole massive concept in my head, I can only ever get the first two minutes down on paper. Either that or I literally don't know what will happen after those two minutes. Do you have any advice on how to combat this as some of my ideas I really want to film, but if I don't have a solid idea to pitch to actors then it's not going to go anywhere
I think a lot of people have this problem and have no fear, there is a solution! Prewriting. Yes, it’s a thing, and it consists of all the steps that happen before the first draft. It includes outlining, storyboarding, worldbuilding, diagramming, character bios, etc.
The goal of prewriting is to not get stuck when writing your draft. If you outline your story, flesh out your characters, and develop your world, it makes the first draft SO much easier because you know the story direction and you know how your characters react to others and to situations.
Going deeper into prewriting, there are lots of methods to develop and come up with ideas. Below are a few techniques:
-Mind mapping. With this technique, you start with one idea and “branch” off of it to expand the idea and come up with related ideas. This is useful when you have a small idea and you want to build it into something coherent. Below is an example I found online.
-Build characters. This is very common when creating tv shows. Because TV is a more long-term medium, it tends to be character driven. Therefore, some writers build their characters first then simply “drop” them into different situations. Using this method, you’ve got to develop your characters’ backgrounds, know their goals, wants, and needs, give them flaws, and have some aspect of their personality cause conflict. (For example, the strict, pessimistic professor has to work with a carefree and optimistic TA. Conflicting personalities are interesting.)
-Worldbuilding. This is especially helpful when you are developing an idea involving a fictional/fantasy world. Write down questions about the world and come up with different answers for each. Where are the cities? How does geography affect culture? How and why do different cultures interact? Etc. From this world you can create history and pick from that history the most interesting stories.(Tolkien did this.)
-Sticky notes or separate lines. This is more for brainstorming. For each idea you have, put it on a separate line of a notebook or on a separate sticky note. When trying to work out a plot or character, sticky notes are nice because you can visualize, organize, and rearrange all the separate pieces. For brainstorming fresh ideas, I carry a notebook with me and write down one sentence ideas that pop into my head. It can be anything from an interesting concept, to a quote, to a character, to a piece of furniture you thought looked cool.
-Outline. This is the part of prewriting I stress the most. You need to know who is doing what, when, and why. These are the questions an outline should answer at the very least. Even people who don’t outline every detail of their story still have a basic idea where it is going. By outlining your story, you can always refer to it when you are stuck on a scene and ask how the scene gets toward the end, or changes the character or situation.
-Force yourself to write. Sit down with a computer or notebook for a set amount of time (maybe just 5 min. a day.) You aren’t allowed to do anything else for that time other than write. Maybe you won’t write anything, but if you keep doing it, you are going to feel as if time is wasted and you will eventually write something. It also keeps you thinking everyday about writing ideas and keeps you creatively active.
I hope these help,