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High concept can leave plenty of room for originality and character. In fact, the best high-concept stories feature characters we care and cheer for. In Kramer vs. Kramer, we want to see Ted Kramer love his son and fight for him. In Master and Commander, we want Captain Jack Aubrey to win that sea battle and save the British from defeat. Our favorite heroes are ordinary people moved to do extraordinary things (Ted Kramer), or extraordinary people with abilities beyond our own (Harry Potter). The hero's conflict usually involves both internal and external conflict. Other examples of high concepts that are strong in character are Almost Famous and Rain Man.
While action films and other big-budget blockbusters are high concept, guns, car chases, and explosions aren't obligatory. High concept is at home in every genre: romantic comedies (Sleepless in Seattle), animation (Chicken Run), thrillers (The Silence of the Lambs), indies (Blair Witch Project), classics (Gone with the Wind), and chick flicks (Thelma and Louise). Television, of course, abounds with high concepts: Kojak, The West Wing, The Sopranos.