High Concept And Creativity

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High Concept And Creativity

Coming up with a powerful high concept idea is a creative challenge that can actually improve your writing. The process forces you to hone your story. You have to get really clear on what it's about and what makes it unique and worth telling.

For example, a buddy film about two homicide detectives after a gang of drug dealers might have the makings of a strong concept, but it depends on how it's executed. Right now the pitch is all "familiar" with no "unique." No one can begin to visualize a specific story. But give one of those cops a suicidal death wish and legally register him as a Lethal Weapon, like screenwriter Shane Black did, and suddenly light bulbs go off. Producers start imagining all sorts of incredible scenes with an A-list actor in the lead. You've just elevated a strong concept to a high concept. You went from "maybe it's a movie but I can't tell for sure," to "Wow, what a movie!"

And let's face it. You've just improved your story.

High concept can be gimmicky and formulaic, or it can be creatively liberating for you the writer and fresh and amazing for the audience. As a spec screenwriter, you have all the freedom in the world to ensure your script is the latter. Before you dismiss high concept as "too Hollywood," give it an honest try. You just might write your best—and most marketable—script yet.



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