Read this tip to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Screenwriting Concepts and other Screenplay topics.
Anything can be an idea seed—a person you meet, an article you read, or something you experience (see tip #51, Gathering Ideas). But once an idea seed has been planted, how can you nurture it so that it will grow into a fully-fledged concept?
The first step is to determine what fascinates you about the idea. Say you meet a construction worker. He's just an average guy, but something about him sparks your interest. If you take his typical-day-in-the-life-of-a-construction-worker tale and try to turn it into a script, chances are it won't be intriguing enough to carry a whole movie. Dig deeper to discover what really fascinates you about him. Is it the contradiction between his sheer physical strength and his gentle nature? Is it the dangerous world he inhabits, suspended hundreds of feet above the ground? Or is it the tales of municipal corruption he spins?
As you can see, a single idea seed can open up multiple possibilities. Use your fascination to brainstorm as many different story ideas as you can. Sometimes you'll decide on a concept that includes your original seed idea, but often the process takes you in a completely different direction. Allow yourself this flexibility and keep brainstorming until you come up with something truly amazing!
If you want to master the structure for creating high concept ideas, I highly recommend Hal Croasmun's High Concept Sells class at http://scriptforsale.com.