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How to make a short film - Writing the concept

The Killer Idea Of The Film

A concept is the very basic idea of the film which gives you an idea of what could potentially be the final story of the character in your movie. For example, the concept of the movie called Wanted, released back in 2008.

There is this guy called Wesley who lives a traditional life bounded by the structure of a 9 – 5 job, but somewhere in the back of his mind, somewhere deep down inside his brain, he knows that he was not born to live this kind of life. No, he was meant to break out and transform into someone who is much stronger and can leave an everlasting mark on the world. That was the concept of this mind thrilling movie.

How to write a concept – Now we’ve identified what is a concept with a nice little example, now we have to figure out how to write a concept. Now I agree and I definitely acknowledge the fact that sitting down and writing something is one of the most difficult things in the world and most filmmakers would rather jump off a bridge rather than having to sit down and write down the movie they want to make.

Filmmaking of the ghost writer

So it doesn’t matter if you’re one of those guys or not, I’m going to give you a simple technique that has helped me over the past ten years to write the concept of my films which I have directed.

The technique is made up of a template that has two points in it. Number one, identify your main character. For example, in Wanted, the main character is Wesley. He is a simple guy, living a simple life, having a simple 9 – 5 job, constantly taking crap from the people that surround him and lacking the courage to stand up for himself and change his situation.

Point number two, what is your main character’s problem. In Wanted, Wesley has not accepted his life 100% and deep down inside he aspires to change his situation. His main problem is that this thought in his mind that he was meant to be someone impactful in this life is messing with his brain and stopping him to peacefully accept his pathetic life. On the surface level he seems peaceful, but on a deeper level, he knows something’s wrong and it needs to be changed at all costs.

Filmmaking in Wanted (2008)

Now when you combine these points, you get the concept of your film. So point number one, identify your main character. Is the character male or female and what is the character’s day to day routine? And point number two, identify the main problem that your character’s facing. The problem could be on a surface level like somebody trying to kill your character or the problem could be on a deeper level like your character trying to figure out why was he sent to this planet?

We’ve cracked the simple code of writing a concept, now let’s look at the most simple tip to understand how to write a good concept.

In Wanted, we as an audience understand that he’s a simple guy with a miserable life and something’s happening in the back of his mind which makes him question his life and teases him to turn it around. This kind of concept crawls deep into the audience’s skin and makes them wanna re-analyze their own lives and wonder what if. That is the sign of a memorable concept.

Filmmaking in Wanted (2008)

But let’s look at one of the most pathetic concept that we’ve seen in a long time, which shockingly came from Marvel. The concept of Iron Man 3.

I have no clue what was the concept of this film, I seriously don’t. This film is about a guy who has once again become reckless, stupid and irresponsible like he used to be before he became Iron Man and understood that he has the power to change the world for the good. This was one of the most stupid and mind numbing movies that I had seen in a long long time and that is the sign of a bad concept where you have no clue about what was the bloody concept.

So look at Tony Stark from Iron Man 1 to understand good concept and look at Tony Stark from Iron Man 3 to understand bad concept.

Now, we’re living in a time where everybody has the access to cheap filmmaking tools which is great, but the sad part is that a lot of those film directors choose to make movies with no to bad concepts. A lot of those films are filled with sexual content which is just leaving a negative impact on our generation’s mind set or they usually portray meaningless characters with meaningless problems.

Filmmaking in Wanted (2008)

But now that we’ve understood what is a concept, how to write a concept and the most simple and important tip of writing a good concept, I hope that some aspiring film director out there will take what I have said, add a few a great points of his own and come up with a mind twisting idea that would inspire other aspiring film directors to aim for even greater concepts.

On a closing note, I would love to have you guys give me your thoughts on writing a concept in the comments section below. Also be sure to like, share and subscribe to the channel so you can stay tuned to the next video which is going to be about writing a character.

So, in the hopes of connecting with aspiring film directors all over the world, this is Mr. Zeecon, in the making of a great story.

Your Thoughts

I would love to hear it from you guys in the comments below about writing a concept that could potentially give you a great storyline.

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