What if your idea is already a movie?

Had the typical writer’s nightmare 2 days back. The idea I have been outlining for more than a month is similar to the one-line of a film which is already out there. I came up on this while browsing through IMDB. Now comes the important question- what to do? Continue outlining it or abandon it? Or watch the movie and decide how much execution is similar to what I have in mind? But I got an interesting advice from a writer-friend- don’t watch it. If you watch it, some elements are going to subconsciously spill over. Continue developing it and if you want, see it later. I feel that it makes most sense. So I have decided not to shelve one month of work but to boldly go forward. The decision is risky. Most usually a writer is judged by hearing some of his outlines and not by reading all his scripts. A very innovative execution of a commonplace idea is more likely to go waste than average execution of a high concept idea.

What I have learnt from this experience is that writers need to be constant touch with all the projects developing in parallel out there. We can’t watch every movie. But at least one can go through one-lines of movies without spending too much time. This has to be part of our routine.

Photo by  les5siamoises


5 thoughts on “What if your idea is already a movie?

  1. This happened with me…………will you believe with my first screenplay………I thought my idea was unique (and it was), never tried in bollywood . But 3 months ago I found that a top bollywood director is making the film on the same theme………I was stunned how this could happen. Now after reading alot about that (bollywood project) on net I realize that Idea is similar but their execution is quite different. But Still It was very heartbreaking……..Now I am turning it into novel as I wanted to go in depth with characters & their situtations which was earlier not possible in 2.5 hours screenplay I don’t know how good is my move but I feel this way 🙂

  2. Atleast it shows that you are capable of coming up with an idea that is worth becoming a movie. Whether writing a novel is a good move or not, it will depend on how good your prose writing skills are.

  3. Staying updated on every logline that is being made into a moive is not a very feasible or practical idea. Besides, what if someone else is writing a similar script to yours right at this very moment? After all, today’s writers – whether they are in India or anywhere else – are being exposed to the same sources of media, books, thought processes… and having similar movie ideas at the same moment is indeed very plausible. However, that doesn’t mean that you give up your idea: what you will bring to it is your own take to the idea, and that’s where your skills and craft come into play. Take heart and don’t abandon your script. You never know, you may be scripting the next blockbuster…and that niggling little fear at the back of your mind (about the rival with the similar idea) may just spur you on to write the most awesome script ever! 🙂

    1. Thanks Adite 🙂 I am planning to do exactly that. Regarding following up log lines, I was not thinking too much in a perfectionistic sense. At least having some idea regarding recent mainstream films and especially those in development would do. But yes, still bad luck can strike you down. And you can only get up if you have something different to say.

  4. hmmm………you are right but it was unbelievable that bollywood never thought about that basic idea since its inception and when I came up with idea they also got the same theme………anyhow lets see what happens……….thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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