We spend a lot of time in the Stareable Film School talking about how to make your script or idea a reality. But what if you don't have a script or idea? How do you capitalize on all this great advice?
Presenting the Ultimate Stareable Guide To Brainstorming, aimed to make it as easy as possible to come up with the next great web series idea.
Freewriting is a brainstorming technique where you sit down (or stand at your fancy standing desk) with a blank document, piece of paper, or journal page, set a timer, and write nonstop until the timer goes off. Even if halfway through you start writing things like "I don't know what to write I'm out of ideas," keep going. it'samazing what tumbles out when you have no choice but to put words, any words, to paper. According to Psychology Today, "it'sabout forcing your internal editor to stay away while you splash your most raw and unusual thoughts onto the page."
This tactic, under a variety of names, is used by basically everyone who I asked about their favorite brainstorming technique.
Particularly if you're brainstorming with the intention of producing your idea, being realistic with what you have access to is a good way to start. Make lists of:
Matching ideas to your existing resources is like doing a puzzle- you never know what unique things will fit together to make something awesome.
it'sa cliche for a reason. Again, let's start with some lists:
Big important warning: if you're going to make a show or film about living with multiple roommates or being a struggling actor/filmmaker/artist, make sure it'sthe best version of that shows possible. Many of us share those stories and thus they're incredibly common, especially in web series. I'm not trying to dissuade you from making a show about being a struggling actor or being bad at "adulting," because those are valid stories that are likely incredibly personal to you, but I am saying that it'sno longer enough to define your series like that, because those shows have been made a billion times. Check out the "adulting" or "actress" searches on Stareable for example, and please don't misinterpret those search links as shade- it'ssimply to showcase your competition.
So what's your niche? What's different and unique about your take on the struggling actor in LA or NY? And how is your version going to be the best version of all the others? If you can't answer those questions, dig deeper or move on.
Obviously, not all stories can be about what you have personally experienced, because then we wouldn't have sci-fi or fantasy or horror. That in mind, what are some genres or types of stories you've never personally lived through but love to watch? How can you add your own spin to tired tropes and beloved genres? List prompts"
Sometimes the best place to start is what you want to leave your audience with. Is there a particular issue or social justice theme you're particularly partial to? Is representation something you're hoping to increase and encourage? Make some more lists and see what stories arise!
Two (or more) heads are better than one, right? Filmmaking is collaborative, and sometimes the best brainstorming sessions are the same! Spend a few hours with your trusted friends, filmmakers or not, and make some of the above lists together. You'd be amazed how often a second or third spitballing voice will reveal something you never considered.