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The “Damn, I wish I’d thought of that!” Idea

In industry meetings, we’re constantly asking writers, “What’s Next?” eager to hear about their next project, hoping it’s a terrific idea.

Screenwriting is about decision-making – thousands upon thousands of decisions.  But the single most important decision you will ever make as a writer is what to write next.  I guarantee it.

George Lucas on the importance of the idea.
George Lucas

According to George Lucas, who knows a bit about filmmaking, “A movie is a success or failure from the minute you solidify the concept.  Execution is 50 percent.  It is the primal attachment to the concept that makes the movie work or not work.”  

We’re constantly looking for the next great movie idea.  It’s the Big Fish all the industry is hunting for, and the best possible way for a new writer to break in.  I call these captivating concepts “Hooky Ideas.”

You wouldn't play darts blindfolded? Target hooky ideas.
You wouldn’t play darts blindfolded? Target Hooky Ideas!

Screenwriters devote years to writing and rewriting and rewriting a script, striving to make it what I call “more better.”  And yet, often their process for figuring out what to write in the first place is about as methodical as throwing darts – blindfolded.

How can you tell when you have a Hooky Idea?  It’s tempting to say, “You’ll know it when you see it” – because believe me you will.  You won’t be able to get it out of your head, and neither will anyone else who hears it.  It will grab you – and your imagination – and it won’t let go.

A Hooky Idea immediately intrigues us.  It makes you want to know more; it gets you hooked and sticks with you.  In a few sentences, or even a few well-chosen words, a Hooky Idea floods our mind with images and emotions.

When you hear a Hooky Idea, you know what the movie will FEEL LIKE.  Right off the bat, you know if this is a movie that you wanna see.

A Hooky Idea makes other writers think, “Damn, I wish I’d thought of that!”