WRITER’S EDGE: Upside Down Inside Out – Half Baked Ideas

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Upside Down Inside OutUpside down inside out is a sophisticated, yet largely unknown of the dozen or so brainstorming techniques. I first heard the phrase “turn it inside out and upside down” when I was in a producers office for a pitch session. I came to find out after the meeting what he was referring to.

The first of the five requirements to achieve a High Concept idea is that the story has to be original and unique. Even though that requirement is the hardest of all five to meet, it does not involve the reinvention of the wheel. What it means is to take the main storyline that already exists in another film and turn it on its head. Change a few key elements of that other story to transform it to something different that would then pass for original.

Examples would be to change the protagonists from men to women, young to old, white to black, etc. The location can be altered from urban to rural or even jungle. You can also play with the the genre. If the original film was a drama, change it to a comedy. If the genre was an adventure film before, try making it a horror movie. You take what has been presented before in one manner and transform it to a way that hasn’t been seen before.

The term, “half baked idea” does not mean what you think it means. Traditionally speaking, half baked has meant something that hasn’t been completely thought out. It has been hastily put together and it has obvious flaws. In the world of High Concept, it means an idea which has merit but has not been fully developed. And that idea deserves further work to fully bake it and make it work. So if you receive that comment, it’s actually a positive rather than a negative comment.

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