WRITER’S EDGE: Brainstorming Technique – Odd Couples

Steve Kaire is a Screenwriter/Pitchman who’s sold 8 projects to the major studios without representation. Follow Steve on Twitter @SteveKaire.

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odd couples

This technique has been used by writers for a long time. Odd Couples is a brainstorming technique involving two people from opposite extremes and throwing them together in conflict.

The classic example of this is the movie, The Odd Couple based on the Neil Simon play which later became a long running television series. The opposites thrown together in this case are two divorced men whose wives have thrown them out and are forced to share an apartment. One is a disorganized slob while his roommate is an obsessive neat freak.

This structure of opposites forces a clash of wills and actions that results in either dramatic tension or comic relief.

Another example would be the racial drama, The Defiant Ones, starring Sydney Poitier and Tony Curtis. Poitier plays a convict on a chain gang who escapes with racist Tony Curtis chained to his arm. Their predicament forces them to rely on each other and eventually overcome their hatred for one another.

Another film employing this same technique is the comedy, Twins. This is more of a casting odd couple, pairing muscleman Arnold Schwarzenegger with puny Danny Devito as his unlikely twin brother.

In the adventure, Enemy Mine, a human and an alien must work together to survive in outer space.

The same setup exists in films that featured an American soldier who must cooperate with an enemy soldier in order to keep them both alive.