Don’t Let “The Great Idea” Get in Your Way
When I was writing Prego in 2015, my “idea” was to write a movie that shows what happens when a one-night stand results in a pregnancy with a simpleton. I immediately recognized, however, that my idea was far from original, just look at the film Juno or The Switch. It’s been done a thousand times, a thought that lingered with me as I wrote, directed, produced, and ultimately released the film to festivals.
At the time, I felt like I was making a mistake; I was kicking myself for not doing more to come up with an “original idea.” I refused to watch it. I even grew resentful of the film, and was disappointed with myself for being an “unoriginal filmmaker.” And then the festival circuit started, and Prego won almost every award it was nominated for, and I got bombarded with emails and screening requests. I released it online, and it quickly went viral, amassing more than a million views on YouTube and being translated into five different languages. The relative “success” of this short sparked a debate inside my own head about the importance of the “original idea,” and I soon came to realize what I should have known all along: it’s all about the quality of the script, not the originality of the idea! Now, there is no doubt in my mind that an original idea can contribute greatly to the overall experience of watching a film but not having one should not stop you from writing your film. You can work wonders with the simplest idea once you master the art of screenwriting.