118: How To Find Your Next Movie Concept (Part 1) with Brooks Elms

Film Trooper Podcast - How to find your next movie concept
Film Trooper

[Podcast] How To Find Your Next Movie Concept (Part 1)

In this episode, returning guest, Brooks Elms, who is a filmmaker and screenwriter is here to take us through the process of finding a movie concept that speaks to you and your audience.

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Name 5 of your favorite movies ...

(**Listen to episodes #111 & #112 before listening to this episode)

As you'll hear in this podcast episode, Brooks Elms, asks me to name 5 of my favorite movies.

And yes ...

I'll be putting myself and my latest project through Brooks system as the case study for you 🙂

So, back to the question ...

What are 5 of your favorite movies?

For me, here's the list:

  • 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
  • Jaws (1975)
  • Somewhere in Time (1980)
  • Amadeus (1984)
  • Rudy (1993)



What makes the concepts of your films unique?

After naming your 5 favorite films and analyzing why you love them and what makes them unique ...

Or I should say, what is the concept within your favorite films that make you love them?

  • For me, films like "2001: A Space Odyssey's" concept is high level.  What if an epic tale of humanity's evolution was set in space?
  • For "Jaws", what if a man-eating shark terrorized a small resort island?
  • For "Somewhere in Time", what if you needed to travel back in time to find your true love?
  • For "Amadeus", what if a bio-pic was told from the perspective of his greatest rival?
  • For "Rudy", what if an under-sized, underdog overcame all odds to play football for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish?

Name 3 films within your genre ...

Most likely, not all your favorite films fall under the same genre.

So, whatever genre your next script will be in, it's time to name 3 films that most closely relate in tone.

For me, since I'm writing a paranormal thriller, I chose:

  • Poltergeist (1982)
  • Insidious (2010)
  • The Conjuring (2013)



Concepting ...

After listing and analyzing why you love the films you love, it should help get your creative juices flowing.

The idea is to brainstorm as many "concepts" as possible.

Here are my crude examples, as you'll see it's just designed to get the ball rolling ...

Horror Related Concept Ideas:

Concept 01:
An angel must prevent a living person from being killed; that person being her former self.
Concept 02:
A vengeful spirit attempts to possess a young girl, only to discover that she is protected by her dead twin sister's soul.
Concept 03:
A young girl who suffers from Nyctophobia (fear of the dark) must fight off a demonic spirit who only attacks in the dark.
Concept 04:
An asthmatic young girl, alone in the house, must connect with her dead twin sister's soul to help fight off a vengeful spirit before it possesses her.
Concept 05:
A troubled young boy witnesses the murder of his older sister by the hands of a vengeful spirit.  Discovering that the evil entity has cursed him to die in one week’s time, the boy must enlist a group of misfitted paranormal enthusiasts, to help him enter the otherworld to save his sister’s soul and his own.


What are your concepts?

Hopefully you'll get a lot out of this episode and it helps in your writing process.

Enjoy the Podcast!


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Get more from Brooks Elms at:


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I finished my film ...

But now what?

You're in luck!

This FREE video series can help.

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Scott McMahon is a Fellow Film Trooper at Film Trooper, a website for helping filmmakers attain filmmaking freedom. Scott recently made a feature film for $500 with no crew called, The Cube. Want to know what equipment was used to make that film? Grab a FREE gift at www.FREEGEARGUIDE.com