Developing an idea from a stimulus

Activity – developing an idea worth sharing

Three performers with an arm raised

Developing your idea into a concept for your short film involves working collaboratively with your peers and following a process to expand on your ideas and refine them.

Share your thoughts about the stimulus with your group. All ideas and thinking should be documented in your logbook.

Ideas to consider could include:

  • What happened before or after?
  • How can this moment in time get better or worse?
  • Creating tension by adding a problem, challenge or accident. Ask yourselves ‘What if …?’
  • What could be the turning point?
  • How could the idea be impacted by changing the time period or location? 
  • What is the opposite point of view or a different perspective on the topic?
  • What is this world like? Is it similar or different from the reality we as we know it?
  • What other characters are involved in this character’s life? Describe the relationships between them.

Now that you have expanded your ideas to consider some of the possibilities, your group needs to evaluate them. Consider the limitations, strengths and weaknesses of the ideas and the skills of your team and narrow it down to your strongest idea. Remember Director Genevieve Clay-Smiths' advice to “Keep it simple”.

As a group, decide how this idea can be communicated to the audience through film by expanding it into a narrative. Use the planning steps provided below to document your progress.

Step 1

Summarise your concept in 1-2 sentences. What message do you want to send to your audience?

Step 2

Create a paragraph describing your narrative in more depth. Explain how this idea will be explored in your film. It should include a beginning, a turning point and a conclusion.

Step 3

Brainstorm ways the concept can be expressed without words. For example, acting choices, setting/location, lighting, costume, music and/or colour choices.