What Is High Concept? Different Thoughts On Big Movie Ideas

Film Courage: What is a high concept movie idea? It’s something that has been brought up a handful of times in our interviews. We know it can be an elusive topic. Here is the best of what we have, hope you find it helpful.

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Julia Evans' blogging principles

Julia Evans: Blogging principles I use

“I constantly write things on this blog like “I’m not sure about this part…”. I try to not be falsely modest (when I do actually know something, I try to just state it without hedging), but when I don’t know something, I say so.”

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Use your words

Julia Evans’ blogging principles

Julia writes about technical stuff, but these guiding principles are universally applicable.

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10 Letters We Dropped From The Alphabet

Austin McConnell: Think you know the English language? Here are 10 letters folks used to use, but didn’t quite stand the test of time. Elemenopee, my homies.

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Pixar in a Box — Introduction to storytelling

TechCrunch: Pixar’s previous Khan Academy courses include topics like virtual cameras, effects and animations, but this is the first to focus on the less technical aspects of movie creation.

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The Plinkett Test
Use your words

The Plinkett Test: How to sort characters from cut-outs

Game critic and writer Andy Kelly uses a clever test to identify if characters in video games he plays actually qualify as characters. This test is taken from Red Letter Media’s famous ‘Plinkett’ reviews, specifically the long-form review of The Phantom Menace:

Qui-Gon Jinn

Andy Kelly: I call it the Plinkett Test. To prove just how forgettable the characters in the prequels are, he asks a group of friends to complete the following mental exercise.

Describe the following Star Wars character WITHOUT saying what they look like, what kind of costume they wore, or what their profession or role in the movie was.

It’s a test that can be applied to video game characters too. It’s far from scientific, but it’s a good way to determine if a character is, in fact, a character, and not just someone defined by their appearance or actions. To be clear, the Plinkett Test isn’t a method for determining if a character is a good character—just that they are one.

See also: Other Places — A video series by Andy Kelly celebrating beautiful video game worlds.

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Use your words

List of clams: Comedy phrases that need to be retired

John August: John Quaintance recently tweeted photos of two whiteboards listing phrases banned in the Workaholics writers’ room. His tweet has been widely shared, and is a mitzvah to all writers.

These phrases are all clams — jokes that aren’t funny anymore and therefore need to die. When you include them in a script, you’re evoking the rhythm of comedy without the content of comedy. They’re not just cliché; they’re hollow.

  • ___? More Like ___
  • Can You Not?
  • …I Can Explain!
  • Let’s Not And Say We Did
  • I Didn’t Not ___
  • Va-Jay-Jay
  • Wait For It…
  • Just Threw Up In My Mouth
  • Really?
  • Good Talk
  • And By ___ I Mean ___
  • Check Please!
  • Awkward!
  • Shut The Front Door!
  • Lady Boner
  • Rut-Roh!
  • I Think That Came Out Wrong
  • Uh…Define ___
  • No? Just Me?
  • Why Are We Whispering?
  • That Went Well…
  • Stay Classy
  • I’m A Hot Mess!
  • That’s Not A Thing
  • It’s Science
  • Bacon Anything
  • Cray-Cray
  • Real Talk
  • #Nailed It
  • Random!
  • Awesome Sauce
  • Thanks…I Guess
  • Little Help?
  • Laughy McLaugherson
  • ___ Dot Com
  • I Love Lamp
  • Oh Helllll Naw!
  • #Epic Fail
  • Did I Just Say That Out Loud?
  • Food Baby
  • Douche (Nozzle)
  • Soooo, That Just Happened
  • Squad Goals
  • I Just Peed A Little
  • Too Soon?
  • Spoiler Alert
  • Um…In English Please
  • Note To Self
  • Life Hack
  • Best. ___. Ever. (or Worst. ___. Ever.)
  • It’s Giving Me All The Feels
  • Garbage People
  • That Happened One Time!
  • Well Played
  • I’m Right Here!
  • Hard Pass
  • Are You Having A Stroke?
  • Go Sports!
  • Zero Fucks Given
  • We Have Fun
  • Who Hurt You?
  • I Absorbed My Twin In The Womb
  • I’ll Take ___ For $500, Alex
  • Thanks Obama
  • Wait, What?
  • Shots Fired
  • Sharkweek
  • You Assclown
  • Ridonkulous
  • Bag Of Dicks
  • Hey, Don’t Help
  • Debbie Downer
  • I Can’t Unsee That
  • That Just Happened
  • See What I Did There?
  • I’ll Show Myself Out
  • Here’s The Line, Here’s You
  • ___ On Steroids/Crack
  • Swipe Right
  • White People Problems
  • I Could Tell You But I’d Have To Kill You
  • That’s Why We Can’t Have Nice Things
  • I Think We’re Done Here

Found via John August’s own Scriptnotes podcast. I recommend listening to this episode for the ensuing conversation about these ‘clams’, why they happen and what to do in their stead (the segment is about 20 minutes in).

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