In case you haven't noticed, Hollywood TV shows and movies tend to show rather a shortage of cretive, original ideas. So I'd like to offer any Hollywood professionals out there a few ideas for some really new and different stories. I know some of these are pretty radical and far out, but just think how it would surprise and shock the audience if you really used some ideas like these.
And hey, I offer all of these ideas free of charge.
- Two policeman are teamed up as partners. One of them is a real straight, orthodox, by-the-book guy, and ... so is the other.
- This is a long way from a full plot, but just for one good scene: A martial arts expert is attacked by 20 thugs. And instead of each waiting their turn and not attacking until the last guy has been beaten senseless, they all attack him at once and overwhelm him.
- A man and a woman have absolutely nothing in common. Some unusual circumstance throws them together. They quickly find that they dislike each other intensely. But as the story goes on, they are forced to work together and spend a lot of time together. So by the end of the story, they are totally sick of each other and can't wait to get away and never see each other again.
- An evil villain hatches a fiendish plot to take over the world or some such. But ... never once does he laugh maniacally. He never cackles about the joy of destruction or how he will wipe all that is good and true from the earth. Instead he gives some very plausible-sounding explanation about why his plan is necessary to save the world from dangerous radical fringe groups, and what he says is all about half true, so that the audience can readily believe that people would be fooled by it.
- In a family story, two people come into personal conflict, and it turns out that it is not all simply a misunderstanding, and the problem cannot be completely resolved in half an hour.
- In a spy story, the daring and handsome hero meets a beutiful young woman and they obviously find each other attractive. He propositions her ... and she tells him to get lost, because she's looking for a serious, committed relationship and not a one-night stand. And never during the course of the story does she back down on this position, or show any sign of regretting it.
- In one of those capsule descriptions of a movie: These always seem to refer to men by occupation and to women by gender, like, "A pilot, a lawyer, and a girl are stranded in the Amazon jungle". How about reversing it for once, like, "A social worker and two men are stranded" etc. Or describe them in some completely different terms, like "A guy with a beard, a Baptist, and a libertarian are stranded" etc. Better yet, make a movie where something other than a person's gender or occupation is important to the plot.
- A TV series in which we regularly see the main characters practicing their occupation, and that occupation is something other than doctor, nurse, lawyer, policeman, private detective, or reporter.
- A story begins with a scene of someone doing something very masculine and macho, like driving in a motorcycle race or leading tanks into battle or some such. And this person is wearing bulky clothes and a helmet so we can't see his face or body shape. And then he walks up to the camera and takes off the helmet and ... it turns out it's not a sexy woman after all, but a rugged-looking guy.
- Some "average" guy hires a lawyer and brings a lawsuit against a big company. And as the story unfolds, it turns out that the average guy and the lawyer are cynical opportunists taking advantage of the legal system to extort money from a completely innocent company.
- The hero accidentally comes into posession of some valuable or important object -- a recording of a mysterious conversation, a reclusive scientist's last invention, an artifact from a UFO, whatever. And the rest of the story is about why this object is significant and the impact it has on society, rather than being about how the hero is then chased and shot at by government agents.
- A businessman and an environmentalist come into conflict. And the the businessman is the hero and the environmentalist is the villain. Like maybe, the businessman is trying to provide good jobs and quality products, while the environmentalist is a demagogue who uses trumped-up claims of environmental hazards for his own political gain.
- A character is seen attending church, carrying around a Bible, and generally acting "religious". And in the shocking surprise ending, it turns out that he is not a crazed killer.
- There is a sinister plot to overthrow the government or some such. And it turns out that not only are no members of the military involved, but none of the conspirators are even right-wing extremists.
- A character is introduced who is a man who is constantly shrill, loudly complains about trivial slights and unavoidable problems, and is generally unpleasant and annoying. As the story goes on, we learn about his childhood. And never once are we told that his father was an authoritarian tyrant who set impossible standards of achievement for his son.
- Speaking of fathers ... How about a story about a father who just takes it for granted that he should be the head of the family and who expects his children and even his wife obey him. And it turns out that his wife and kids willingly follow his leadership because they respect him and they know that he always is trying to do what his best for the family and almost never uses his authority for selfish reasons.
© 1999 by Jay Johansen