Igniting the Flame

CC image Fire in the sky by Fredrik Thommesen at Flickr
CC image Fire in the sky by Fredrik Thommesen at Flickr

Material below was adapted from the 2019 IB Film Teacher Support Material

Before you form core production teams, it is a good idea to identify personal strengths, weaknesses and intentions for the project in order to ensure that you begin with a clear rationale for what you want to get out of the project, and perhaps even clear genres or areas you want to work with.

Blog Post Title and Heading Titles

  • Make a blog post titled, Igniting The Flame
  • Create the following headings:
    • Creating a Character
    • What if?
    • Story Plotlines

Content for Blog Post

Creating a Character

  • Create a character—the more interesting the better
    • This does not need to be the protagonist of the film but simply a person that might be included in the film to some extent
  • Create a full character profile including likes, dislikes, demographic information and deep, dark secrets
  • Encourage each group member to pitch their character to the group and see if a story can be started around one of them

What if?

  • Play the “What if?” game, where they think of an ordinary situation or location and ask each person to come up with the craziest “what if?” scenario
    • It is important to remove logistics and parameters from the original brainstorm for this game
    • For example:
      • You’re at a bus stop … what if: a bird flies into your head?
      • The man beside you has a heart attack?
      • A dog starts speaking to you?
      • A dinosaur sticks its head out of the bushes?
    • … From the list generated, which could make the most feasible starting point for a film?

Story Plotlines

  • Research one of the following story plotlines (we see these in films all the time)
  • Using one of these plotlines, bring in your own experience and adapt it to fit the provided story arc
Plotline Example movies
Monster in the House Alien (1979), The Exorcist (1973), Jaws (1975), Jurassic Park (1993)
Golden Fleece Back to the Future (1985), Star Wars (1977), Wizard of Oz (1939)
Out of the Bottle Bruce Almighty (2003), Liar Liar (1997), The Mask (1994)
Dude with a Problem Die Hard (1988), Schinder’s List (1993), Titanic (1997)
Rites of Passage 10 (1979), 28 Days (2000), Ordinary People (1980)
Buddy Love Dumb and Dumber (1994), Rain Man (1988), Thelma and Louise (1991)
Whydunit Chinatown (1974), Citizen Kane (1941), JFK (1991)
The Fool Triumphant Forrest Gump (1994), City Lights, Charlie Chaplin (1931)

American Beauty (1999), Animal House (1978), The Godfather (1972)

Superhero A Beautiful Mind (2001), Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992), Gladiator (2000)

(This list has been adapted from Snyder, B. 2005. Save the Cat. Studio City, CA, USA. Michael Wiese Productions. http://www.savethecat.com/.)

Alternative Prompts

  • Other prompts for igniting creative film ideas could come from the list below
  • Select one of these and rapidly draft a beginning, middle and end for the selected prompt
    • An encounter
    • A twist of fate
    • A surprise
    • An oddball
    • A disruption
    • A dream
  • Share this with your group to identify strong suggestions

(This list has been adapted from Lanier, T and Nichols, C. 2010. Filmmaking for Teens: 2nd Edition: Pulling Off Your Shorts. Studio City, CA, USA. Michael Wiese Productions.)