5 Ways To Come Up With A Film Idea You Can Make Yourself

posted in: Filmmaking 101 Tips | 0

Creativity is defined as the use of imagination or original ideas to create something. Originality comes from inspiration and inspiration comes from what influences us. Here are 5 ways in which you can channel your influences to create an original film idea.


This is a single sentence that summarises what you want to make in the space of a tweet.

Short Horror Film goal - “I want to produce a 4 minute Horror Short Film for the Frightfest Film Festival 2016 that keeps the audience on the edge of their seats.
Travel Short Film goal - “I want to produce a 3 minute Travel Short Film for YouTube that shows the Top 10 Attractions of Singapore.

Let’s break down the goal structure. The goal states:
Your role - Direct, Produce, Write
Time limit – 3 mins, 10 mins, feature length
Genre – Horror, Sci Fi, Comedy
Medium – YouTube, Cinema, TV
Content – Moral of story, Emotions evoked, Describe the conflict of story

Now this goal is your focus for the rest of your filmmaking journey. Always ask yourself, is this idea I am creating meeting my goal?


Make a list of everything you have access to. Get a pen and paper and write down the following headings - People, Equipment, Locations and Props.

Write down the names of people who can help you make your film such as Actors, Camera operators, Assistants, eople with equipment and people who know other people. Building your network is key.

Write down all the gear you have access to such as Mobile phone, Selfie stick, Canon DSLR, Kit lens, Light reflector, Microphone and so on. This list can include equipment you borrow or rent from other people too.

Write down places you have access to such as the Park, River, House, Road, Playground, Coffee Shop etc. Maybe someone in your people list has access to a Barn, Windmill, Bus, or Plane. If you ask them politely, they might just let you use it.

Write down the interesting items you have in your house like Vase, Picture frame, Skeleton ornament, Silver necklace etc. Maybe you need a tent in your film, someone in your people list might have one already, all you need to do is ask. I borrowed a tent from a friend at work to make The Touring Tent.

I hope you can see how crucial it is to build a network of people! Now you know everything you have access to, come up with an idea based on that list and suddenly you have everything you need to make a film.


Create a scenario for your short film in the space of a tweet.

Short Horror Film examples:
“What if the shoes in your Apartment started following you.”
“What if there was a whispering tree in your garden telling you to do bad things.”

The What If Scenario describes the unique scenario of your film.


Get inspired by other people’s work. Go on YouTube and Vimeo and watch films related to the genre you want to make. Write down what you liked and what you disliked. Now you know what to include and what not to include. Read stories from news feeds, papers, social media and blogs, find out what is trending and use that as a starting point. But personally, the best way to find great stories is to talk to people in real life. People love sharing stories, they are just waiting for someone to listen to them.


Expand your thinking by writing down words that are associated to the theme of your film. For example, for the theme of horror you can branch into characters like ghost, ghoul, monster etc. Under locations you may write graveyard, haunted house, alley way etc. Under emotions you may write crazy happy, pain, fear. The more words you write then the more it will increase your thinking capacity.


People get inspired in many different ways and that is the beauty of creativity, there is no logical way to be creative. The methods above are a good starting point to help you get inspired. You need to find out for yourself - What makes you stay focused? What makes you think? Where do you feel most creative? Only then will you able to get your creative juices flowing!