Every movie script ever written started with an idea or a concept. They’re not the same thing, by the way. An idea is just a short fragment of the larger picture. “Guys capture ghosts” is an idea for “Ghostbusters”, but beyond that, it doesn’t tell you what the story is about. “A girl gets transported by a tornado to a magical land, but the only way to return home is to kill a wicked witch” is more of a concept (and turned out to be a great movie!). This article, if you’re interested in the differences, gives you more details about what constitutes an idea and what makes up a concept: The Ten Greatest Movie Concepts of All Time.
In this case, Rick Hansberry and I shared ideas and concepts, and in some cases, full outlines, to try and land on a story that we would both buy into. After some back and forth, we settled on what we have started calling “Lake Regret.”
“Lake Regret” started as an idea I had a few months back. It was a crazy idea, one that would probably be laughed out of any pitch session. Basically, I wondered if you could create a movie that could be filmed entirely in one day. Craziness, I know, but it arose from a second viewing of “Birdman”, the Michael Keaton film. The original thought was, could you come up with a script that could be filmed in one continuous shot in one location, almost like you were watching a play. The trick would be in making it interesting enough that it would hold your attention, as well as not be entirely dialogue driven. Some other factors playing into my idea were doing something on a shoestring budget — i.e., it I had to film it myself, could I make it happen easily and quickly (I can hear you all vigorously shaking your head “NO, YOU CAN’T”).
With that as my guideline, I started generating places where this could happen. I had some general locales I played with — a courtroom, a radio station, a bowling alley, and then I settled on a house, looking out over a this beautiful lake. Nice, peaceful and picture perfect, located in a small town where parents would love to raise their kids.
Hold on, you say, what’s so interesting about that? Well, that’s a post for another day. Read the link above, and in the next post, we’ll talk about how Rick and I are going to try and find something compelling in this little part of the world.