Inception is a mind heist. A film about a group of people who made it their mission to plant ideas in the minds of others. A novel idea and arguably the greatest heist movie of all-time, it’s also a surreal concept. Ultimately, coming up with ideas is up to us. We can’t expect to wait for others to inspire us – we’ve got to go out there and let it happen.
Brainstorming is one way to help kickstart your mind into inception mode where you’re ready to receive new ideas. Whether influenced, inspired or coming to us in a blinding moment where we want to shout “Eureka!”… you can’t force yourself to come up with a brilliant idea but you can create the right conditions for them to come to fruition.
Each great screenplay requires this spark that ultimately fuels our creativity. While you may be staring at a blank page one moment, there are times where the ember of an idea can turn into a blazing runaway fire. The trick is to harness the power and energy that comes with this kind of inspiration and one way is to… you guessed it, brainstorm.
It’s a safe way to explore, experiment and even be silly in a non-judgmental space (provided you’re doing it on your own and aren’t too hard on yourself!). Let the ideas flow, let go of inhibitions and allow the unexpected… free association, connective tissue… open yourself up to characters, twists and a fresh storytelling ebb and flow.
Here are a few ways to get to cultivate this environment:
Dive into your memory bank like Scrooge McDuck. Take a swim through your life, sifting through experiences, relationships and dreams to see what unique material you can bring to your script.
Draw inspiration from existing worlds like a magpie. There’s a treasure trove of pop culture out there expressed in books, movies and stories that can spark inspiration, be reinvented or upended to create something new and fresh.
Let the world around you in. There’s so much going on around you that life can serve as an idea incubator. Take your laptop to the beach, find a bench to people watch or immerse yourself in new experiences to find a unique angle or perspective.