Sunday, 13 January 2013

From Script to Screen - Story Ideas

I have come up with a few more ideas some of which are alterations/expansions to idea 3 as the whole cheating death scenario seems to be the favourite at the moment. Also they're all a bit hazy at the moment with non specific things happening.

  • An old grave digger needs to fit/fix light bulb in a tall lamp
  • He tries all sorts of things to reach it such as a ladder but it breaks, a trampoline perhaps, stacks of chairs, pole volting a shovel etc. but none prevail
  • Soon realises that his only solution is to get to the lamp level via the church window and walk across a wire to the lamp (much like a tight-rope walker
  • But he is scared because in the past he was a famous tight rope walker but fell and injured himself leaving him unable to perform again OR he performed with his brother who fell and died and vowed to do it again
  • Look at his old tight rope walking medals or a poster and then we see a flashback of his act when he was younger or his brother falling
  • Makes him realise he shouldn't give up and he climbs out the window on to the wire and walks across to the lamp (see flashes of his act when he was younger)
4a. Death is the one making the man fail by breaking the ladder or pushing the chairs over etc (death is invisible to the man) 

4b. Could also have the opposite to Death such as an Angel doing the complete opposite so there is a sort of constant battle between the two deciding the mans fate

4c. In the case of his brother dying in the past - His brothers ghost is the one breaking all the stuff in a way to get him to do the tight-rope walking once again.

5. Similar to Idea 3
  • Starts with tight-rope walker performing his act
  • Feels nervous because his family are watching or another reason
  • Shaking he begins but slips almost instantly and falls to his death
  • Quick glance of an open coffin below
  • Then fades to him entering the underworld and death showing him a contract stating that can have a second chance if he completes the challenge
  • He signs and is instantly taken to the challenge
  • The challenge is to successfully insert the light bulb (that death gives him) in the lamp of the other side of a great crater via tight-rope walking
  • He's smug about it at first but then realises it is tight-rope walking and gets scared due to what just happened
  • Death either forces him to do it or he just bravely continues
  • Death then starts floating on the sides teasing him, making jokes with puppets and re-enacting how he died to distract him
  • Man eventually succeeds 
  • Goes back to him performing and he takes one step on the rope and it snaps
  • He dies again and no more chances
  • Instead of the distractions from Death, the man does the walk easily
  • Inserts the light bulb on the other side but it does not light up
  • Death laughs
  • He struggles and frustrates to get it to light up
  • He soon realises that there is a plug for the light that is not plugged in that is on the side he started at
  • He walks back
  • Plugs it in but there is a puzzle (Rubik's cube?) to complete or a code to insert first - some how realises the solution(s)
  • Light bulb lights up on the other side 
  • Same ending as before
6. Alteration/expansion of Idea 3
  • Man fitting light bulb
  • Gets electrocuted
  • Switches to Underworld
  • Death is standing waiting for him
  • Death gives the man a coin and points to a ghostly jackpot machine
  • Goes up to it looking confused, it says "try your luck!"
  • He inserts coin and wins the jackpot (possibly think of a different gag?)
  • Image of his ghostly corpes appears before him and death takes him to a great crater
  • He has 3 chances to walk across the great crater on a rope stretched across
  • Comically fails the first 2 chances
  • Succeeds on his last chance
  • Goes back to him fitting light bulb, he finishes
  • About to get off of the ladder when it breaks and he falls OR he slips and falls and dies again
6a. Maybe death could of appeared again (invisible to the man) and breaks the ladder because no one truly cheats him.

I also need to identify the names of said characters.


  1. Hi Alex - I just think there's some over-complication going on here - but I really like that idea of the plug being on the other side from the light-bulb;

    Personally, I think you need to pare it right down;

    a) you make the undertaker = death
    b) you make the man a tight-rope walker only after his death not before - in so much as he must become one to meet the challenge.
    c) you make the light-bulb the inciting incident - i.e. he's changing the light-bulb when it happens.
    d) you go for the comic punchline.

    Just try boarding this out, with an emphasis on great visual storytelling.

  2. Hi Phil I was going to talk to you face to face but remembered that you're in America. I agree about the over complications I just wrote everything that came to my head but it seems to me that you're saying forget the other ideas and push forward with the third idea and the expansion (Idea 6)??

    - Just so I don't waste valuable time thinking up different story lines when I've got the gold one already... Thanks :)

  3. That's a shame becuase I really liked the top story, it sounded so fun. Do you know what one you're sticking with now?
    Are you still incorporating the same tight rope backstory because it is a good one.

  4. Hey Alex - yep, I'm saying go for the idea wherein an ordinary man 'dies' changing a lightbulb, but is given the opportunity to cheat death (I like the idea of him being challenged to insert a lightbulb into a lamp on the other side of the chasm - links nicely). You're still in need of punchline - and I'd suggest the idea of death winning after all is the winner here; in terms of comic timing, a simple pratfall would be funny after all the efforts the man goes through to cross the chasm. Can I suggest you think about your middle act - the crossing of the chasm, because this just needs to be staged imaginatively and you need to resolve the ways in which death tries to distract him - think about using dramatic forced perspectives, contra-zooms etc. - shots to create a sense of peril and vertigo. Perhaps think about idenitfying 3 tricks that death might play (things tend to work well in 3s, you see...).

  5. Hey Alex,

    See link!

    Cheers! :D