Saturday, February 07, 2009

High Concept Explained

not by me of course, but very well by Holly Root over at the Waxman Agency who, when not slithering around with Barbara Poelle and me, has been known to sell a book or two.


Eric said...

One of the guys who optioned my first book for the movies, is famous for having gone into a pitch meeting with studio execs, unveiled a photo of a ferocious, teeth-baring, slavering grizzly bear and simply saying: "Jaws, with claws." He got the movie made.

It bombed.

Steve Stubbs said...

I don't remember where I saw this, but somewhere on the internet there is an excellent article about high concept that explained it by example.

Here it is: if you have a bunch of bank robbers tunnel beneath a bank, drill through the floor of the vault, and walk away with all the money the way Bernie Madoff might have liked to do, that is NOT high concept.

But if the wheelman is so incompetent at the wheel that his driving license has been suspended, the lookout man is legally blind, and the brains of the outfit is George Burns, that is high concept.

That's not really fair, of course, because anything with George Burns in it is high concept. But I got the idea from that example anyway.

Rick Daley said...

OK, you didn't write it, but you still get a heap o' credit in my book for helping to promote Ms. Root's insight. Thanks for the tip!

Lily Cate said...

That reminded me of a conversation with my husband, the film guy. He asked me what I was writing, and five minutes into the explaination, stopped me and said, "Explain it in in one sentence."
But boy, does that help you find the focus.

Haste yee back ;-) said...

IMHO - High Concept is when an idea is so intrinsically interesting a primal part of your being says, "I've have to see/read that!"

Haste yee back ;-)

Sarah said...

"High concept is all about the touch of recognition that makes readers ready to go along on your ride."

That really made sense to me. Every story I loved (the ones I buy) had that sense of recognition.

Thanks, Janet. Great link.

Anonymous said...

I was inspired. Dig this:

Butch & Sundance are cloned. Act I is the disbelieving/joyous reunion. Plot Point I comes when they realize that if they've been cloned, they must be in ... Jurassic Park!

Tagline: "Who are these stegasauruses?"

I smell pre-empt ...

Haste yee back ;-) said...

Notes from Producer Alan Smithee: Needs more sex, violence!
and jeopardy!
Stegasaurusi are bisexual - Butch and Sundance run alot.
Need rubber alligators everywhere!
Plot twist... the Sunflowers close-up in the first act... reveal in third act, they're alien angels trapped by a force-field of unknown origin...
Butch and Sundance still running! And, this time, toward the Sunflowers -

Otherwise, Just LOVE, LOVE your work! We have A-list Actress interested in playing the force-field - will present rewrites to her ASAP. BTW, these rewrites are FREE. Right?

Haste yee back ;-)

Eric said...

John McCain was elected president. He dies of a melanoma during the inauguration. Sarah Palin is sworn in and her family moves into the White House. The high concept part is:

Beverly Hillbillies meets the West Wing.

Deb Vlock said...

High concept is what lands you a movie deal, no?