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Look Around
There's an old saying, "write what you know". The best ideas are usually right in front of you. You don't have to invent anything fancy or out-of-this-world. Just think about what goes on in your daily life.

What do you and your friends spend most of your time talking about... or thinking about? What are you passionate about? Use that energy to create your story.

Think Small
You don't have to create an epic saga. Sometimes, the smallest things in life that are easily overlooked, can be the most interesting. Spend a day pretending you're seeing everything for the very first time. What little things pop out?

All stories boil down to these few scenes:

Scene 1: Set the stage. Introduce us to your characters. Give us a clue why we should care about these people or situation.

Scene 2: Reveal the drama. Something bad happens...or maybe something good. Either way, put your characters in some sort of conflict.

Scene 3: Resolution. The story comes to a conclusion. The characters resolve the conflict...they end up better...or worse...than when they started.

You know what that means. The best ideas start out simple. Whether you're creating a drama or a documentary, focus on one main idea for your film. Get your group together and brainstorm. No idea is too silly, stupid or wacked out. Write every idea down. Don't stop to judge - just keep throwing out ideas.

Eventually, some ideas will rise to the top. Everyone - or most everyone - will have a few favorites. Are there any ideas that are among everyone's personal favorites? You don't have to get everyone to agree on which idea is best - it may be impossible for everyone to come come to the same conclusion. But everyone should agree on which idea your group will pursue. You might have to compromise a little to get everyone on board, but that's OK.

Once you have your idea...'s time to make it come to life. How will you tell the story? If it's about something in real life - go visit the people and place you want to film and talk to them about your idea. Tell them what you want to accomplish.

If you're doing something fictional - you'll need to recruit actors and give them words to say and actions to do. Break your story down into bit-size pieces...scenes... like this: "first this happens, then this happens, and then there's the conclusion."

Every good story has conflict. That doesn't mean a battle or a fight scene. It means that your characters - whether they're fictional or real - have to struggle to do something, or figure something out. The best films have conflict that we all relate to.

These aren't rules...
...for your film. They're just a way to help you organize your thoughts. Use your group's creativity and energy to tell your story your own way. has a great online discussion forum on screenwriting. Post ideas and get feedback from others. has a directory of resources dedicated to screenwriting . Make sure you check out the "Articles & Interviews" section. (The Internet Resource for Low-Budget Film-Makers) has some good ideas for films. Check out "Ideas for Movies" and "Sharks & Structure" .