Last week a friend told me a really great idea for a film. In his mind it was the perfect idea and when I didn’t share his enthusiasm he was very disappointed. He kept telling me about the great visuals he was seeing in his head. Unfortunately they were all in his head and I was unable to see them the way he was seeing them. This happens very often especially with advertising guys who thrive on the short format which relies on communication of a single thought.
Writing for feature films is very unlike writing for advertisements where a random idea with a bunch of well executed visuals is enough to do the trick. In the longer format a great idea is only the beginning and in itself is not enough. It is the complete execution that makes or breaks the narrative. Taking an idea and shaping it into a 100 page script takes a lot of doing. In any case there are plenty of people who think the same way and have similar ideas, that is probably why ideas alone can not be copyrighted. For the same reason the fear that an idea will be stolen and made into a film is really unfounded. It doesn’t happen as often as is thought. It takes a lot of hard work to write an original script even if you have a cracker of an idea. Bollywood is famous in my opinion for adaptations from foreign DVDs and not for stealing ideas. And those of you who follow the Bollywood film scene will agree that most of the DVD adaptations are not very cleverly done.