Inspiration plays an important role in the making of a film. Without inspiration, it’s hard to come up with new ideas for a screenplay. Christopher Booker is an English journalist and author and in his book “The Seven Basic Plots – Why We Tell Stories” he has a theory that all stories, whether it’s Cinderella or Lord of the Rings can essentially be boiled down to seven basic elements:
1. Overcoming the monster
2. Rags to Riches
3. The Quest
4. Voyage and Return
Plots can overlap, says Booker, and Lord of the Rings, for example, probably includes all seven. A lot of films, especially in Norway are based on books, and that’s most likely one of the easiest ways to get a plot for a film. To come up with a new and original screenplay, you really have to be imaginative, but often people tend to see a parallel between new ideas and other films and then call it a rip off. But what distinguishes “stealing” from “getting inspiration”? That’s a hard question, and it’s discussed every day regarding everything from the Ipad, to music and designs on milk cartons. Some say stealing is copying 50% of a work and claiming it’s your original idea and others say it’s stealing when people just see a parallel to another idea. As a film director, I still have problems knowing the difference, but my guess is that you just have to feel whether your work is a copy, a totally new idea or maybe an idea combined by different ideas.
It’s fascinating the fact that we are probably not always aware of what really inspires us. Throughout life, we experience a lot of good things and bad things. Some of the really emotional experiences we tend to remember our whole life, while we forget other experiences. As a child, I had a lot of imagination, and my surroundings influenced me a lot. I had some of my best movie experiences during this time, and I will never forget when Littlefoot thinks he finally meets his lost mother, but then realize it’s just his shadow that confuses him in “Land before time”. This film has, together with “Jurassic Park”, “Back to the future” and “The never ending story” been my biggest inspirations from childhood. Now I’m 24 years old, I’m working on a new feature film, and I think I have found my personal style of making films by combining those works I really like, and those that evoke my feelings. Stevens Spielberg’s style of creating amazing stories and adventures, Michael Bay’s way to handle the camera, and M. Nigh. Shyamalan’s way of giving that atmospheric and mystical feeling is a combination I think relates a lot to my imagination and feelings. But I’m still relatively young, and maybe there are even bigger inspirations out there? I have started to notice how much people around me, and the music I listen to, affects my stories, and that’s probably just a fraction of what influences me. I think there is unlimited inspiration out there, and that is great news for us filmmakers. It’s just like the film “The never ending story”.
This song gave me a lot of inspiration a couple of days ago. I just felt it! What inspires you the most? Comment below :)