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Author Topic: Even the pros...
babooher
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I'm sure everyone on this board strives to be original,but I had to take a step back and chuckle when I read the director for the new X-Men movie had to tear out 12 pages of his script after he saw Inception. I guess the X-Men guy thought his ideas were too close to the stuff that he saw in Inception. Then I saw that there was a Scrooge McDuck comic where criminals broke into McDuck's dream to steal the combo to McDuck's safe.

Maybe there is no such thing as an original idea anymore.


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Osiris
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Just saw Inception, I thought it was excellent.

And original ideas are harder to find than original takes on those ideas.


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MAP
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I haven't seen Inception, but it reminded me of a movie I saw ages ago about some guys who could enter other people's dreams for psychoanalysis reasons.

I don't remember what it was called but one of these dream people entered the President's dream to try to kill him in his dream, while the hero also entered the President's dream to try to save him. I was just a child when I saw it, but I really liked the movie.

I'm not sure if this is similar to Inception or not, but it looked similar. So I'm not sure if Inception is all that original, but it looks awesome and is on my movies to see short list.

ETA: It was called Dreamscape with Dennis Quaid and was made in 1984. Now I feel better.

[This message has been edited by MAP (edited August 04, 2010).]


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Robert Nowall
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There isn't really anything that you can't find it done somewhere else...just try to do it your way, and hope for the best.

On a vaguely related note, here's a link to Wikipedia's entry on "dreamcatchers."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dreamcatcher


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Pyre Dynasty
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Yeah it sucks when you have an idea and then suddenly everyone else has it. It happens in science all the time, two people often have the same breakthrough at about the same time. Often movies come in twos, and it is often considered a corprate espiponage kind of thing.

All of these came out in the same year as each other.
Antz-A Bug's Life
Twister-some other tornado movie that didn't do as well
Armegeddon-Deep Impact
The Incredibles-The Amazings (didn't get made, but had nearly word for word same premise as the Incredibles.)
The Illusionist-The Prestige


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tchernabyelo
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Some of these happen because scripts are being hawked around Hollywood, and some studios may decide to have their own treatment done of something they rejected. In many cases, though, it is a genuine matter of coincidence.


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Owasm
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I wrote a novel. Didn't read Sanderson's Elantris before I wrote, but I did after. The ending was conceptually the same. With all of the writing going on (monkeys on typewriters, if you will) there's little that's new. But a lot of things have different takes on the same thing and that makes for some variety.
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JSchuler
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Just remember: Simpsons did it.

Although the stuff that I find freaky is when I have an idea for a story, and a couple weeks later I read in some science (not fiction) mag that postulates a new theory that was the premise for my story.

Maybe it's subconscious, and I saw some mention about it earlier but it didn't click. Anyway, it still wierds me out.


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axeminister
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Reading a science magazine sounds like a great place to find ideas. Even if one can't understand half of what's said in there, I bet it would still get the brain rolling.

Axe


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Robert Nowall
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I remember reading a memoir by the producer / creator / whatever of "Everybody Loves Raymond," where he explained that the writers spent some time looking in their own lives for things to put on the show. I wouldn't say everything was fully original, but quite a few startlingly original things did turn up, like the episode with the suitcase-full-of-stinky-cheese.
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TamesonYip
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I read an article on this talking about how we are all being exposed to similar stimulus and so some inspiration is just going to overlap. Our stories are somewhat influenced by our own lives, but also by the culture and the news and the media and all that stuff. Even the stuff that goes on in our lives, we might see mirrored in other people's. For example, the last few days, one of my friends from high school has facebook postings that could have been mine (things like, going to post office today, barefooot and pregnant in the kitchen, etc). We don't talk much, live in different states but are overlapping lately.
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Robert Nowall
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I suppose the issue would be whether any of the creators of "Inception" actually read that particular Scrooge McDuck comic. I've read some but by no means all of 'em.

(Sometimes in Hollywood there's an element of bluff---make the other guy blink and pull his movie. Back in, oh, 1964, I think, there were two competing movie biographies of Jean Harlow---neither of which were any good. But neither studio blinked.)


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johnbrown
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When you generalize story concepts it becomes very clear very quickly that there aren't going to be, really, any new ideas. The more you generalize the more alike they become. The key is in the details and execution.

For example, Larry Correia's MONSTER HUNTER INTERNATIONAL, released last August, is about a group of people who hunt monsters. At that level of abstraction, well, heck--Buffy, Men in Black, Hellboy, Koshack, Xfiles, and on and on and on along with probably a few dozen stories and novels from 1900 until now. The idea's been done.

And he's selling incredibly well. And that's because he brings Larry to it. He has his own specifics and turns etc. and so it's the same, but it's different enough that lots and lots and lots of people, even if they've seen the other stories, love it.

Of course, many people haven't encountered most of those other stories. Buffy and Xfiles are off the air. Hellboy was a few years ago. A teen just going into the Army might be brand new to this.

My take is who cares? It's the specifics that matter.


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PB&Jenny
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Anyone hear of something called 'Metro Man' coming out in theatres? 30 years ago, a buddy and I were doing comic sketches about that very character! Is nothing sacred!??

And I just saw that movie Dreamscape last week on a rerun channel. So very 80's. Loved it.


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Pyre Dynasty
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Once I had a brilliant idea and I sat down and wrote it all out in a frenzy. I was so proud of myself I went upstairs and rewarded myself by watching a movie and found myself horrified, I had just written Star Wars!
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PB&Jenny
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Priceless!
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aspirit
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A friend and I met in the park last weekend to talk about our stories. She'd written a zombie apocalypse novel that she says is too much like Zombieland (released after she'd written her first draft). I listened to her for a while then explained my point of view: An idea story needs an original premise, but a character story doesn't. Her opening is clearly about the main character rather than what happens to people when civilization falls or the unique origins of her zombies. As long as readers care about her characters and can imagine themselves in the story, they won't care if any other aspect is well used.
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