Adam McKay Unusual (and Brilliant) Technique to Vet a Film Idea
Pitching is one of the hardest exercise for anybody. It doesn’t matter how passionate you are about your story, or how original, unique or fresh it is, if you can’t pitch it well, chances are you won’t go far with it (or you’ll go alone).
Filmmaker Adam McKay, whose latest feature The Big Short, is running for Best Picture at the Oscars this year shared in a recent interview with 99u the most original and unusual tip to pitch a story idea and see if it has legs.
Here is how he does it:
Adam McKay Unusual Technique to Vet a Film Idea
“Sometimes as an exercise, I will tell the story of the movie to my youngest daughter, as a bedtime story. I will change some details to make it a fairytale allegory. For The Big Short, it might be that there was this old dirty box that three friends found behind a rich man’s castle and it turned out that every day they would lift up the box and there would be one piece of gold in it. In the end, the friends discover that the pieces of gold are coming from the families who live in the houses around the castle. What do you do when you find that out?
I do it to see where the holes are, where the momentum is and to see if pieces don’t flow in a story. I think of it as zooming in on a map on a computer. I’m zooming into the story in its most raw form and making sure the weight-bearing beams, the six or seven storytelling points, are there.
Because sometimes you can jump into an outline and later realize that you’re missing an entire piece of the story. If I can tell it as a five-minute story to a child, I at least have my basic building blocks.”
I found this piece of advice brilliant. (Find a kid if you don’t have one.)