But wait. We're being unfair. Put yourself in the producer's shoes for a moment. Nice, aren't they? Italian. Hand made. And as a producer facing a writer across your desk, here's what you're thinking:
1. If your original idea is so great how come nobody thought of it before?
2. I bet someone has thought of it before. There are no original ideas.
3. I wish this idiot would shut up. Is that stupid little beard meant to look cool? What an idiot. Why hasn't my secretary buzzed me to pretend I have an important call, like I asked her to, so I can get rid of this idiot. What's he talking about now? Jesus, character arcs. I should never take meetings with writers. Writers. I forget, what exactly do they do again?
It doesn't matter if you don't agree that there are no original ideas. Someone paying for your script is also paying you to agree with them. You can make a film the way you want with your own money, and then you can argue with the producer by shouting at the mirror. But you'll only scare mainstream money away by claiming to be original. The real trick is to say that you're going to do something that's like something that's been done before and then do something different. You just need to reassure them by using ingredients that look familiar. Choose one from each of the following categories.
Boy wizard, Teenage vampire, Brooding superhero, Robot, Toy, Cop with a drink problem, Crusading journalist with a broken marriage, Eccentric family with a cute kid, Sassy newcomer with an attitude, Feisty woman on a life-affirming journey of self-discovery, Wronged warrior on a rampage of slaughter.
Bad wizard, Bad vampire, Bad superhero, Bad robot, Bad toy, Serial killer, Evil tycoon, Corrupt politician, Fashion magazine editor, Master criminal played by respected British actor with an unexpectedly large tax bill to pay.
Save the world, Make the kid happy, Kill the villain, Serve justice, Serve dinner, Expose evil, Get married, Get published, Get rich, Get home, Get laid... mmm... cigarette?
Greed, Power, Corruption, Protagonist's inner flaw, Kryptonite, Lack of time, Lack of money, Lack of Idris Elba, Irascible police lieutenant, Devious best friend, Bad breath, heart-rending moral dilemma, Bubonic plague, Death.
Don't forget to choose a genre. To help you, here's a guide:
SCI-FI: In a distant galaxy, far away, everything explodes.
ACTION: Your mission, should you accept it, is to explode.
KIDS: Everything explodes but no one gets killed.
ROMANCE: Two people, an explosion of love.
COMEDY: Whatever you do, don't touch th-- (BOOM!)