I’m intrigued by high concepts. Especially in film. I don’t understand the film industry but in my mind there’s corridors of suited execs at Warner Bros, Fox etc babbling away in an extremely clipped vocabulary all of their own.
I also want to imagine that they are similar to the waxy haired execs in American Psycho. All chisel-featured and clad neck to toe in Armani. Referring to one another by their surname and proudly brandishing their latest business cards.
Tossers, in any other language.
Thoroughly uncreative, bean-counting tossers who can only process their corporate life by way of their adopted language rich with its buzzwords and bullshit.
A typical executive corridor at Warner Bros
“Hey, Jenson. Did you hear the latest?”
“Hey, Bradowski. Which latest is that?”
“They took a new concept in late last night.”
“I heard, what was it again? Had a late one at Brown’s last night. My head’s a little west right now.”
“Harry Potter…. in SPACE!”
“Jesus, that rocks. Who’ve they got earmarked for that one?”
“Well, funny you should mention it but they put my name forward…”
It’s as sickening to read as it is to write.
So after watching the short but highly satisfying Lights Out the other evening, I thought about high concepts that are purely in video form.
Lights Out was originally conceived as a short film. A concept piece. Just a few minutes long and pretty creepy. Everything you’d want to see in the full length film was portrayed right there.
And here it is.
Easily the creepiest 3 minutes I’ve seen in a long time.
If you were to present this to a studio I’m pretty sure you’d be met by a couple of distinct reactions.
- That’s pretty awesome
- How in hell am I gonna stand in the corridor and talk to other suits about this?
I like the concept a lot. It inspires me to think differently about a story. It also encourages me to go back and look at stories that I’ve enjoyed to see if I can condense them into 3 minutes of film.
There’s more to the Lights Out movie than just flicking the light on and off. But not much more. It’s wrapped up in backstory of mental health and experimentation-gone-wrong. But essentially it’s all about keeping the lights on at all costs. I find that very attractive as a writer.