June 14, 2011
Run out of ideas for that spot you're trying to write? Just go to your idea file. You know, the place where you store those discarded concepts, parts of campaigns, spec spots that never aired, random thoughts and tangents you go off on while writing for other clients. You do have an idea file, don't you?
It's amazing how fresh those recycled stories can become when you dust them off again. And now placed in a different context and amplified with your increased experience, they may be exactly what you need. Some will be worse for the aging, but some will shine like gems.
Think of your idea file as a compost heap where seeds unexpectedly sprout into healthy plants. Dig around a little and see what you can find.
Once you've unearthed one of these nearly forgotten treasures, don't just force it into a spot/situation where it doesn't fit ... adapt it. That idea for the conversation between the driver and the mechanic might make a good premise for a computer owner and a software consultant. Combine disparate elements from the file. Morph that exploding goldfish story with your saga of the fast food drive through into a spot about an overstuffed burrito.
Don't just file away this idea about the idea file. Start one of your own.