30 free ideas for multimedia producers and digital storytellers
One of the first and best bits of advice I’ve ever been given has been this: write everything down.
Writing an idea down – making it physical on the page – engages your brain in imaging how that idea might happen. As the words form on the page, you think about logistics, treatments, audiences.
It also gives you the ability to vocalise and understand a problem. If a film you’re making isn’t working for some reason, try and write down why: if you can put your problem into words, you have power over it.
So for the last three years I’ve written ideas down as a matter of routine. I’ve got notebooks upon notebooks, as well as a 50 page Word document on my hard drive full of them. Many of the ideas are now redundant as I’ve moved onto other things, and following last week’s confessional, I thought I’d give some them away for free.
You never know, one person’s trash might be another person’s treasure.
A couple of disclaimers: I am fully aware most of these ideas are either lame or not original – that’s partly why I never pursued them. So I won’t be taking criticism in the comments about the quality or originality of the ideas, thank you. However, even if you don’t find any directly useful, they might fire off a spark into something else.
I’m publishing these under a Creative Commons Licence I’m calling the Call-Your-Mum-Licence (CYML 1.0). You don’t have to give any credit or anything, but if you do find a use for them, promise you’ll give your mum (or equivalent) a ring.
Right, let’s get on!
30 free ideas for digital producers
- Amazing real life stories that emerged solely from data on a spreadsheet
- Stories about items (typewriter/kodachrome) going extinct
- Stories of the glamour days of air travel (PanAm etc)
- Missed connections on Gumtree
- Profiles of people who make a living pretending to be someone else
- “My first…” directors/writers/painters talk about the pain of getting the first film/book/painting done
- “Journeys that almost killed me”
- “Scene of the crime” – take people back the place where something major happened in their life
- Is Britain tilting? (apparently it is)
- Elderly people share one piece of advice they’ve learned in their many years
- Investigate how easy it is to plant a tree in a public place (apparently not very)
- Run for MP in the next election and make a documentary about it.
- Visit every World Heritage Site in the country and document
- A website/magazine about people for whom ‘OK isn’t good enough’
- A collaborative piece where people across the country find out where their waste goes
- A website where people can fill in a box to say sorry for something they’ve done (anonymously)
- An app that lets people photograph potholes/graffiti and sends it, plus location, to their local authority. The LA can then text them directly when the problem has been fixed.
- Competitions to bring people from around the world together to solve a big problem – crowd sourcing problem solving
- A platform to show news packages from around the world..how have different countries covered the same event?
- Films about people who do a dying trade (blacksmith/wood turner etc)
- If we could build the internet from scratch, with everything we’ve learned, what would it look like?
- Repackage out-of-copyright books in a more visual and engaging way
- An app that makes it really clear what food is in season and local to you for when you go shopping
- Use splitscreen/tallscreen to show two sides to an argument
- A simple, non-technical description of how web sites are made
- A celebration of unconventional solutions to problems
- A visual rundown of all the different types of material and how long they take to decompose
- Take someone who’s in a bad place in their life on a creative journey (How to look good naked but with creativity not clothes)
- Get 15 brilliant people from completely different industries together to try and solve a problem in a weekend. Document it.
- A repository for unwanted ideas that other people can use and take inspiration from. In fact, let’s start it right now – share yours in the comments box!
UPDATE: Journalist Ben Whitelaw has added some of his spare ideas on his blog. Let me know if you do the same and I’ll link to them too.