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  1. Damage718

    Damage718 Senior Member

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    Project idea that already existed unbeknownst to me?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Damage718, Dec 31, 2019.

    Okay, if the thread title is confusing, that's because this situation is. It's really strange, and I'll try to explain it as best I can, so please bear with me.

    Many years ago when I was in college, I took a film/TV production class as part of my major (Visual Communication.) This was 2007. One assignment was to write a screenplay for a short film. I wasn't sure what to create, so I was poking around the 'web and found, on some forum, a few ideas for loglines. I saw one that I liked, but spun it in another direction and drafted the script. I ended up not submitting it though; I turned in a different one instead.

    Several years later, I was astonished to find the actual film online (I think on YouTube, though I'm not positive and of course I cannot find it now.) It was nearly identical to the script I wrote, but didn't submit. The film itself was old & grainy with some tracking distortion, as if it were uploaded from an old VHS copy in the 80's. So my guess is, MAYBE I saw it somewhere on TV as a kid and forgot all about it? That's a stretch, but it could be the case. It was a pretty common logline so it's even more possible that the idea was shared around.

    So, given that truly bizarre situation, do I have any recourse to possibly use the story? It's not like I NEED to, but I think it could make for a good piece of short fiction. I'd obviously never just take someone's completed work - even though I wrote a screenplay for a film that was apparently created decades before, though I never saw it until years after I wrote it.

    Weird enough?

    PS: Maybe this strange tale could make for a good enough story on it's own :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2019
  2. Cdn Writer

    Cdn Writer Contributor Contributor

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    Currently Reading::
    TRYING (!!!) to read Eric Flint's "Ring of Fire" series.......it's soooo many books!!!!!
    Why not?

    Put your own spin on it. Maybe you'll have an original approach to an old plot, an old setting or even an old character...think of "The Three Pigs and the Wolf" and then contrast that with the story, "The TRUE story of the three pigs and the wolf" - it was an animated cartoon and a book both. I can't for the life of me think of the writer's name....Jon S something....

    Anyways....go for it!
     
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  3. Cephus

    Cephus Contributor Contributor

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    There's no such thing as an original idea. Everything has been done before. All you can do is put your own spin on it. You'll never come up with something absolutely nobody has ever come up with before.
     
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  4. More

    More Active Member

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    The Temple of the winds , by James Follett , is about a town , based on where the writers lives , isolated from the world by a mysterious dome like barrier .
    Under The Dome by Stephen King , is about a town , based on where the writer lives , isolated from the rest of the world by a mysterious dome like barrier.
     
  5. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 HP: 10/190 Status: Confused Contributor

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    See:
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    vs
    Something Wicked This Way Comes (Ray Bradbury)
     
  6. Damage718

    Damage718 Senior Member

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    I understand that ideas are reused, recycled and even just copied shamelessly. Another example would be the football movies Necessary Roughness and The Replacements. Damn near identical.

    The situation I found myself in feels a little different, in that it it makes me ask myself how the hell it happened? I wrote a script for a film that I never saw, but was apparently shot 20+ years earlier. It just made me feel strange I guess.

    In any case, I feel I can definitely re-spin it to another short tale.
     
  7. Steve Rivers

    Steve Rivers Contributor Contributor

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    It's called convergent evolution (of thoughts). There's eight billion people on this planet. You know the odds of you being one of eight billion coming up with a unique idea? They're well....

    That's why folks in pop culture today get lauded not for new ideas, but for new takes. New ideas are so damned near impossible to find, that if you do find one, it's most likely that it was found, but wasn't popular for a reason.
     
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  8. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 HP: 10/190 Status: Confused Contributor

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    Write a horror story about a writer who writes a script for a film he never saw, gets it made, finds out that it was shot 20 years ago, and that all sorts of horrible stuff happened to the original cast and it's happening to his cast.

    Or something even better...
     
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  9. Zhora

    Zhora New Member

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    I wonder is there any way of putting one's own spin on old idea which could turned it into absolutely new idea?
     
  10. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor Blogerator

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    I've had that happen a few times too. Some of my ideas turn out to be things I saw or read as a kid and completely forgot about. So I learned to always mish-mash them together with other ideas and use that only as a basis from which I then evolve something different.

    You also need to be careful working from dreams, because often dreams are built from things you've seen or read. So the same advice applies there too.

    By the by, what's a logline? I thought it was the name of the project until you used the term again and I see that isn't it.
     
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  11. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 HP: 10/190 Status: Confused Contributor

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    The classic comedy movie Airplane (1980) was almost a scene-by-scene remake of Zero Hour (1957):
     
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  12. Damage718

    Damage718 Senior Member

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    @Xoic a logline is like a real brief summary of what the film is about. It's used a lot in commercials/explainer videos for businesses. For example, a logline for the movie "Rocky" might be: 'Down on his luck, underdog street fighter gets a shot at the World Heavyweight Title."
     
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  13. Damage718

    Damage718 Senior Member

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    I was considering doing that. The situation feels so strange to me, that I thought there might be away to build a new tale off of that.
     
  14. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    There is no copyright infringement unless you actually copied it, no matter how similar. Though infringement can be proven indirectly.
     
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  15. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor Blogerator

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    Ah, ok, gotcha. I know that as a Tagline. Logline sounded like some kind of computer code talk.

    Speaking of copying––er, borrowing––a lot of TV shows these days seem to be built largely from segments of familiar movies and other shows. My friend and I can often blurt out things like "Slimer from Ghostbusters...Han Solo suddenly returning when we thought he was gone...Insane Asylum episode from Buffy..." and on and on. It's almost like some kind of visual copypasta.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2020
  16. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    Logline is a term commonly used in screenwriting.
     
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  17. Damage718

    Damage718 Senior Member

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    They're similar. One way to think of it is that the tagline is what you'd see on a movie poster. A logline is your five-second pitch to a producer :)
     
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  18. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor Blogerator

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    Ah crap! Yeah, a tagline is something different. I have a bad memory for technical lingo. There's another term for Logline, I just can't remember what it is. Maybe it was pitch. I've heard it described as what you'd say to a producer on an elevator.

    "I don't know tech stuff"––Kyle Reese, Terminator.
     
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  19. Damage718

    Damage718 Senior Member

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    Yep, the classic "elevator pitch." A very common term for anyone in sales.

    Great Kyle Reese reference, btw :) He actually did know some tech stuff, just not from Sarah Connor's 1984 point of view. ;)
     
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  20. Cephus

    Cephus Contributor Contributor

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    A new idea? Probably not. There are no new ideas. A new take on an old idea? Sure. Happens all the time.
     
  21. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor Blogerator

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    Of course the best way is to write as much as possible from your own experience.
     
  22. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor Blogerator

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    Of course the best way is to write as much as possible from your own experience. Write what you know as the saying goes.
     
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