Monday, August 31, 2009

Ideas Executed Brilliantly

Okay, since there was all this talk about originality, touchstones, ideas executed in a brilliant manner, and all that other jazz last week. I thought I'd take the time to throw out some examples of what I thought were ideas executed brilliantly. Now, don't forget, that there aren't any original ideas any longer. Every single idea out there has been done before . . . just in a different way.

So, here's my list, and no, they're not all books either. This is just a way to touch upon the idea of executing brilliantly . . .

Idea: Someone dies, goes to Heaven, and then is sent back to occupy somebody else's body. Yeah, familiar idea. Drop Dead Diva on Lifetime executes this idea brilliantly in a new and fresh way. I just happened to catch the show one day and fell in love with the concept. Basically, a 24 year old blonde model dies and her soul is plunked into the body of a 32 year old very chunky woman with dark hair. Talk about culture shock. Still, this concept could have come across as hokey. Instead, the writers are doing a brilliant job as this 24 year old skinny blonde model is forced to see life through different eyes. Check it out if you get a chance.

Idea: stranded on a desert island and must survive against nature and overwhelming odds. Let's see - Swiss Family Robinson, Robinson Carusoe, Castaway, and Lost. Each execution of brilliance stands out on its own. The idea has been done before, countless time, but each execution is a bit different that intrigues the viewer/reader.

Idea: a reinterpretation of the Greek mythology. Okay, we have Clash of the Titans (good movie), the syndicated series Hercules with Kevin Sorbo, and then Marie Phillips wrote gods behaving badly. OMG, loved the book. She took an interesting premise and developed it into a quirky, wonderful novel.

Idea: a little girl skipping through the woods on the way to grandma's house, the big bad wolf, a princess kept in a high tower by a witch, a woman with an evil stepmother and sisters. Yeah, you got it, fairy tale concepts. A brilliant execution of this idea, combining characters from many fairy tales, was the Broadway musical Into the Woods. Great play, available on DVD, and with Bernadette Peters to boot. Can life get much better than that? I don't think so! Oh, and then there was the animated Happily Never After with the voices of Sigourney Weaver and Sarah Michelle Geller. Basically, Cinderella's wicked stepmother gets control of fairy tale land and starts to make sure that all the stories end happily never after. Very cute movie with a unique twist, shall we say brilliant execution, on an idea that's been done before.

Now, there are tons, tons more examples I could put out there, but I'm not going to. Instead, I'm asking for your input. Yes, you, dear readers. What are some ideas you think were executed brilliantly?



Robyn Campbell said...

Hmmm, I want to say Seventy Two Hours. Robyn Campbell had this idea of two thirteen year old girls lost in the Blue Ridge Mountains. One girl has type one diabetes. Now that idea was done brilliantly! :)

What about Black Beauty? Has any idea ever been so brilliant? Anna Sewell never knew that little, itty, bitty idea she had, would move young girls and adults so much.:)

Talk to you soon. :) Oh and have a day where you execute an idea in a brilliant manner. :)

Tess said...

What a well thought out post. I love how these relatively known story concepts can be done with a fresh twist, done well, and they suddenly seem interesting again. Isn't that really how much of life and writing and movies and such are? Great reminder, Scott. Thanks!

Litgirl01 said...

Ideas executed BRILLIANTLY - most every play that Shakespeare ever wrote. :-D Hope you are doing OK...and that Tyrone is battling other margarita drinking gladiators in the dark recesses of your WIP. :D

Davin Malasarn said...

Scott, I really like to see what other people consider great work or great ideas, in your case. Thanks a lot for posting this!

Scott said...

Anne of Green Gables - orphan girl finds home & happiness. Been done before, and since, but this is still one of my faves.

Robyn - back at ya! Check out the blog tomorrow for some info about an idea executed brilliantly!

Tess - until all this talk about originality, making your ideas brilliant, and all the other stuff, I hadn't really considered the concept of 'no originality'. Now, I consider it, and look back at the books I've read. Amazing. And, you're right, it's the twist that makes the 'done before' original.

Litgirl01 - doing good . . . and Tyrone is still battling other margarita drinking gladiators. ; )

Davin - everything is subjective. I always point out two movies when talking about subjectivity - Forest Gump and Practical Magic. I absolutely hated Forest Gump, even though the critics just raved about the movie. I absolutely loved Practical Magic, even though the move pretty much got panned! So, it's all in the eyes of the beholder!


ElanaJ said...

Um, I don't know? But I agree with Tess. It just goes to show that you don't necessarily need a NEW idea. You just need to execute it well.

Scott said...

Elana, Elana, Elana, not even your own fantastic WiP?? I mean, surely, your brilliance is shining through so brightly that it appears the sun never sets in your neck of the woods. : )


Lady Glamis said...

I love seeing old ideas done with a new twist. Castaway is one of my favorite movie although a lot of people think it's just boring.

I think I'm doing some old ideas with a new twist. In fact, that's what most of my writing is all about - what most writing should be, I suppose, since I believe there's really not that many new ideas out there. Just twists and creative thinking. Thanks for a great post!