In Progress
Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress

Day 5: Final Four Formats

Fiverr August 20, 2021

Hi everyone,

I hope you are having fun with this. Many of you have already
started having breakthroughs because you are re-thinking
your concept through the Marketing Formats.

In this weekend’s conference, we’ll clear up any questions you may have
about the process and I’ll give a clear picture of Level 3. The additions we
make to the process can easily produce huge improvements in any
idea. So you have a real treat to look forward to.

But first…



Many of the unique stories are very familiar, but they have a twist that
gives them that special appeal.

RANSOM: When a millionaire’s son is kidnapped, he goes
on TV offering the requested ransom as a reward
to the kidnappers assistants to turn in their boss.

HANCOCK: A superhero with serious emotional problems,
who is helped out by a PR guy, discovers that the guy’s
wife is also a superhero — and his wife from 70 years ago.

GROSSE POINTE BLANK: A lonely hitman returns to his
high school reunion to see his long lost love, but
gets an assignment…to kill her father.


This is an easy change to try on. Simply take the main character and
switch the sex, race, age, etc.

THE CONTENDER: The newly nominated female Vice President faces a
senate hearing and refuses to answer questions
about an alleged sexual indiscretion in college.

If you look at THE CONTENDER, it is very similar to what happened to
Clarence Thomas. Switch the lead character to a female, make her the
President’s choice for V.P. and then play out the political and media battle.

And I’d like you to see how two other movies with unique environments
also fulfilled this format.

GI JANE: The first woman candidate for the Seal Team fights
against physical, cultural, and political enemies
to make the team.

DISTRICT 9: An alien ship is stalled out over South Africa
and one of the humans who contain them accidentally
ingest a liquid that slowly turns him into an alien.

And finally, there is STUART LITTLE. Can you imagine that movie being of
much interest if it was a human boy being adopted and kidnapped? But
having Stuart be a mouse, it becomes a very successful children’s movie.


Find out what the normal story is and reverse it. For example, many
stories are about smart people who fight their way to success, but look at
how this concept reverses that norm…

FORREST GUMP: An innocent/stupid man flukes his way into riches
and the most important political events of the 60’s.

There were many stories about what a benevolent guy Santa Claus was.
Simply reverse that and you have…

BAD SANTA: A miserable conman and his partner pose as Santa
and his Little Helper to rob department stores on Christmas Eve.

And what about the one thing that every child fears — the monsters under
the bed? Reverse that and you have…

MONSTERS, INC: Monsters generate their city’s power by scaring
children, but they are terribly afraid themselves of being
contaminated by children.

Once again, this is very simple. Look at the main parts of your concept
and see if there is a way to reverse some part of it.


This is a big one. If your characters have an amazing plan or strategy,
that can become the High Concept. Consider the plans in these movies:

MOMENTO: A man with only short-term memory tries to track down
the killer of his wife…by tattooing his body with key
evidence and instructions.

WAG THE DOG: To cover a scandal, a Hollywood producer is called
in to assist a White House spinmaster to “produce”
a fake war.

GHOSTBUSTERS: Exterminators for ghosts.

To find the plan/strategy, look at the main conflict and then search for
the most unique way possible for your lead character to resolve it.


Once again, here is the original idea, the fascination and the final
four formats.

SEED IDEA: Two brothers declare war on each other and cause a
crisis for their entire family.

FORMAT #9: Give it a twist

Two brothers return to their small town and fight from one side of
town to the other, but surprise, it is a reality show and the town
is excited until one brother shows up dead.

FORMAT #10: Change sex, race, age, species, etc.

Two sisters choreograph an entire fight, then issue a press release
challenging the UFC to let them fight in the Octagon, but are
floored when the UFC agrees, pitting them against the top
women fighters in the world.

FORMAT #11: Reverse the norm

A backwoods family holds their own makeshift court, convicts
two of their sons of “living a sinful life,” and sentences them to

FORMAT #12: Unique Plan/strategy

A millionaire returns to his small town to spend Christmas with
his estranged family, then is framed for murder, jailed, and given
a local drunk as a lawyer, and now must figure out who he
can trust and who framed him.

Some are good, some aren’t. But for the moment, all that matters
is completing the process so you fully understand the different formats.

Once you’ve written your ideas out like this a few times, you’ll notice
that you start thinking through the formats. Then, it is much easier
to take an idea and instantly generate a variety of great concepts
from it.


As before, you want to run two of your ideas through the last four

1. Take your idea and reconsider it through each format.
For Format #9, just ask “What kind of twist could I give this?”

FORMAT #9: Give it a twist

FORMAT #10: Change sex, race, age, species, etc.

FORMAT #11: Reverse the norm

FORMAT #12: Unique Plan/strategy

2. With each format, come up with a new concept.

3. At the conclusion, tell us which one you like most.

4. ANSWER THE QUESTION “What I learned from doing this
assignment is…?” and place that at the top of the page.

Title: [ProSeries 50] (Your name) Formats 9-12

Send to:

Deadline: 24 hours

By the time you complete these last four formats, you will have experienced
all twelve. Don’t worry about the quality of your concepts so far. We’re
still less than half way through this class and the best is yet to come.

Have fun and allow yourself to create without criticism. That is the key
to stepping outside your creative box and expanding your range.

I’m looking forward to your concepts.


Copyright Hal Croasmun, 2002, 2014, all rights reserved.