Ideas you've had for movies that were later made without your input

I’ve always had this fantasy about stopping time. I thought that it would be so cool if I could stop time for a while and engage in all sorts of nutty hijinks. I pondered the physics, whether touching an inanimate object while time had stopped would injure your hand, or damage the object. I thought it out very thoroughly. It was a recurring daydream of mine.

Then I saw a Batman cartoon that handled the same idea. And then I read “The Fermata,” which dealt with the same idea. Now Clockstoppers has opened in theaters. Damn it! It was my idea!

This isn’t the first time that this has happened. Either my ideas are so spectacular that I should market them to Hollywood, or my ideas are so simple that they even occur to Hollywood hacks.

Anyway, does this happen to anyone else?

Of course, that should read “without your input” not “with.”

Damn it, again.

I had an idea for the “Stargate SG:1” series once, dealing with Sam’s dad. I e-mailed it to them, but they responded, inevitably, that they couldn’t take ideas. Then I saw the same plotline–with a different species of alien but the same–used a couple episodes later.

I know they didn’t use mine because I’m sure they filmed said episode before I e-mailed 'em. But it was creepy.

It mostly happens to me with TV shows, not movies. I come up with all sorts of future plotlines and then they’re often used. So either I have great ideas, or I can just tell how a plotline will end really easily.

When I was a kid, my family hosted a dinner with my stepmother’s cousin, who worked for NBC (and rarely visited us). We started thinking up ideas for TV shows, and jokingly suggested a situation comedy set in an old age home.

A year later, “The Golden Girls” premiered.

Go figure.

Well, I had this idea about a young boy who yearns to leave home, intercepts a distress call meant for someone else, and finds that he has great, mystic powers and sets out to learn to use those powers, rescue a princess from the clutches of an evil empire and leads the rebellion to a great victory. The whole thing takes place in space, in some other solar system quite a bit away from here many centuries ago.
Unfortunately, I had this idea in 1982. :stuck_out_tongue: :smiley:

Decades ago, when my youngest brother was a little kid, used to make up weird fairy tles or him. In one of those stories, a frog destroyed a group of vampires using a squirt gn filled with holy water.

Much later, in a movie called “The Lost Boys” two kids called… I kd younot… the Frog brothers (Corey Feldman was one of them) destroyed real vampires in that very manner.

I’m sure it was coincidence, but it felt really odd at the time. (Disclaimer: for all I know, the idea of kiling vampires with holy water in a squirt gun was old long before I thought of it!)

I was hoping they’d make a movie of The Fermata instead of a silly teen movie. Of course, it would have to be NC-17.

However, the idea goes back at least to H.G. Wells in his story “The New Accelerator”, and has been a staple of science fiction ever since.

I had an idea for a novel about a schizophrenic homeless man attempting to solve a murder mystery… then The Caveman’s Valentine came out. Oh, well. This happens to me quite a bit, with books and movies. The Name of the Rose, Galaxy Quest, quite a few others. Of course, that doesn’t mean I would have been able to develop the ideas as well. My feeling is that good basic ideas are a dime a dozen, but working them out effectively is the real trick. And often two books or two movies with very similar themes will come out at the same time.

Astorian – don’t feel bad. As far as I know, the earliest reference to combatting evil with holy water in a squirt gun was in Fredric Brown’s 1941 story “Armageddon”.

When I was 11 or 12 or so I partially designed (then ran out of attention span) a homebrew rpg about a full virtual reality within a computer network, that was a battleground between humanity and forces attempting the final enslavement of them. In this case, the forces were invading aliens. Character classes were people who had been fully uploaded into the system, people who still had their physical bodies hooked up, and the system-born fuly-sentient AIs who never had a body to begin with. All the stats centered around the ability to move around and manipulate the virtual reality.

The game was to be called, “The Matrix.”

Years and years later, a friend asks, “Have you seen the trailers for this ‘Matrix’ film that’s ocming out?”
Me: Nope. Let me guess, it’s some sci-fi action thing involving computer-generated reality, right?
Him: Er, yes. How did you know that if you haven’t heard of it?
Me: What the hell else would something with that title be about?

I always thought it would be funny if a Hero was faced with a sword-wielding baddie. Instead of swordfighting with him, the Hero just takes out a gun and shoots him. I mentioned the idea to friends a couple of times. Then Raiders of the Lost Arc came out. DAMMIT! They stole my idea! But this has happened to a friend a couple of times.

When we were playing with super-8 and video arcades were popular, my friend had the following idea which we were going to film: A kid plays a certain video game. He’s really good at it. The Best. It turns out the game is a testing device for an alien civilization that needs fighter pilots for their galactic war. After talking about it for a year or two, The Last Starfighter was released. Weird, eh?

My friend was working on a great idea a few years ago. First, instead of working from a script (he’d made two feature-length films by this point, on which I worked), he was going to draw the storyboards and work exclusively from them. He spent about a year making the drawings for a story about a detective. The detective could walk onto a crime scene and get psychic flashes of what had happened. The detective was taciturn and intense. As he works cases, he realizes there is an organization out there that is trying to bring about the end of the world. Just as my friend was finishing his storyboards, Chris Carter’s Millennium debuted as a weekly series.

My friend did make his detective film (I was first unit photography on that one), but the psychic detective became a sleeze-obsessed P.I. and the film itself became a weird comedy. (The opening scenes especially are hilarious!)

Er… Ark. :o

You should read Brief Interviews With Hideous Men by David Foster Wallace. One of the stories in that collection interviews a man who has a recurring masturbation fantasy of stopping time, but becomes so obsessed with how the physics of that would work that it nearly drives him mad.

After discovering Snopes years ago, I thought it would be clever to make a horror movie based on urban legends.

My movie would have been a helluva lot better than Urban Legends, too.

I once came up with a plotline that involved a woman running into her old boyfriend whom she thought was dead but was actually in the Federal witness protection program. Of course, this was the springboard to a heartfelt movie about love, fate, second chances, and the inevitability of mistakes made and emotions invested, none of the things the subsequent, crappy Bird on a Wire was.

Also, I came up with the idea that an actor who plays a criminal on an America’s Most Wanted-type show actually gets mistaken for the criminal himself, leading to an erroneous manhunt. Then I heard Larry Cohen came out with a straight-to-video quickie involving the same story.

Wasn’t the “shoot the guy with the sword” gag done even earlier in a movie called Seven (not that one) with William Smith in 1979?

A movie based on The Fermata, I’d like to see a major studio give that one a try…

I had a story idea that shared much of it’s main plot ideas with American Beauty. Now, if any of you have seen my postings on these boards, you would understand why Alan Ball beat me to the punch. I’m a dyslexic, incoherent fool, who’s story ideas will never get any recognition because they are stuck in my head with no way out. I open my mouth to feed alert ears, I hold my pen to paper, I have my fingers hovering over the keyboard with a new MS Word document on the computer screen, and I even try to DRAW the scenes that play out in my head… and nothing but gibberish comes out of my mouth, pens, typing or drawings!

Man, I don’t even care if I get the credit Alan Ball did, I just want to share the one thing I ‘think’ I have. It’s HARD! It would really give me a place in this world though. I know nothing of story telling or movie making… not I would get very if I did know more about those things. Not a lot of people do get very far. I hope to ONE DAY exploit whatever it is I have to offer in some way or another. Maybe one day! :slight_smile:

Enough lurking… I’m finally getting my feet wet :slight_smile:

Years ago (late 70’s) i wrote a sketch for English class about a guy who finds out his girlfriend is pregnant and then finds out that the girl he’s been cheating with is also pregnant… was a hit with the classmates but not my English teacher LOL!!!

A few years later i saw a movie with Dudley Moore in a movie about the exact same thing (except they were old… )

I actually wanted to claims the rights but then i saw the movie and i decided to just shut up

I was responsible for 9 of the 10 top grossing films of all time.
That one with the little kid in the house, running around? “ahhh ahhh!”? I had nothing to do with that one.

Sigh…

Well, according to Baldwin, I was plagiarizing Frederic Brown without knowing it.

Think he’ll sue?

P.S. What made seeing “The Lost Boys” odd wasn’t just people put holy water in squirt gun. It was the fact that characters named Frog were doing it (and, as I said, in my old bedtime stories, it was an actual amphibian frog who did it).

The original TWLIGHT ZONE did an episode about a watch that stops time back in the '60s, and then the new TWILIGHT ZONE reused the idea in the '80s.

And of course the TV movie THE GIRL, THE GOLD WATCH, AND EVERYTHING also used a magic watch to stop time.

In truth, a premise like this isn’t worth much in and of itself. You need to come up with a great story based on the premise.

steve biodrowski
www.thescriptanalyst.com