Generating Story Ideas for your Film

Writers block can happen to the best of us. We don’t know when it will happen and we can rarely tell when it will end. But there are ways to tackle writers block, and one in particular is by forcing creativity using some sticky notes, an online word generator, and a little imagination.

Like we say a lot of the time, getting the film look is more than just camera settings and fancy shots. If your film doesn’t have a story, it won’t feel like a real film, and if you are struggling to get ideas for a story, you can use a technique we call “Story in a can”.


It’s a simple trick. You want to create 4 categories; character, location, object, and scenario. Using an online word generator, write out 20 of each category onto some paper, fold them up, and place them into some sort of container. We used 4 tin cans and labelled them. 

Then it’s a case of picking out one bit of paper from each can and creating a storyline using each category.


If every unique combination creates a different story, 20 to the power of 4 gives us 160,000 combinations…we think! We’re probably wrong, leave us a comment with the right answer.

Each item doesn’t have to be super detailed. We stuck to a few bog standard occupations for characters like teacher, bartender, and bank manager, and added a few obscure ones like medium and funeral director.

The locations were things like public toilet, a beach, and a supermarket.

The objects were things like matches, a fork, and added some more complex ones like somebody else’s wallet. And the scenarios we wrote down were things like a job interview, nana going mental, an eating contest, and an exam.

By keeping them a bit simple, strange, and vague, it gives you more blanks to fill in and stretches your creative muscles. Sometimes combinations can be difficult, and if this happens, you can always cheat a little bit.

For example, if the location you picked was a mountain top but it didn’t fit very well with your other items you can always say it’s a restaurant named the mountain top. 


Use the notes however you want to use them. The story ideas you come up with might not be very good and you might just overcome writer’s blocks with this exercise. There is always a chance you might stumble on to your next script idea.

We actually did this technique for a vlog episode which is linked on screen and down below. We thought it was an awesome idea and wanted to share it with you!

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