I'm writing this down in hopes that my thoughts will be sorted. I'm developing a short script, something ten minutes long or so. But I need a decent idea before I develop it.
First I wanted to do something centered around a conflict between a young couple, with loaded and witty conversation. I want to shoot it to look like Mad Men, implicitly set in the late fifties or so, but only by the exclusion of modern references, and perhaps the wardrobe. The problem is that if the film includes only this conversation, it will be limited in scope and it will be difficult to sustain interest for ten minutes. It's also hard to conform it to a traditional protagonist v antagonist three act arc, a hero's journey, which the school strongly advocates. There could be an arc to their conversation but not to either character, which is the real problem.
Then I thought of a story about a young woman who works in marketing and wants to gain the attention of some guy. I ran with this for a while; she'd use her knowledge of marketing strategies to get the guy to ask her out, except she'd fail of course. Then Something happens. I also wanted cupcakes to play a central role in the story-- either the marketing firm is doing work around cupcakes, or, I don't know. I have a few variations of what could happen, but I couldn't figure out who the guy is and why he is so hard to get to. I wanted a female protagonist because men are pretty dumb, more instinctual. I even wrote a rough outline to pitch to my instructor, but I knew it was a crappy story because there's nothing at stake, there's nothing to make the man really worth her investment, and there's nothing to keep them apart.
Instead, literally on the way to class, I wrote an outline in which a young woman wants to become a bartender at a famous tiki bar, and spends a week devotedly researching tiki culture and trying to perfect her drinks. She's completely drunk the entire time because she samples her own recipes. She finally has an interview, and it goes horribly of course, but she pours the perfect mai tai. She passes out and wakes up the next morning in bed with her arm around an inflatable palm tree. I pitched this in class.
That's a nice, silly story, but there's no pay off at the end. I don't want to write it because there's little to write.
The problem is that I still have the idea about the arguing couple stuck in my head. I've thought of a dozen things they could be fighting about but haven't figured how to make it worth ten minutes of time. It could be about the man's addiction to an online game, like World of Warcraft, but I'd hate to make it so topical and silly. It would then become too lighthearted and would limit it's universality. I don't want it to be about Now.
I have to write a detailed outline by Friday.