Arts & Entertainment

Expanding on the Idea

The Duffer Brothers

Lesson time 21:20 min

Using never-before-seen documents from the "Stranger Things" concept development, Matt and Ross walk you through their “blue-skying” process for building out and improving ideas.

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Topics include: The Blue-Skying Process • Blue-Skying "Stranger Things" • Discover the Tone • Assignment Blue-Sky Your Ideas


[MUSIC PLAYING] - So now you've got some ideas right now. It's time to pick your favorite idea. So hopefully this is the idea that if you wake up, you're feeling really good about it, you're excited, you can't wait to write, you can't wait to get into final draft and start making-- turning it into a script, but like hold up, hold up, hold up. So what-- we're actually going to do something more fun than that, more fun than writing the script. So the first thing we do and this is in a lot of ways the most fun part of the process for us, because you've got the idea down, right? - That's so hard. - You got an idea, which is really, really hard and really taxing. But once you have the idea, the fun part is to explore that idea. So this is something we call blue-skying, we say we're going to blue-sky our idea. And basically that just means no pressure brainstorming. And remember, you could start blue-skying, you can start brainstorming an idea, and it's not getting you excited. So you can always go back. I mean, you're never forced to stick with an idea. I mean, we do that all the time. And one way you know it's a good idea is that it starts to unlock a lot of doors. So as you're thinking about the idea, as you're brainstorming it, suddenly you go, oh, what about this? What about that? It's exciting. It's just like, oh, wow, this is a really fun sandbox to play in and there's so much, almost too much, to do here. That was certainly the case with "Stranger Things." We had a psychic girl. We had monsters. We had a police chief. We had another dimension. We're like-- - Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, we just had all this stuff, and we just wanted-- we started to spit all these ideas. But I think the most important thing is to trust yourself and trust what you're feeling, and just you want to feel that passion, you want to feel the excitement. If you've got that, great. We should start blue-skying. [MUSIC PLAYING] - So usually when Ross and I are blue-skying, what we do is we get together, we hit on music, we open up our computers, and then we just start to bat around ideas. So we throw out, it's almost stream of consciousness. So it's just, we just throw out any and every idea that we have. We jot it all down. It's super sketchy, very, very messy. A lot of the ideas we throw out. Will never see the light of day. No one will ever read them. This is like a very personal part of the process that's just for yourself, but it's always good to have too many ideas. You can always pull from them later. You'll be surprised. I think as we stepped through our brainstorming for "Stranger Things" how some ideas we had very early on became something we used in season two or season three. So it's always good to have a huge grab bag of ideas and just start to throw any and everything out. - And the reason we like, even though it is stream of consciousness, why we like writing it down is because then...

About the Instructor

Before they turned our world upside down with "Stranger Things," Matt and Ross Duffer honed their scare tactics on Wayward Pines and their debut thriller, Hidden. Now, the acclaimed showrunners reveal the dark science of creating a monster hit. Craft gripping story arcs, conjure unforgettable characters—like Eleven or Jim Hopper—and turn your raw idea into a pitch for the next big thing to cross over from the other side.

Featured MasterClass Instructor

The Duffer Brothers

Matt and Ross Duffer—the "Stranger Things" masterminds—teach you how they plotted the series from beginning to end, and how you can bring your own idea to life.

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