Free Box, Installment #1

by jbloodwell

Here is a new feature I’ve been meaning to roll out for some time now. Last spring I had the idea to generate tons of ideas for novels, stories, and films every day, with the intention of starting an “idea factory” wherein I’d then contract writers, via elance or Craig’s List, to flesh out those ideas.

For various reasons—chief among them a reluctance to spend my money this way and a writer’s proprietary feeling toward his ideas—my idea factory closed down. But since then I’ve revisited some of my ideas and realized they’re not at all bad, and that for the right person they might be helpful. I’ve also noticed that I have plenty of ideas for other things, in fields like business, that for various logistical reasons I am never going to put into action.

So I decided to create a space on this website where I can put these things out, free to anyone who wants them: a “free box,” like you’ve probably got at work, or in your apartment building, or like I used to find in my dorm buildings while at college.

No strings are attached to any of these ideas, although I’d like to ask that if you find something here that is useful to you, you let me know (and especially if it ends up turning into a finished product of some kind). And if you take one of my ideas and turn it into a multimillion-dollar feature film, it would certainly be appreciated if you threw some of the royalties my way.

Anyway, here it is, Free Box Installment #1:

-Hoboes. Period piece. Bank heist: hoboes versus railroad bull and small-town sheriff who shot lead hobo down years earlier. Comedic but tense (in the vein of O Brother Where Art Thou?). Fading of hobo era—new high-speed trains are making it more difficult to jump onto trains. Ragtag bunch of hoboes pulls off big heist.

Haymarket-style detective story. Bomb is thrown, anarchist is wrongly accused. Amid outrageous bias, one honest cop discovers the truth, has to navigate tense 1880s climate along the way.

-Prison break. Dad has to escape to see his son play in the Super Bowl. Twin plotlines of father and son.

-Man who can walk through walls. Dishonest man uses this for evil, then good.

Storage Wars-type guy—a locker buyer—finds an urban treasure map supposedly leading to a famed treasure long since thought to have gone missing. Maybe shot in reality show fashion, with other contestants becoming involved along the way.

-Man in need of money goes on a game show—like either Jeopardy! or Wheel of Fortune—and competes using a special system he worked out using hours and hours of tape on that show. (Invent a show to suit the plot; base it on that “Whammy” show guy. [I meant Michael Larson, who successfully “cheated” on Press Your Luck in the 1970s.] He has to not only compete against other contestants but has to outsmart producers who know something is up. (Would need to differentiate it a bit more from Slumdog Millionaire.)

Harlem Globetrotters versus Washington Generals story. Crushing anguish and effects on team of losing every night, discrepancy between good guys on-court and off. Bad News Bears-type story, with Generals rallying to win one (and then being booed vigorously). [I’d be remiss if I didn’t plug my own short story here, “The Night the Washington Generals Beat the Harlem Globetrotters,” in cream city review.]

-Zero energy moment is reached, when there’s no more oil or coal. People think they’re ready but they’re not. Documentary style, following human-power impresario, solar proponent, wind person, etc. OR: when the lights go out, terror over uncertainty, no internet (no electricity), a serial killer is stalking the city. [Note: I have never seen the TV show Revolution but this sounds somewhat similar from having watched the promos. I definitely wrote this idea down at the end of last May, so please, NBC, do not sue me.]

There you have it, the first installment of Free Box. Not the greatest ideas in the world, but what do you want? They’re free.

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