What inspires us? As a production company, we are always developing new ideas for TV. These ideas come from all sorts of inspiration. Everyone has different inspirations for their ideas, so we asked the development team to reveal what makes them inspired and where they go when they need inspiration!
Duncan McAlpine (Head of Development)
The great thing about idea generation for potential television and film projects is that the inspiration can come from anywhere. It may come from newspapers and magazines, it may come from watching other television programmes, it may even come from a casual conversation with a friend at a social occasion. One of my best formats came to me in a moment of inspiration after a particularly hair-raising car journey with a friend – just who is Britain’ Worst Driver? I sat for a day at home thinking about how you would test people’s driving skills and attached appropriate talent – Quentin Wilson was presenting Fifth Gear on Channel 5 at the time. A few weeks later after pitching to Channel 5, the series was filmed and 17 years later the format is still being produced somewhere in the world. Luckily I own part of that format and was pleased to learn a few weeks ago that Britain’s Worst Driver is number 64 in the Top 100 television most produced formats of all time.
One of the great disciplines of television development is to know when to drop an idea. In the first flush of excitement, the idea may seem brilliant but let it settle for a day or two and really talk it through. It could be that actually it’s not such a great idea after all – too expensive, too derivative, too difficult legally, too difficult logistically. Don’t be afraid to say no to an idea or at least keep it on the back burner for a while because now may not be quite the right time.
Stuart Miles (Development Producer)
My ideas come from finding out about other people’s lives. I am naturally nosey and started my career as a journalist so I understand what makes a good story. Ultimately television is about telling good stories in an original way, the trickier part is coming up with the unique way to tell that story.
Susan Tang (Head of Asia)
I think in daily life we always need good observation, and sometimes we will be inspired by some news/ phenomenon from TV, newspapers and social media. London is a city full of arts. I love going to galleries and museums to see their exhibition’s, and through these visits, they could inspire me for many new thoughts and ideas. I also get inspiration for funny and interesting conversations with my friends…
Chloe Zhou (Development Producer)
It could be anything. From a book, the news, a short story, an exhibition, a conversation with a stranger or a friend, or just an idea suddenly pops up in my mind based on what I have heard and seen without any purpose…
Holly Steadman (Assistant Producer)
I get my ideas from all around, you never know when an idea might hit you so you’ve got to keep and eye out for anything that could inspire you. I watch TV, read books, chat with people, read the news, anything. You never know when or why an idea might come to you, and always keep a notebook to write them down or I can guarantee you’ll forget them!
Ryan Correia (Researcher and Developer)
The mind is a funny thing….sometimes I could just be doing nothing with my mind empty of thoughts or ideas when suddenly something comes to me like a two tonne white rhino. However most of the time in the holiest place of all; lying in bed watching everything go by…these ideas would progress from what I would do or watch on Youtube, Instagram, Netflix and Tumblr, but depending on weather, when the sun is out giving us its heat, I would go on my Slackline for inspiration too.
Ajeta Kapoor (Assistant Producer and Researcher)
My inspiration normally strikes when I’m not thinking about the project at all. It could be when I’m cooking, going for a walk, or at midnight when I’m in bed. What also helps is watching other people’s stuff and reading about their creative process’.
I believe that my ideas mostly come from my life, but I am inspired a lot during travel. I’ve always experienced something really thrilling and met people who have different cultural backgrounds from me when I visit different places. When I keep open-minded and have broader horizons, I get more ideas and inspirations that I could put into my works.
My ideas usually come from normal life events. For example, I might write a love story because of the cute couple I met at the coffee shop. I may also create an alien war script or a new advertising plan while taking a shower. In addition, I like travelling, reading and watching movies. Meeting different people always helps me create new stories. A new book or movie will bring me new knowledge and inspiration, and it will make me very susceptible to new themes. I have a small notebook, and whenever I have a new idea I will write it down because there is always a time to use it. This is a good habit and it will be very enjoyable every time I look at it.
I really like to read novels and go and see things such as exhibitions etc. These have greatly enriched my thinking. Sometimes when you look at the exhibitions, you can think about if it can be combined in to a TV show. When I was in college, I liked to brainstorm ideas which I think is very useful and effective. I also think watching a variety of shows also helps my imagination. I like to communicate with strangers, especially children. When children think about issues, they have no limits and this gives me ideas.