"Based on a story by my pal Shecky"
May 28, 2009 12:02 AM Subscribe
How often are the stories of a comic, novel, play, TV series, movie, or song conceived by the writer's friend, relative, acquaintance, neighbor, mailman, dog, etc?
Writers get all the credit for their works (except in movies, where the director often ends up with a lot; and TV is often collaborative), but just how often is a given story entirely their own idea?
I remember some old anecdote about how Charles Schulz refused to accept story ideas from fans. And for legal reasons it's probably a smart choice for professional writers. But like a lot of people, IANAPW, but still harbor ambitions of coming up with the concept for the Great American Movie. (A lot of people in America, anyway.)
Not that I plan on hounding my friendly neighborhood screenwriter, but out of sheer curiosity, do you know of any instances where the premise behind a well-known show, movie, book, etc was conceived of in detail by someone other than the credited writer/creator... just an ordinary "civilian"?
A close example would be "Lost," which was roughly conceived by a then-exec at ABC, before being fleshed out by JJ Abrams and company. Now, if the general story arc of the entire series had originally been pitched to JJ by, say, his optician... that'd be even better.