Film Courage: What’s the definition of high-concept? Sometimes I struggle with it myself. Then I hear and go “Okay” and then I forget again.
Gary Goldstein: Well, generally it’s considered an idea that is very easily understandable in a couple of sentences. You know if you are pitching something, pitch a high-concept. Three secretaries conspire to murder their boss, 9 TO 5. An actor dresses as a woman to get a job on a soap opera because he can’t get any other work and learns to appreciate women more as a result of it, TOOTSIE…I mean that kind of thing.
Those movies are a little less popular now, those high-concept comedies or those high-concept ideas, but you still need a concept that is strong and simple to understand and for people to get. How will they market it? What will be on the poster? What will be in the trailer? Just for people to get it. It doesn’t have to be anything that wild or that imaginative, but it has to be relatively simple to state.
Otherwise ideas get so complicated that they get very convoluted and that shows up in the writing and sometimes the film itself. So it’s about keeping it simple but interesting and (I don’t know, for lack of a better word) clever and unique.
Film Courage: So can someone bounce that idea off of someone like “Hey this is the logline for my script (or whatever.” And if the person doesn’t get it, they know they need to refine the story?
Gary Goldstein: Right. I’ve definitely gone in to pitch ideas for a film or TV pilot or something and I think I get it and I think it’s a good idea and then someone will say…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).
Gary Goldstein is an award winning writer for film, TV and the stage. He has written numerous films for Hallmark Channel and its sister network, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, including the comedies “The Wish List,” “Hitched for the Holidays,” “This Magic Moment” and “My Boyfriends’ Dogs,” and the first two films in the “Flower Shop Mystery” series: “Mum’s the Word” and “Snipped in the Bud,” starring Brooke Shields.
Gary’s feature film “Politics of Love,” a romantic comedy set during the 2008 U.S. Presidential election, was released in theaters August 2011. He also wrote the feature romantic comedy, “If You Only Knew,” which starred Johnathon Schaech, Alison Eastwood and James LeGros.
In addition, Gary has sold or optioned a number of original screenplays, has a string of episodic TV credits and has sold half-hour comedy pilots to both NBC and Warner Bros Television.
On the L.A. stage, Gary has been represented with the comedies “Just Men,” “Parental Discretion” and “Three Grooms and a Bride.” His family drama “Curtain Call” premiered in late 2008 at Carmel, CA’s Pacific Repertory Theatre. His newest play, the three-sisters dramedy “April, May & June,” will have its World Premiere in March 2017 at Theatre 40 in Beverly Hills, as part of its 2016-17 subscription season.
Gary is also a freelance film reviewer and feature writer for the Los Angeles Times.