“When you’ve read as many scripts as I’ve read—well over 30,000—it is very hard to throw something in front of me that makes me say, ‘Wow, I’ve never seen that before,’ and usually when I do it’s not because I’m thinking, ‘Wow, that’s an amazingly [original] concept,’ it’s because I’m thinking it’s the most ridiculously stupid concept….The old adage that everybody likes to say in this town is: ‘It’s unique, but familiar.’ It’s about taking what it is that we’ve seen before and just tweaking it….You just have to ask yourself, “Okay I’ve seen this a million times, so what can I do to make it a little different? How can I twist it around just a tiny bit?’ and hopefully [devise a] journey that is unique and where the obstacles and challenges and conflicts are things that perhaps do feel fresh.”
WME Story Editor Christopher Lockhart
Script magazine, January/February 2012
Article by Ray Morton
P.S. A great example of “Give us the same thing…only different” is Three Days of the Condor (1975) and The Bourne Identity (2002). Or as many others have pointed out— Battle Royale (2000) and The Hunger Games (2012).
P.P.S. One of my all-time favorite blog posts is Lockhart’s The “A” List.