Saturday, 27 September 2008

#26 – Thinking laterally for film angles

Or using the story, not the destination.

More than filming locations
In Travel Writer Tip #24, I suggested that films are a great inspiration for travel stories. This was mainly talking about locations that the films were shot in. However, by thinking laterally, there is another way of using films as a hook for a travel feature.

Indiana Jones
I’ll use 2008’s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull as an example. I ended up doing a round up piece on locations used across the Indy series, but looking back, there were other angles that could be extracted from it.

Stand-in filming locations
For example, much of the film was set in Peru, but filmed in Hawai’i. That could have been used as a peg to base a story about stand-in film locations around. What other films have been filmed somewhere entirely different from where the scene is supposed to be set?
Point Break springs to mind for this – Patrick Swayze’s character supposedly disappeared into the sea at Bells Beach, Australia, but due to budget restraints, this was filmed in Oregon.

Aztec and Maya civilisations
Then there’s the Crystal Skull angle. Surely there’s scope for a story on the beliefs surrounding crystal skulls in the Aztec and Maya civilisations? This is especially the case if you can get to a site where the skulls have been found and city ruins remain.

Dig sites
And what about archaeology? Every time an Indiana Jones film comes out, there’s a boom in interest about archaeology. Visit a dig site, speak to one of the chaps scrabbling in the dirt, write about the growth of volunteer holidays where tourists can help out uncovering ancient secrets.

Using the plot
It’s all about thinking in themes again. The destinations may not have a direct link, but the plot does. To use another example, it’s possible to do a spy training course in the UK, stay at author Ian Fleming’s pad in Jamaica and visit a Spy Museum in Tampere, Finland. All could use the release of a Bond film as a topical hook.

Links to upcoming movies
And, if you think about it, there’s almost certainly something you have done or somewhere you have been that has some kind of link to an upcoming movie. That could make you money, if you can sell it.

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