Written by: Nick Sayers

Nothing inspires me more than great music. From the most underground industrial noise to the delicately spoken musings of an atmospheric indie pop band, I will always get story ideas from songs. Most of the time movie/short ideas have nothing to do with the content of the song. They start as a movement somewhere between a synapse and a spirit that is caused by a sincere melody pounding on my eardrums. I can’t count how many times The Who or Kris Kristofferson have turned this small seed of a feeling into an entire synopsis.

In my youth, music would move me to focus on stories that were postmodern expressions of what I thought the songs “meant”. For instance, The Who’s “Behind Blue Eyes” developed into a film about vengeance and violence against murder and madness. Sounds dramatic, doesn’t it? The idea was a complete expression of “My love is vengeance/ That’s never free.”

As I grew out of my postmodern/revisionist stage and actually tried to be creative, musical inspiration evolved to something that is hard to place. The method is far more psychological now. Like a leech, I attach myself to albums and suck them dry to deal with angst. Somewhere between escape and reality, I find this median that only music can pull me to. For example, my addiction to Puscifer’s “Conditions of My Parole” over the past six months has been a gold mine for stories. Psychologically, that album has helped me work through a transition from a semi-rural life to living in Seattle. With themes like humanity’s reliance on nature and a return to a sort of biotheistic beginning, the album has helped me fight that stereotypical hardened heart of the urbanite. From this battle with myself–dealing with how I react to the outside world–I have come up with a few sci-fi short ideas that deal with isolation and indifference, none of which are themes in “Conditions of My Parole.”

zen circles for screenwriting with music

If you are the artistic type and draw energy from music, you should pay attention to the process sometime and see what you learn. More than that, you should succumb to the muse and let the music take you over and write. Actually write. That is my problem most of the time. I get these fleeting ideas and the siren of laziness leads me to a mirage of mental comfort. One of the reasons my wife and I are giving life to Indiestructible is to face this siren with wax in our ears and ignore its beckoning.