How I Keep My Film Ideas Organized

I'm working on a script and wanted to show you how I keep all my film ideas, project research, and rough ideas organized. 

When I'm in the early phases of writing a script, I use Microsoft OneNote to keep all my film ideas together. This lets me organize my ideas and sync them between all of my devices.


I'm not going to go into everything you can do with OneNote, but check out the overview written by Melanie over at LifeHacker

If you've never used OneNote, it works just like physical notebooks. You create notebooks, and inside each notebook you create tabs just like the tabbed dividers in a physical notebook. In each tab you can add pages, in which you Add sections, clippings, drawings, etc. 

So here's how I work when thinking about a film or video.


I like creating a template tab in each of my notebooks containing what I use often so that I don't have to recreate my structure each time I get a new idea. 

The first page in the template reminds me of my color scheme. The next page is my Idea Pile or where I throw all of my random ideas. On this page, I throw pictures, videos, audio files, or anything else that I want to keep as inspiration. 

Next is my cast and character scratch sheet. This is where I put ideas about character names, ideas about their backstory, I'll even start pairing actors' names to the characters so that I can get an idea of their voice. The plot scratch sheet is where I start roughing out the story. I start my outline using Seth Worley's clock technique. You can find out more about this technique in his Writing 101 course in the Triune Store. And at the time of this writing, it is on sale for $45.

My Process

When I come up with a new film idea, the first thing I do is copy the template into the same notebook and rename it to whatever my idea or working title is. If it is something that I'm going to start working on now, I set the color to blue. Next, I delete the template details page and add any ideas that i have at the moment.

If I come up with another idea while I'm working on something else, I follow the same process, but set the color to yellow.

If I decide at any point that I don't think an idea is going to work or the project is not going to happen, I set its color to red. I don't get rid of it though, because the ideas and research that went into it could possibly be used in another project down the line.

After I have all of my ideas and my outline together, I write the actual script in Adobe Story and use my OneNote documents as reference.

When the project goes into production, I change the tab color to green and continue to reference my original ideas, pictures, videos, and audio. 

And that's my process for keeping my film ideas organized. I'd love for you to comment below and tell me how you stay organized.