author, creative writing, writing

Finding Inspiration in TV and Film

Happy Sunday Writers! I hope you’ve all had a good week.

As it goes, mine has been a bit of a rollercoaster. I have some quite difficult, stressful situations in my life right now, yet also my novel writing is going really well. I am finally out of my writer’s slump and less than a week away from finishing my first draft!

I’m adding another ‘Finding Inspiration in…’ post to the collection today. (See previously Finding Inspiration in Places, Music and Travel.)

TV and Film can be heavy distractions for writers, but if you’re feeling the need to relax in front of the screen there’s plenty of ways you can tie it in with fuelling your creative mind. Take a look;

1. Watch Films About Writing
There are plenty of films out there that tell the stories of writers and writing. From The Ghost Writer to Midnight in Paris to Finding Forrester. My personal favourite is Finding Neverland, an exaggerated version of the actual life of J.M. Barrie who wrote Peter Pan. This film showcases Barrie’s creative mind, his refusal to follow the rules and offers some beautiful shots of how he imagines the world compared to how it actually appears.
Watching these films always reminds me of my ambitions and leaves me feeling inspired and motivated.
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2. Watch Documentaries
A good documentary will leave you enlightened and knowledge is powerful. You can watch documentaries about published authors, to keep you specifically focused on writing. Or, and I find this one amazingly useful, is to watch documentaries that follow suit to what you’re writing. This may not work for everyone, understandably. My example here is, sections of my book are told from the POV of a detective in London. So I watch documentaries about British Detectives to gain a deeper understanding of their procedures and their working lives. If you’re writing about something you don’t have much experience with then watching documentaries can teach you a lot.

3. Watch What You’re Writing
Perhaps a little obvious, but watch what you’re writing! If you’re writing a fantasy, watch a fantasy. If you’re writing a thriller, watch a thriller. As well as reading lots in the genre of your Work In Progress, watching films and TV shows in the same genre is just as important for getting you immersed in that mindset.
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One Final Tip
Watch for exaggerations

One thing that can often be said about films and TV is that certain scenarios may be exaggerated or twisted to add drama to the story. As an example, police procedure in film and TV isn’t always exactly right, but if you’re writing about this you don’t want to fall into the trap of taking everything you’ve seen as correct. Be sure to check your facts, if you’ve been watching fiction.

Do you find inspiration in TV and Film? What in particular comes to mind?

I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions.

Speak soon and until then
Keep writing,

23 thoughts on “Finding Inspiration in TV and Film”

  1. Love this. It was a TV show that first inspired me to write my YA series. The books don’t actually resemble the TV show or its premise (they weren’t supposed to), but I’ll always personally remember that a scene in a TV show kick started me on my writing journey. Also, thanks for mentioning Finding Neverland. I knew what it was about but haven’t gotten around to seeing it. Hearing that it features what the author wanted and then the reality has piqued my interest. Will have to check it out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh wow, that’s so awesome! It’s amazing the things that inspire us.
      Yeah, Finding Neverland is great, you really see into how J.M. Barrie’s imagination worked and it’s generally an emotionally beautiful film too! Let me know what you think when you get round to watching it ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I justify my movie watching by telling myself it is research. 😅
    I did find great inspiration in movies. Especially the visuals and camera angles, both can be added to my writing.
    I read Shoot Your Novel: Cinematic Techniques to Supercharge your Writing. It was an amazing reference book.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Woohoo! First draft – congrats!

    Another thing using film and tv for is to see what works and what doesn’t (though sometimes this is better done with reading since the presentation is different). If they think they are being mysterious to conceal the identity of the murderer, but you guessed it 5 minutes in and are just annoyed with the getting to the end, then you can try to figure out how they failed so that you won’t. If the romance didn’t move you at all, how did they ‘miss’? That sort of thing. So inspiration and also learning.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a perfect point to make and very true!
      It’s so important to get the reveal right, so that it’s a surprise, but not implausible. I can definitely see how TV and film could help with this.

      Thank you so much for your comment!


  4. Love this post!! I love watching documentaries, and find so much inspiration in them, its unbelievable! They always make me want to write something, whether its something about ancient tombs or detective work! And many of my characters are influenced by characters from tv shows. I think being able to see how somebody moves and speaks inspires me even more! Another great post M!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Surprisingly, I get more ideas from documentaries and non-fiction than TV and film. And I get more from audio sources such as podcasts, than video. One of sources of many ideas has been the BBC’s “In Our Time” history podcast. I am actually working on a flash story right now that came to me while listening to that show! 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I really like that final tip you have there! What I usually end up doing is doing a whole bunch of research, and then either find a way to shorten the explaining of the process of what they’re doing, only leave suggestions of what they’re doing, or completely ignore the rules and write up my own set that fits me and my story better.

    Did this when I was doing research on the styles of the 1920’s for a manga that I want to write. I didn’t like my main male character with completely flat and slicked back hairstyle that was popular back in the day , so I added some volume to it and a few flyaway whisps. The style didn’t look 1920s anymore, but I was way happier with how he looked. So now I’ve adopted the saying “Know the rules before you break them” when I write stories. 😀


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