This weekend, I was reading in the Montreal Gazette about film director Ken Scott and how he came up with the idea for his latest movie, Les doigts croches (Sticky Fingers), which is abouta gang of troublemaking hoods. It turns out Scott got the idea for the script when he was sitting in a coffeeshop right here in Montreal. And though the newspaper story didn't say so, I think it's pretty clear that Scott was LISTENING IN TO OTHER PEOPLE'S CONVERSATIONS. I put this in capitals because it is a technique I am always recommending to my students -- though there are always a few who disapprove of my ill-mannered research methods!!
Here's a quote I pulled from the article: "there was this gang from Narcotics Anonymous and they would finish their meetings right beside me.... They were tough guys, with tattoos all over the place. They were always talking about how they wanted to change, and get out of doing dope. And there was such a contrast between their exterior appearance and what they were telling each other. To me, that was a spark."
Ahh, I love what Scott says about the "spark." That's what we writers are all looking for, no? So make sure you bring your notepad next time you're in a coffeeshop. Perhaps you'll find your spark there, too!