Film Brainstorming Template

Film Brainstorming Template, within the Milanote app

Brainstorm your film ideas

Brainstorming is a classic creative technique that helps you create a variety of ideas in a short amount of time. You can use brainstorming to explore the topic for your film, dream up new characters, locations, or even the visual style you're after. It’s best thought of as a way to light up your imagination.

This template and the steps below will help you turn your initial film idea into something real. Online brainstorming means you can invite others to contribute ideas wherever they're located.

This template is part of our guide on How to plan a film.

  • Explore ideas
  • Organize visually
  • Collaborate in real-time
  • Gather feedback
  • Export to PDF

How to use this template

Whether you’re a filmmaker, creative director, or client, follow this step-by-step guide to learn the modern process of brainstorming film ideas in Milanote, a free tool used by top creatives.

1. Start with an empty template

The Brainstorming template contains empty notes for your ideas and themes, placeholders for images, video and links.

How to do this in Milanote
  1. Create a new board for your brainstorm.

    Create a new board

    Drag a board out from the toolbar. Give it a name, then double click to open it.

  2. Choose the Brainstorming template.

    Choose a template 

    Each new board gives you the options to start with a beautiful template.

2. Write the central idea for the film

What's the idea or concept for your film? This is your starting point. It might be just a rough idea at the moment or a topic that you want to explore, but this process will help you see how far you can take it. Add a note that describes the film in 1 to 2 sentences to get started.

How to do this in Milanote
  1. Add a note to describe the concept of your film.

    Drag a note card onto your board

    Start typing then use the formatting tools in the left-hand toolbar.

3. Add the key themes

Next, write out the themes related to your idea. Some starting themes could be characters, costumes, locations, history, or aesthetics but there are no rules about how you do it.

How to do this in Milanote
  1. Type the key themes into the group titles.

4. Add as many ideas as you can

Now it's time to get creative. Start adding any ideas that relate to your initial concept or themes. Don't worry about evaluating your ideas yet, that will come later. Just add as many as you can. Setting a timer for 5 minutes is a great way to create a sense of urgency and prevent people from judging their thoughts.

How to do this in Milanote
  1. Add a note for each idea.

    Drag a note card onto your board

    Start typing then use the formatting tools in the left-hand toolbar.

5. Add inspiring imagery, motion & sound

Sometimes it's easier to communicate an idea with an image or video, especially if it's a mood or style you're trying to express. Gather reference imagery, videos and sound and add them into the mix. These can become the foundation for a moodboard as your film project evolves.

How to do this in Milanote
  1. Use the built-in image library.

    Use the built-in image library

    Search over 500,000 beautiful photos powered by Unsplash then drag images straight onto your board.

  2. Upload images to your board.

    Upload a file or document  

    Click the "Upload file" button or just drag a file onto your board. You can add images, logos, documents, videos, audio, and much more.

6. Add your research

While research is the foundation of documentaries, it's also a great way to uncover ideas for fictional films. Think about how you could take an event from the past and weave it into your story, providing a fresh perspective on it. The more you know about the topic the more immersive and believable the story becomes.

How to do this in Milanote
  1. Install the Milanote Web Clipper.

  2. Save content from other websites straight to your board.

    Save content from the web

    Rollover an image (or highlight text), click Save, then choose the destination in Milanote. Return to your board and find the content in the "Unsorted" column on the right.

7. Evaluate your ideas

Now’s the time for critique. Run through the ideas again, this time critically evaluating them against the original concept.

Ask each person to choose their favourite ideas and explain why. Be prepared to share your thinking and welcome suggestions and improvements. Encourage constructive debate. If an idea isn't dramatically improving the story, put it aside. You can always return to it later.

How to do this in Milanote
  1. Start a comment thread.

    Start a comment thread

    Drag out a comment from the toolbar on the left and place it on your board. Other editors can reply to your comment.

  2. Mention teammates to get their attention.

    Mention teammates to get their attention

    Type '@' in any text field to mention someone who has access to your board. They'll receive a notification and be able to respond to your comment.

You're done!

Now that your brainstorming session is complete, you have a strong foundation for your film! Remember, just as creativity and inspiration is constantly evolving, so are ideas. Come back and add to the brainstorm when inspiration strikes, or refer to it as you start your script.

Start Brainstorming

Turn an initial idea into something amazing.