Where do the ideas come from?
The answer is, I find, incredibly simple:
As long as you pay attention, there is absolutely no reason that you can't find a viable idea. Jim Butcher built his Codex Alera series around the idea of a lost Roman legion and Pokemon, for example. Neil Gaiman was inspired to write his The Graveyard Book while he watched a boy playing among the graves in one. JK Rowling was sat on a train when she came up with Harry Potter.
Inspiration, it comes from everywhere, and it comes from everything. And nine times in ten, you won't be expecting it. It'll just come to you when you're doing something completely unrelated. I mentioned my Snowball script a while back, I came up with that idea while I was walking past a pub one winter's day, just before Christmas. I actually remember asking myself: "Has anyone ever tried building a film around a snowball fight? No? Well then, let's try that out." And yes, it was gimmicky and a little bit daft, but it worked. I've read so many scripts that just felt... off. They just didn't click, didn't make me want to spend the twenty quid it takes to go to the cinema these days, you know what I mean? I didn't feel that with Snowball. I knew it wasn't ever going to be a billion dollar mega hit like we seem to get a lot more these days, but I thought it'd be something that people would watch, something fun, a bit funny, you know, a nice family movie. Some nice, cool visuals for the kids, a heartwarming story executives love, easy.
So, that was the inspiration. I wanted to do a film about snowball fights. And next time, I'll tell you all about how I made a story out of that.