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It’s hard to beat mindmapping as a creative tool for brainstorming.  Rumor has it that no less than Steve Jobs used mindmapping to develop new Apple products.  It mimics the way our right-brain comes up with ideas and makes connections between images, thoughts and realizations.  Only, with mindmapping – unlike the actual thinking process – you walk away with a clear, concise and stimulating visual record of that activity.  And you can go back and refer to it at any time.

I use mindmapping a LOT in the process of developing my feature film script.  I mindmap scenes,  characters, ideas.  But it doesn’t end there.  I’ll mindmap a financing strategy, the benefits/drawbacks of a certain name actor or even a segment of my target audience.  It makes work super energizing and even fun (Mary Poppins would approve!).  Plus, work created in a mindmap can easily be re-tooled for other mediums, like an excel worksheet or a powerful list in Gorilla (more on the awesome-ness of this software later).

So if I had loose lips that sink ships, I’d share one of my own mindmaps with you.  But you must know by now that attempting to be mysterious is a bit of a turn-on for me.  But TRUST ME – it’s worth adding to your indie filmmaker arsenal if you’re not doing it already.  And if you are doing it already, consider expanding the number of subjects/ideas you put to a mindmap.  Generally, the only thing you have to lose is time…and it’s a good investment of that.

There are plenty of free mindmapping programs out there.  A little googling will easily show you a list with reviews, etc.  I use MindNodePro.  It costs a little money, but it allows the integration of visual images and hyperlinks into the mindmap, something important to a filmmaker, in my opinion.

Character Mindmap

Sample of a character mindmap

Hunter Lee Hughes is a filmmaker living and working in Los Angeles and the founder of Fatelink. His current feature film Guys Reading Poems is touring film festivals and this blog is dedicated to the process of making his second feature film, “Inside-Out, Outside-In.” If you enjoy the blog, please support our team by following us on Facebook, Twitter (@Fatelink) or Instagram (@Fatelink).