Recycling Works

It’s a tried and tested technique: take an old, familiar storyline and recycle it for today’s audiences. Sondheim and Bernstein did it with West Side Story, inspired by Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet; Helen Fielding based Bridget Jones’ Diary on Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. So we’re in good company.

If imagination fails, old publications are great places to find inspiration. I work for the History of Advertising trust where we have large collections of vintage magazines; a quick browse reveals a storehouse of letters, problems and stories waiting to be recycled. There’s no copyright on ideas, so there’s no problem retelling an old tale, updating the setting and changing the characters.

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