I happened upon an interesting article about the origin of the phrase “the hurt locker.”
Apparently, the phrase dates back to the Vietnam War (“If an army marches on its stomach, old Charlie is in the hurt locker.”) but became more widely known when it was used as the title of a poem written by Brian Turner in 2004.
The article says:
On his return from a year of Army service in Iraq, Turner published Here, Bullet (2005), a critically acclaimed collection of poetry inspired by his wartime experiences. “The Hurt Locker” begins in typically wrenching fashion, “Nothing but the hurt left here,” and ends:
Open the hurt locker
and see what there is of knives
and teeth. Open the hurt locker and learn
how rough men come hunting for souls.
As an exercise:
What’s a phrase or expression you know that would make a good title? Is it something that your parents used to say to you? Or perhaps an expression only people from your geographic location use?
If you can’t think of a phrase, take a moment to pick up any book and open it to somewhere in the middle. What’s the first sentence fragment you read? What kind of a movie would that title be good for?
Set a timer for 15 minutes and use The Four Magic Questions of Screenwriting to plot a screenplay based on a phrase you remember or that you found in the book. What kind of film is it? Genre? Who is your hero? Why?