The geology in my area includes a lot of sedimentary rock and therefore a lot of fossils. I have a friend who collects pebbles with holes through them. The holes were formed when rocks with fossils broke into smaller pieces leaving the holes where small fossils had been. Running stream water polishes the pebbles, and some of them are quite beautiful. At first, as my friend scoured the streambeds for these baubles, she found them quite rarely, and her collection was small. Then she discovered a way to increase her haul. Instead of seeking stones with holes in them, she looked only for the holes. She found as many rocks with holes among the millions of pebbles on the first day using this new method as she had found in the preceding five years!
It occurred to me, I was doing the same thing seeking ideas for screenplays. The "hole" I was looking for was the low point, plot point two, at the end of the second act. Without this crucial element being strong, the entire story is mitigated. After trying this angle, my idea folder started putting on weight.
This method also works well when evaluating historical or chronological data in an attempt to extract a story line.
Does anyone else have a similar approach?