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The Concept. Also known as "the premise," Your story will be strongest if you know, in a nutshell, what your story is about. It can be stated in the simplest of terms; in fact it's a good exercise to try and do just that before writing, let alone shooting. William Foster-Harris said that there are only three essential plots in storytelling. Rudyard Kipling said there are sixty-nine. The point is a plot is constructed around an underlying premise.
The more specifically you can identify your premise, the better chance you have in telling the story. Think of it this way: being able to succinctly describe your concept is a good test of whether your audience will understand and be affected by your film. And better yet, working on your concept is something you can do before you've spent a single dime on production. Because the truth is you can do it inside your head for free.
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