Blog #17 The Memory Guide was popular, so I’m now going to bring more detail to that outline.
I DONʼT GET NO RESPECT
Most screenplays are about one thing…respect! Your protagonist doesn’t have it, but wants it. In this first section, your main character is an orphan; an outsider looking in at world that doesn’t want him.
Shrek is being hunted by the townspeople who hate ogres. (SHREK)
YOU KNOW WHAT YOUR TROUBLE IS?
Make the protagonist’s problem or flaw clear both to the protagonist and the reader. When in doubt, you may use the (overused) line of dialog that goes “You know what your problem is?” uttered by the protagonist’s ally or best friend.
Elliot is told that he needs to think about how other people feel. (E.T. )
CALLS & BUSY SIGNALS
Give the protagonist the famous “call to adventure” which is followed by the equally famous “refusal of the call.”
Sam gets the letter from Annie but refuses to answer it. (SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE)
WHICH WAY IS UP?
Give the protagonist a series of successes and failures as he or she “wanders” and starts to master the skills needed to ultimately answer the Central Question.
My central question for (THE CONSCRIPT) is: “Will Eddie form his own band, overcome his nemesis, Commander Campbell, and Marry the woman he loves?”
WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU LEMONS…
Just when your protagonist thought he or she was making progress, you pull the rug out from under! Force your protagonist to stop wandering and start fighting back.
Luke and company are pulled into the Death star and discover that the Leia is being held onboard. (STAR WARS)
Have your protagonist get into direct confrontation in a big way.
Tony Stark uses his suit to defend a village. (IRON MAN)
If you’ve been reading this blog, you may have come to the conclusion that a screenplay a written art form, specifically for a visual art form and the screenplay has got to hit all the right buttons to even be considered for all the talented people involved in making a movie, and you may only get one opportunity for someone to read it.
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