I’ve re-written blog 19 because I made some mistakes, I’m only human after-all
1..I DON’T 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)
2…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. )
3…CALLS & BUSY SIGNALS
Give the protagonist the famous “call to adventure” which is followed by the equally famous “refusal of the call.”
Luke is told by Obi-Wan that he must learn how to be Jedi but Luke says he can’t…he’s got too much to do. (STAR WARS)
4…THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS
Force the protagonist out of the normal world and have him or her answer the “call to adventure.” Sometimes the protagonist does this by choice, sometimes by
Will Turner joins with Jack Sparrow to pursue Elizabeth on the Black Pearl. (PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL)
5…KICK THE DOG
Show that the bad guys are not just bad, but really, Really, REALLY bad. Give the protagonist (and the reader) the idea that answering the Central Question is going to be harder than the initially thought. If you don’t have a standard antagonist (as in a love story) show that the obstacles to the protagonist are overwhelmingly strong.
Butch and Sundance begin to be pursued by the “super posse.” (BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID)
6…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 (NATIONAL SERVICE) is: “Will Eddie form his own band, overcome his nemesis, Commander Campbell, and Marry the woman he loves?”
7…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.
9…INSIDE THE WHALE
In classic mythological storytelling, this is the “belly of the beast” or the “inside the darkest cave” moment for the main character. Often the scene takes place in a confined space, representing that the forces at play against the protagonist are closing in…tightening…and the protagonist must dig “deep” and face his or her darkest fear.
Indiana Jones is abandoned inside the Well of Souls, surrounded by snakes. (RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK)
10…DEATH & REBIRTH
Another classic moment. Have your main character seemingly die and then be reborn. In many ways this is the ultimate moment in the arc of your protagonist; the moment when he sheds the skin of his old life and emerges newly formed, self actualized,
and ready to prove himself to the world. The death and rebirth can arrive in a variety of ways, and you can sometimes hand it to the character most closely associated with your protagonist’s highest aspirations.
Elliot is fading, and E.T. “disconnects” himself from Elliot. Elliot’s vital signs improve and E.T. “dies.” Once Elliot heartbreakingly admits how little he now feels, E.T. is resurrected with the return of the spaceship to take him home.
(E.T.: THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL)
In romantic comedies, write this section so that it charts the death of the hoped for relationship followed by the realization of what’s needed to give it new hope.
Annie believes that Sam is involved in a serious relationship and is giving him up, only to be called to action by Jonah’s letter asking her to meet at the Empire State Building. (SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE)
11…WHAT’S THE WORST THAT CAN HAPPEN?
The title says it all! Your protagonist’s whole life (your whole story) has been built towards both avoiding this moment as well as confronting it. Avoiding, because it is his worst fear. Confronting because this is what he needs to do in order to become
the person he needs to be.
Jonah runs away and Sam frantically has to go to New York to find him. (SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE)
12…GOOD GUY VS. BAD GUY OVER STAKES
The climax of every well-told story is the protagonist in pitched battle against the antagonist over the stakes of the story. In your story, make sure it is your main character who has to get his hands dirty, not someone else.
Jack fights Barbossa to save Will and Elizabeth. (PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THE CURSE OF THE BLACK
In romantic comedies, this can be a seemingly small moment right at the very end of the story, because after all, when boy gets girl it’s all over.
Sam finds Jonah at the top of the Empire State building, almost misses Annie, but finds her when they come back to retrieve Jonah’s backpack. (SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE)
Approx Pages Memory Guide
1 – – – 6..……………. Donʼt Get No Respect
6 – – – 12.…………… You Know What Your Trouble Is?
12 – – 17.……………. Calls And Busy Signals
17 – – 28.……………. Through The Looking Glass
28 – – 35.……………. Kick The Dog
35 – – 45.……………. Which Way Is Up?
45 – – 55.……………..When Life Gives You Lemons…
55 – – 65 ………………Make Lemonade
65 – – 75 …………….. Inside The Whale
75 – – 85.…………….. Death & Rebirth
85 – – 95.……………. What’s The Worst That Can Happen?
95 – -105.…………… Good Guy Vs. Bad Guy Over Stakes
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