I started to read a script today that's been kicking around for awhile. It's had a couple of writers and is still not there yet.
It made me curious...why not?
The script is basically about a smarmy slacker who has to break away from his group of friends to grow up and find love. His goal is to get the girl and get his dream job.
But what if he doesn't get the girl or the job?
And there's the rub.
For all it's wild fun and comedy, the script's weakness was that it did not stick the protagonist between a rock and a hard place. He really doesn't have to make this decision. He can just go back to his slacker job with his slacker life. There are no consequences if he doesn't go on this journey.
I heard a writer put it this way: "Burn down the house."
Create a situation that there is no turning back. Block the character from retreating to her safe former life. Here, the friends could put him in a compromising position that gets him fired. Or his #1 enemy gets the girl he's wanted all his life, then the enemy goes overseas for a few weeks.
WHAT I'VE LEARNED: This is the moment in the script when you say, "Wake up characters! Your day of reckoning has come!"