Wednesday, December 2, 2009

TODAY'S NUGGET: Honestly, What's Your Flaw?

Each week there's somehow there's a common thread in the scripts I see. One of the most common, and the star of this week, is characters without significant, impeding flaws.

Often, the protagonist is the writer's alter ego, so they tend to go easy on him/her & the result is disastrous.

The protagonist doesn't have anything to challenge them. They go through 120 pgs and sort of overcome their problem b/c you didn't tell them what it is. These are the kinds of movies you leave and scratch your head saying, "What was that about?"

I covered a comedy script today that I couldn't figure out the lead's flaw. He's a good guy and has a lot of obstacles. But at the end of the script, what did he learn, i.e., what was I supposed to learn?

I beg of you, I implore, I beseech, I supplicate, I petition you to give your leads a flaw. Do a variation on one of the 7 deadly sins (Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Anger, Envy, Pride). Add a venial sin. Combine a couple. Change the degree of severity.

WHAT I KNOW: In scripts, flaws are good because they are very human behaviors that connect us immediately. They give you something to play with, to twist, to make the character stretch. All very interesting things to watch, i.e., make great films.

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