Tuesday, January 12, 2010

TODAY'S NUGGET: Rare Souffle

Yesterday I came across one of the rarest storylines: the antagonist provided storyline, i.e., the antagonist establishes the journey.

This is an extremely rare beast b/c most newbies & intermediate writers overplay it. It is an extremely delicate balance.

Usually the writer will let the antagonist take over, which stirs my wrath, b/c the script almost always drags with a reactionary protagonist.

(If you have a reactionary protagonist, I do not know why you're writing the story about him/her. ...well, unless you have a bazillion movies under your belt & don't really have to worry about readers like me.)

The trick of this script was that the antagonist provided the situation AND THE PROTAGONIST CHOSE - SEE THAT? CHOSE - TO GO ON THE JOURNEY.

The protagonist didn't limp into the journey.

The protagonist wasn't cornered into the journey.

The protagonist agrees to go --> the antagonist provides roadblocks --> the protagonist overcomes the roadblocks and continues on the journey, despite the antagonist's best ploys.

What does the finished film look like? Oftentimes, a road trip, a buddy movie or a character piece.

WHAT I'VE LEARNED: I do not recommend this type of storyline for most scripts b/c: 1) it only works for certain storylines, and 2) only a writer with lots of experience will understand the mechanics of how to make it work.

It's kind of like a souffle. Most of us know what it looks like, how to eat it, what it requires (water bath, quiet, altitude, etc.) However, not all of us have the patience to practice making it, or the experience to correct a bad batter.

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