Wednesday, June 9, 2010

TODAY'S NUGGET: The Importance of Being Urgent

I am cranky. Again.

OK, it's not an unusual sight, but I really am cranky after reading a tween sci-fi spec spec that didn't have a sense of urgency.

Urgency = "This Very Important Problem must be solved because..."

Here are the top 3 reasons this story lacked urgency:

1 - The story structure wanders & does not increase in tension. 

ex. The script indulges in unnecessary back story of the adults, and goes into depth with their storylines. (Uh, excuse me, this is a TWEEN movie.)

2- The main character is a Teen Boy who is never really in jeopardy.

ex. Teen Boy doesn't have to face the antagonist even at the most crucial moment.  Even at the climax, the best friend defeats the enemy and rescues everyone. 

3 - MOST GLARING: There is no reason to go on this journey because there's nothing really at stake for the Teen Boy. 

ex.  He's going on this trip for the good of mankind.  Not to save a dog. Or to impress a girl. Or to defend his home from the enemy. 

I'm all about helping mankind, but in a movie, it's too far removed and frankly, non-visual.  I need to SEE something at stake.

WHAT I'VE LEARNED: Urgency stems from the character's need to accomplish a TASK THAT MATTERS.

This script had a lot of action, action, action.  But without consequences or stakes, the endless action seemed fruitless and boring.

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