Wednesday, April 27, 2011

TODAY'S NUGGET: #84 WGA Script of All Time - The Princess Bride (1987)

[Quick Summary: A mysterious Man in Black sets out with two unlikely sidekicks to rescue a kidnapped Princess from the dastardly Prince Humperdink.]

This week, I covered an adventure script. 

Unfortunately, something was missing.  But what was it?

When I read "The Princess Bride", I realized that the missing element in the previous script was tension/jeopardy that moves the story forward. 

ex. Inigo Montoya, the swordsman, stands at the edge of the high Cliffs.  He looks down below at the Man in Black who is climbing up. Boooorrring...

...except both parties are offended the other is taking so long.

INIGO: I don't suppose you could speed things up.

MAN IN BLACK (with some heat): If you're so anxious to hurry things, you could lower a rope or a tree branch or find some useful thing to do.

That's funny. And tense because:

#1 There's jeopardy - The Man In Black is literally hanging in the balance.
#2 There's tension - Are you friend or foe?
#3 The resolution of #1 & #2 adds more brick to the story road.

Here, Inigo & the Man in Black fight, then become allies, which advances the plot.

WHAT I'VE LEARNED: Scripts often miss #3. 

That was the problem with the adventure script.  The tension was about side characters or unimportant details. It didn't add to the main story.

Princess Bride (1987)
by William Goldman

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