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SCREEN WRITING CLASS - MOD 10


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#21 kkffoo

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Posted 10 May 2013 - 12:56 PM

I think in some ways Gulliver's Travels somehow broke it's own rules, if that makes sense?
It set out to be a classic 'character curve' movie, but it got lost on the way, and by the time Gulliver had achieved his goals, I had stopped caring about the character.
Maybe there is an additional requirement that you have to want the guy to succeed, it isn't enough that he does?

#22 JosephKw

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Posted 12 May 2013 - 08:19 PM

I have to agree absolutely, Kate. I think it's our nature to side with whomever's perspective we view the tale from. I remember people criticizing Oliver Stone's film "Natural Born Killers" because some audience members started cheering for the murderous couple even though they were portrayed pretty much as monsters. So if a film loses its audience's empathy for the main character, it has lost its focus. I guess that's why we have a Module 10 for this class, focusing on the importance of creating memorable and sympathetic characters.


#23 aroundworld

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 12:15 AM

QUOTE (JosephKw @ May 10 2013, 4:14 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I haven't seen this new "Gulliver's Travels", but I think Kate's point is that just because something follows a formula doesn't guarantee its success. If that was the case, then every Hollywood movie would be a success.

Well here's the deal. Eventually these movies WILL make money. If the rights go to auction and the film is distributed to 3rd world markets or released later in Europe or other places... it will eventually become a money maker for someone. The studio may wait and release a "loser" as a "B" film later. They have a way around these obstacles to profit. It may be delayed but they''ll get their money.

However, I am seeing how valuable this formula (and this course) is in improving a film's story and maximizing its potential. I've already applied this to some of my existing films and stories and have noted how I could have tweaked some parts here and there to improve their appeal.

That does my heart good! Thank you, JK! smile.gif


I feel the difference between a formulated Hollywood megahit and a merely profitable film is the input and insights of a talented storyteller (primarily the director, and secondly a good screenplay writer). It's like a master chef creating a meal from the same recipe an amateur uses; a good recipe provides a solid foundation--without which the dish is a hit-or-miss gamble, but it's the creator's interpretive touches which elevates the dish into a culinary masterpiece.

Well regarding that, here's a quote you might find of interest:

"You cant make a great film from a mediocre script"

~ Oliver Stone

There is no try, only do or do not.

 

Learn story telling in the MOVIESTORM education forum. 

 

START HERE:  http://www.moviestor...showtopic=13153


#24 aroundworld

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 12:47 AM

QUOTE (kkffoo @ May 10 2013, 12:56 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I think in some ways Gulliver's Travels somehow broke it's own rules, if that makes sense?
It set out to be a classic 'character curve' movie, but it got lost on the way, and by the time Gulliver had achieved his goals, I had stopped caring about the character.
Maybe there is an additional requirement that you have to want the guy to succeed, it isn't enough that he does?



Sometimes the reason we stop caring abut the character, is because they may just react in a WROTE or PREDICTABLE fashion to external forces acting on them. When this happens, we feel the story is dummed down and we know what the character is going to do every step of the way. However, as I said earlier. More times than not there is a reason for such predictability, and it all boils down to the demographic they're trying to reach.


"Maybe there is an additional requirement that you have to want the guy to succeed, it isn't enough that he does?"


Look at Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. All star cast, a successful franchise, the works. However, by the end of the movie you feel as though the action is just a prop instead of an integral part of the story. Crystal Skull effected me that way.

By the end of the film Indi's success didn't really matter to me. Why?

I knew how he was going to react... the obstacles to his success were predictable and there were no surprises about his character. Nothing new to cause me to EMPATHIZE - to get me to relate to Indi or the bad guy.

In Raiders, there was a common bad guy, The Nazi's. In Doom, you had a stone and some men over working boys and girls. But Indie's over all arch was pretty shallow. He didn't change a whole lot. That will negatively effect how feel about the character winning at the end of the film.


There is no try, only do or do not.

 

Learn story telling in the MOVIESTORM education forum. 

 

START HERE:  http://www.moviestor...showtopic=13153


#25 kkffoo

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 07:32 AM

This makes sense.
If the character reacts in predictable ways then there is no character arch, they didn't really react or change in response to the external force.
I stop wanting to know what happens next...because that's just stuff...and I'm interested in the people.

At the end of Gulliver's Travels, Gulliver walks away with the girl, new job etc....but it is as if he is walking away from the shooting stall at the fun fair with the big cuddly toy, it's just a prize.

We don't know why he was so much in a rut at the start of the movie, so it is less meaningful that he wins out.

let's say we found out both his parents died, or something big and emotional happened, and he wasn't able to recover from that...and then yes, he can be thrown by accident into this adventure, but everything then would have meaning....he gets a chance to move on through the things that happen.

#26 aroundworld

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 09:17 PM

QUOTE (kkffoo @ May 13 2013, 7:32 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
This makes sense.
If the character reacts in predictable ways then there is no character arch, they didn't really react or change in response to the external force.
I stop wanting to know what happens next...because that's just stuff...and I'm interested in the people.

At the end of Gulliver's Travels, Gulliver walks away with the girl, new job etc....but it is as if he is walking away from the shooting stall at the fun fair with the big cuddly toy, it's just a prize.

We don't know why he was so much in a rut at the start of the movie, so it is less meaningful that he wins out.

let's say we found out both his parents died, or something big and emotional happened, and he wasn't able to recover from that...and then yes, he can be thrown by accident into this adventure, but everything then would have meaning....he gets a chance to move on through the things that happen.


YES! YES! YES! THAT'S IT!!!!!!!!!! BRAVO!!!!!!!

THAT, is how you tell a story Kate! That is "the code", and you've broken it! When it sinks in like this, you'll never see character arch and character development the same way again. KEEP AT IT!

Now, look at your character Maggy, from your story in earlier classes. Apply the same perspective to her! That is why I loved her so much!

There was reason; SOLID, CONCRETE, TANGIBLE reason to root for her. We saw her beginnings - desperate and humble. So, when she got Tommy - the ring and her identity back in the end of your story, they all meant something.

FANTASTIC, observations!!!!!

There is no try, only do or do not.

 

Learn story telling in the MOVIESTORM education forum. 

 

START HERE:  http://www.moviestor...showtopic=13153


#27 aroundworld

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 12:32 AM

A Character Arc is Not Necessary for Every Character




Now you should have a pretty good idea of what a character arc entails. Always keep this
in mind when you’re laying out the foundations of your own narrative. It’s not necessary
that every character have an arc.

In fact, it would be a little overwhelming as some characters are included for the sole
purpose of nothing more than servicing the story. I would suggest sticking to the main
character or characters.




ASSIGNMENT



List at least THREE characters you've seen in films that had an impact on the main character, but DID NOT have an arch or develop in anyway.

List them and discuss how there rolls effect the main character.


There is no try, only do or do not.

 

Learn story telling in the MOVIESTORM education forum. 

 

START HERE:  http://www.moviestor...showtopic=13153


#28 kkffoo

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 07:47 AM

The character of Yoda in The Empire Strikes back.
It is part of his persona that he is old and wise, and has travelled through character arcs before meeting Luke.
He inspires Luke to find his inner force, and to trust himself.

I'm struggling to come up with a practical way in which Yoda's influence affects the storyline.


The character of Sid in Toy Story.
Sid starts off evil, and remains evil. He may be scared off torturing his toys for a while, but this is through fear, and not through any insight or development.
Being captured by Sid is a prime mover in developing the relationship between Buzz and Woody.

Batman's butler Alfred.
(all the batman films / tv series)
Alfred is more of a plot device than a character. He is an archetype, the loyal servant.
He exists in the stories just to allow batman to talk through plot points and moral dilemmas, and also to provide humour in the form of technology.
Although I am wondering if Batman actually has a character arc himself......or if his story / journey is more about hero wins out over evil?

#29 JosephKw

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 09:21 AM

The sheriff in Stephen King's "Misery". He always believes the writer Sheldon is somewhere in his town and keeps looking until he finds him and is killed for his efforts. His character does not change, but his intervention (and death) causes the nurse to hasten matters up and decide to kill Sheldon before more law enforcement personnel arrive.

The "Master" vampire (portrayed by Rutger Hauer) in "Buffy, the Vampire Slayer". Buffy, a valley girl cheerleader, does not want to become a warrior against the darkness and protector of mankind. However, the "Master's" relentless pursuit of her forces her to confront her fears and fulfill her destiny. The "Master" never changes in the film, and is just a persistent evil, but his persistence (and murder of Buffy's Watcher mentor) forces Buffy's hand and sets her on a new career path smile.gif
In fact, thinking upon this, many film villains don't have character arcs, but exist solely to influence the main characters.

Chief "Charlie" in the "Twilight" films (portrayed by Billy Burke). Bella's father is a loving, but vulnerable father. It is this vulnerability (to emotional pain through his daughter's actions, as well as to mortal danger from supernatural forces) which causes Bella to make the choices she does throughout the saga. She chooses to keep secrets from him (for example, if he found out she was a vampire, the vampire police would have to kill him), or chooses to fight instead of flee from fear of repercussions against her father. So although he does not really do much, he is the anchor for her in the natural, normal world, and all her decisions are made with him in mind.

#30 aroundworld

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 11:30 AM

QUOTE (kkffoo @ May 15 2013, 7:47 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The character of Yoda in The Empire Strikes back.
It is part of his persona that he is old and wise, and has travelled through character arcs before meeting Luke.
He inspires Luke to find his inner force, and to trust himself.

I'm struggling to come up with a practical way in which Yoda's influence affects the storyline.

I think the fact the he inspires Luke to find his "inner force" is very impactful to the story lne. But I really appreciate that you were looking for something TANGIBLE. However anyone who's seen this film would know exactly what you're getting at. Good choice and observation.



The character of Sid in Toy Story. Sid starts off evil, and remains evil. He may be scared off torturing his toys for a while, but this is through fear, and not through any insight or development. Being captured by Sid is a prime mover in developing the relationship between Buzz and Woody.

Yes! And Sid was the EXTERNAL force acting on Buzz and Woody to bring two unlikly characters together to move the story forward.



Batman's butler Alfred. (all the batman films / tv series) Alfred is more of a plot device than a character. He is an archetype, the loyal servant. He exists in the stories just to allow batman to talk through plot points and moral dilemmas, and also to provide humour in the form of technology. Although I am wondering if Batman actually has a character arc himself......or if his story / journey is more about hero wins out over evil?


I agree, for the most part Alfred is steady and unchanging adn does exactly what you've described here. I might point out that in the last film he goes through a bit if an arc as he tires of Brice Wane's seeming self destructive attitude and leaves.

In more recent films Batman Rises, Batman has a character arc. as he "comes back" from an injury and depression. A Howard Hughes, type of seclusion.



Excellent! Secondary characters are important to stories, and can (as you pointed out) be used as plot devices to allow the main character to reveal more about him/ her self. adn even make the main character more realized as a person.

There is no try, only do or do not.

 

Learn story telling in the MOVIESTORM education forum. 

 

START HERE:  http://www.moviestor...showtopic=13153


#31 kkffoo

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 03:12 PM

Aaah I haven't seen the latest films! (Batman)
Thank you.



#32 aroundworld

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 09:32 PM

QUOTE (JosephKw @ May 15 2013, 9:21 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The sheriff in Stephen King's "Misery". He always believes the writer Sheldon is somewhere in his town and keeps looking until he finds him and is killed for his efforts. His character does not change, but his intervention (and death) causes the nurse to hasten matters up and decide to kill Sheldon before more law enforcement personnel arrive.

I haven't seen this film, however the scenario is vivid and I get the feeling that this sacrificial character has quite a bit of screen time so you know them a little before they get killed. This character is also a plot device to FORCE the main character in a direction, MOVING the story forward.

Great observation. Its interesting that we get to know this character before they're killed. I'm guessing the main character got to know this person in the story, so, that when he's killed the audience feel the pain of the main character as well. This invests the audience even more in getting the bad guy.





The "Master" vampire (portrayed by Rutger Hauer) in "Buffy, the Vampire Slayer". Buffy, a valley girl cheerleader, does not want to become a warrior against the darkness and protector of mankind. However, the "Master's" relentless pursuit of her forces her to confront her fears and fulfill her destiny. The "Master" never changes in the film, and is just a persistent evil, but his persistence (and murder of Buffy's Watcher mentor) forces Buffy's hand and sets her on a new career path smile.gif
In fact, thinking upon this, many film villains don't have character arcs, but exist solely to influence the main characters.

YES! These characters are the SOLID, CONCRETE, TANGIBLE reason for the main character to take action! THe EXTERNAL FORCE acting on the main character MOVING THE STORY FORWARD!

EXCELLENT!



Chief "Charlie" in the "Twilight" films (portrayed by Billy Burke). Bella's father is a loving, but vulnerable father. It is this vulnerability (to emotional pain through his daughter's actions, as well as to mortal danger from supernatural forces) which causes Bella to make the choices she does throughout the saga. She chooses to keep secrets from him (for example, if he found out she was a vampire, the vampire police would have to kill him), or chooses to fight instead of flee from fear of repercussions against her father. So although he does not really do much, he is the anchor for her in the natural, normal world, and all her decisions are made with him in mind.

This is a FANTASTIC choice as an example, JK! Here we have an ever present secondary character who's own ignorance leads the hero to act on there be half. The secondary character never really has an arc, however we see them through the sympathetic eye of the main character.

Though her father never really changes, we still learn more about him, making him dimensional. So, they remain interesting, helping to keep the story alive. And being an EXTERNAL FORCE causing the hero to make those difficult choices.

[/color]


Great examples!!!! laugh.gif

There is no try, only do or do not.

 

Learn story telling in the MOVIESTORM education forum. 

 

START HERE:  http://www.moviestor...showtopic=13153



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