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SCREEN WRITING CLASS - MODULE 4


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#21 aroundworld

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 09:24 PM

Assignment




What I would like you guys to do, is take 2 or 3 of your favorite movies and Boyle then down to:

THE CENTRAL QUESTION.


If you want, you can use the chart in your exercise, but it's not necessary.

I just want to make sure you get this:


Will Maggy defeat James and take her rightful place as queen to save her people from tyranny?

Only apply it to your favorite film!

There is no try, only do or do not.

 

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#22 JosephKw

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 06:23 AM

"Lord of the Rings" trilogy. Central question = will Frodo destroy the Ring of Doom?

"the Eye" (Pang brothers original version) = will our heroine (Shu Qi) find out why she sees what others can't?

"the Sting" = will our hero (Robert Redford) successfully exact revenge against Robert Shaw?


As to the visible goals, can Dett simply burn the marker at the end while the camera focuses on the word "liquidator" as it blackens and blows away as ash? That would serve as a visible reminder of Dett's promise to his uncle.

#23 kkffoo

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 06:55 AM

Clockwise (John Cleese)
Will (John's character) get to the headmaster's conference and make his speech?

The Italian Job
Will the gang be able to steal the gold and get away with it?

The Wizard of Oz
Will Dorothy get to meet the Wizard in Emerald city and will he help her to get home?

Splash
How will (Tom Hanks) overcome their differences and end up with the girl of his dreams?

Back to the future
Can Marty ensure his own existence by geting his parents together and then return to the future?

_____________________________________________________________________________

This took me a while as there were many films I couldn't boil down, maybe because I had forgotten some details or was focused on other elements of the story.

Is it ok to answer the question with a 'no', or a modified yes?




#24 aroundworld

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 11:45 AM

QUOTE (JosephKw @ Sep 25 2012, 06:23 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
"Lord of the Rings" trilogy. Central question = will Frodo destroy the Ring of Doom?

"the Eye" (Pang brothers original version) = will our heroine (Shu Qi) find out why she sees what others can't?

"the Sting" = will our hero (Robert Redford) successfully exact revenge against Robert Shaw?


As to the visible goals, can Dett simply burn the marker at the end while the camera focuses on the word "liquidator" as it blackens and blows away as ash? That would serve as a visible reminder of Dett's promise to his uncle.

That is a PAYOFF to a PLANT, And it will work only if you give that piece of paper MAJOR SIGNIFICANCE. There has to be more than just not going after people anymore or honoring his Uncle. The list must be connected to something Dett is sacrificing/protecting (either one).

Like Maggy's Bracelet in Kate's story; The bracelet (PLANT) was the key to her royal destiny (PAYOFF). But that in it's self isn't enough. Tommy lies dieing (?) on the bell tower floor and we're connected to Maggy's struggle because she loved Tommy (he rescued her), so the fact that she's wearing the bracelet means something.

In Shirl's story, Briana must risk the life of her brother to defeat Carac. We're connected to her struggle because we like her brother and don't want Briana to be a lone.

That piece of paper must have major significance (not just in your mind) it has to be connected to something other than the idea of honor, it must be visible. The PAYOFF will only work if burning that paper has something visible the audience will understand, Just seeing it burn won't mean anything. Does that make sense?

If burning the paper saves his girlfriend or the town, and honors his uncle, then it will work. It has to mean something you can SHOW not TELL. smile.gif





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Learn story telling in the MOVIESTORM education forum. 

 

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


#25 aroundworld

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 05:49 PM

[quote name='JosephKw' post='94364' date='Sep 25 2012, 06:23 AM']"Lord of the Rings" trilogy. Central question = will Frodo destroy the Ring of Doom?

Destroy the ring of Doom and ______? There has got to be a reason he destroys it! smile.gif

"the Eye" (Pang brothers original version) = will our heroine (Shu Qi) find out why she sees what others can't?

Will Shu Qi find the donor of her cornea's and discover why she sees ghosts?

C-mon JK, just a tiny bit more effort. wink.gif


"the Sting" = will our hero (Robert Redford) successfully exact revenge against Robert Shaw?

Will Johnny Hooker con the criminal banker out of millions and avenge his murdered partner?

Compare my central question to yours and see which one tells a more complete story.


Will our hero do X, to accomplish Y and save Z?

The CENTRAL QUESTION TELLS THE STORY IN A NUTSHELL.

There is no try, only do or do not.

 

Learn story telling in the MOVIESTORM education forum. 

 

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


#26 squirrelygirl

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 06:25 PM

The Master of Disguise: Will Pistachio Disguisey risk his life to defeat Devlin and save his kidnapped father?

Sometimes They Come Back: Will Jim find the strength to face the spirits from his tragic childhood in order to save his son's life?

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#27 aroundworld

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 06:58 PM

QUOTE (kkffoo @ Sep 25 2012, 06:55 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Clockwise (John Cleese)
Will (John's character) get to the headmaster's conference and make his speech?

Make his speech in time to______? What happens if he doesn't make his speech?

The Italian Job
Will the gang be able to steal the gold and get away with it?

Will Charlie Croker avenge the betrayal of his team and get the gold from his former ally?

The Wizard of Oz
Will Dorothy get to meet the Wizard in Emerald city and will he help her to get home?

This would work. See if this is compelling as well:

Will Dorothy get to meet the Wizard in Emerald city and find out the true purpose of her ruby slippers?





Splash
How will (Tom Hanks) overcome their differences and end up with the girl of his dreams?

Will Allan Bauer and the girl that saved him from drowning stay together when he realizes she's a mermaid?

Back to the future
Can Marty ensure his own existence by geting his parents together and then return to the future? Yes!

_____________________________________________________________________________

This took me a while as there were many films I couldn't boil down, maybe because I had forgotten some details or was focused on other elements of the story.

No worries, I do the same thing. I learned to turn off the technical stuff and just get lost in the film. It's a good skill, these things will change your approach to story telling forever. smile.gif


Is it ok to answer the question with a 'no', or a modified yes?

The central question really isn't a question meant to be answered (I thought the same thing smile.gif)

The central question is a teaser, much like a movie preview.

1. It introduces the character: Will Indiana Jones___________

2. It tells us what challenge he/she faces: Find the Arc of the covenant before______

3. It tells us why it's important and poses the question, can he do it?: The Nazis and rescue his lover from them?


Will Indiana Jones find the Arc of the covenant before the Nazis and rescue his lover from them?

In the above central question, what is the most important goal? Rescuing his lover.

Rescuing his lover adds dimension to the story. If it was just about the Arc, it would be interesting. But because there is something we can RELATE TO (his lover) at stake, it makes the arc more interesting.


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 aroundworld

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 08:04 PM

QUOTE (squirrelygirl @ Sep 25 2012, 06:25 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The Master of Disguise: Will Pistachio Disguisey risk his life to defeat Devlin and save his kidnapped father?

Will Pistachio Disguisey rescue his kidnapped father and recover the U.S. Constitution from mob king-pin Devlin, while keeping their family identity a secret?.

We want to communicate the heart and essence of our story in the central question. WHY?

1. It keeps you, the writer, on track with your plot.

2. You will need it later to generate interest in your film/book...etc.




Sometimes They Come Back: Will Jim find the strength to face the spirits from his tragic childhood in order to save his son's life?

I could make several assumptions about this central question and be pretty close to what happens in the movie. That's a good thing. smile.gif

However, If I ramp this up with:

The spirits of dead gang members responsible for the murder of his brother, return to kill Jim and his family. Will Jim risk being killed by the same demon he summons to defeat the gang's spirits?

Either one could work, but how much more dimensional is the story in the second example?





There is no try, only do or do not.

 

Learn story telling in the MOVIESTORM education forum. 

 

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


#29 aroundworld

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 08:11 PM

Good questions, good work and CONGRATULATIONS! We've been in this class together for a month now! And we're going strong! If you keep at this and apply these principals to your stories, I PROMISE YOU, your scripts / films and books, will take on even more dimension and depth. Stay with it! smile.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


#30 aroundworld

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 08:26 PM

ASSIGNMENT.



Here's the central question to a film I'm currently working on:

Can the ambassador of earth save his daughter from being used in an experiment to save the female population of an alien race, while preventing war between the two worlds?


What does this tell you about the story?



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 JosephKw

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 05:15 AM

QUOTE (aroundworld @ Sep 25 2012, 08:26 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
ASSIGNMENT.



Here's the central question to a film I'm currently working on:

Can the ambassador of earth save his daughter from being used in an experiment to save the female population of an alien race, while preventing war between the two worlds?


What does this tell you about the story?


The story is a retro-scifi adventure film with at least a touch of humor, and probably a deliberately campy film. The quality of the effects, props, and costumes won't matter since if they're cheesy, that will add to the humor and feel of the film. The key is the central character (the ambassador) and his struggle against both an alien force and juggling his diplomatic responsibilities with his concerns for his daughter.

#32 kkffoo

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 08:10 AM

Earth has an ambassador, so alien races are already part of the landscape.
The daughter may have been an adventurous sort, who left earth and subsequently got into bother.
The alien race has at least two genders.
The ambassador probably has some conflict betwen his role as a father, and his role as ambassador.

#33 primaveranz

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 08:48 AM

QUOTE (aroundworld @ Sep 26 2012, 08:26 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
ASSIGNMENT.



Here's the central question to a film I'm currently working on:

Can the ambassador of earth save his daughter from being used in an experiment to save the female population of an alien race, while preventing war between the two worlds?


What does this tell you about the story?

You're currently working on it wink.gif

"If we only use 1/3 of our brain, what's the other 1/3 for?"


#34 aroundworld

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 10:55 AM

QUOTE (JosephKw @ Sep 26 2012, 05:15 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The story is a retro-scifi adventure film with at least a touch of humor, and probably a deliberately campy film.

What about the central question conveys this information? smile.gif


The quality of the effects, props, and costumes won't matter since if they're cheesy, that will add to the humor and feel of the film.

Why do you assume the film will be funny and loaded with cheesy props? rolleyes.gif


The key is the central character (the ambassador) and his struggle against both an alien force and juggling his diplomatic responsibilities with his concerns for his daughter.

Good! You focused only on the information in front of you and made a logical assumption about the conflict involved. smile.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


#35 aroundworld

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 11:05 AM

QUOTE (kkffoo @ Sep 26 2012, 08:10 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Earth has an ambassador, so alien races are already part of the landscape.
The daughter may have been an adventurous sort, who left earth and subsequently got into bother.
The alien race has at least two genders.
The ambassador probably has some conflict betwen his role as a father, and his role as ambassador.



These are good observations, here's why they work:

You focused exclusively on the information in front of you, and keyed in on the conflict.


Good job!

There is no try, only do or do not.

 

Learn story telling in the MOVIESTORM education forum. 

 

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


#36 squirrelygirl

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Posted 27 September 2012 - 03:07 AM

It is a sci-fi story of a father forced to choose between his daughter and war with an alien race.

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#37 aroundworld

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Posted 27 September 2012 - 09:08 AM

QUOTE (squirrelygirl @ Sep 27 2012, 03:07 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
It is a sci-fi story of a father forced to choose between his daughter and war with an alien race.


Well done! smile.gif

You brought this down to it's core elements:

The character: Father.

The conflict: choose between his daughter and war.

Implied journey: with an alien race.





There is no try, only do or do not.

 

Learn story telling in the MOVIESTORM education forum. 

 

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


#38 aroundworld

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Posted 27 September 2012 - 08:22 PM

One last word about the effectiveness of a well crafted CENTRAL QUESTION.


From the moment you decide what your story is about, think of how you want it to end!

The Central Question will:

Tell us about the character, their struggle (conflict), and asks the question; will they accomplish their goal?


This concludes MODULE 4 - The CENTRAL QUESTION.



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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