set-up RSS

elevate, intelligent characters, JURASSIC PARK, motivation, set-up, undeserved misfortune, unforeseen complication -

I’ve read a lot of scripts in which the core set-up is predicated on the characters being dumb and doing dumb things. In some genres (comedy, horror) this is usually fine, and perhaps even a plus. But generally it’s cheating; forcing stupidity onto the characters is an easy way to get the story ball rolling. The stronger approach is to elevate the set-up, and the way to do that is to make the characters as intelligent as possible. We can still get the story ball rolling, but instead of relying on easy choices, now we have to look for new...

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GROUNDHOG'S DAY, NOMADLAND, protagonist's journey, ROBOCOP, set-up, setting, THE FLORIDA PROJECT, THE MATRIX, thematic statement, TRUMAN SHOW -

Recently, I was working on a script rewrite. Most of the notes I had gotten were fairly straightforward, and I thought turning it around would take perhaps a week at most. But then I realized… wait, we’ve never figured out our themes; the script doesn’t yet have a clear thematic statement. This is really basic, foundational stuff, and it didn’t occur to me until late in the development process. That’s because it’s very easy to get caught up in the spinning gears of plot and character. But the themes are just as important, because this is the true “what this...

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Aaron Sorkin, goal, hurdles, obstacle, pay-off, protagonist, set-up, THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION -

Today I want to talk about structure. If you are a writer, you will inevitably talk or be asked about the structure of your film. When I first started writing, I remember thinking, “What does it mean for a story to have good or bad structure?”. You can’t Google, “story-structure”, and learn how to write your story in the right way, so how do you crack the code? This article will hopefully offer some insight into what it means to have a well-structured script, but I want to do it from a birds-eye view instead of analyzing every “beat” a...

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