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-   -   Fatal Flaw? (http://messageboard.donedealpro.com/boards/showthread.php?t=54124)

instant_karma 04-07-2010 12:54 PM

Re: Fatal Flaw?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by zenplato (Post 633751)
If you don't mind, would you diagram this out for us? Showing each characters' goal (internal/external) and then map it to the above statement?

Sorry, I have this thing for "POC."


proof of concept

Would you settle for a couple of pie charts?

Maybe one showing each characters amount of dialogue as a percentage and then another with a breakdown of everybody's time on screen?

jonpiper 04-07-2010 02:15 PM

Re: Fatal Flaw?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by jonpiper (Post 633749)
In theory, the protag pursues the Story goal, while the Main character is who the story is about.

According to Jim, Laszlo's pursuit of the stolen letters of transit is the story goal; therefore, he is the protagonist.

Jim also says, "I should say though that I don't think it is the most important part of the story."

So it can be Rick's story. Rick is the central character in the screenplay, while Laszlo is the protagonist who pursues the Story goal.

Quote:

Originally Posted by zenplato (Post 633751)
If you don't mind, would you diagram this out for us? Showing each characters' goal (internal/external) and then map it to the above statement?

Sorry, I have this thing for "POC."


proof of concept

Plato and Karma, certainly you get the simple logic that explains what I think is Jim's argument.

Anyhow, for Laszlo to be the protag, we must agree:

1. The definition of a protag is not the same as the definition of the main character of a screenplay/story.

2. The Protag pursues the Story goal.

3. The Story is really about the Main character. The main character can pursue his/her own goals which may not be the Story goal.

3. The Story goal is not always the same as the Main character's goal.

This leads to very simple conclusion. The Story goal, the Protags goal, may be nothing more than a vehicle for the Main character to express himself/herself.

So, according to Jim, Laszlo's goal is to obtain the stolen letters of transit, so he an Ilsa can get to America and pursue the cause.

Rick's goals keep changing throughout the story. The story is about Rick, but Laszlo's goal moves the story forward.

Of course I may have misunderstood Jim's reasoning. And Jim can stand up for himself.

JimHull 04-07-2010 02:57 PM

Re: Fatal Flaw?
 
Nope, nothing to add. You summed it up perfectly.

JeffLowell 04-07-2010 04:39 PM

Re: Fatal Flaw?
 
Hitchcock is rolling in his grave. The MacGuffin is not the story. Any theory that argues otherwise is suspect, IMO.

jonpiper 04-07-2010 06:09 PM

Re: Fatal Flaw?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by JeffLowell (Post 633830)
Hitchcock is rolling in his grave. The MacGuffin is not the story. Any theory that argues otherwise is suspect, IMO.

True, the MacGuffin (the letters of transit) is not the story, but obtaining them is the story goal, Laszlo's goal, the protags goal. Yet the story is really about Rick, the main character.
Put it another way. If Rick is the protag, what is his goal. For what goal does he struggle when his life is turned upside down at the end of Act 1?

I argued before that Rick had multiple goals, but if you believe every protag has a single major goal, then these multiple goals could not be that single story goal. The only character with a major goal from the end of Act 1 to the end is Laszlo.

In the end Laszlo acheived his goal, and Rick the main character was instrumental in Laszlo acheiving Laszlo's goal.

Jim's argument is simple, elegant and makes sense.

Perhaps we can think in these terms when creating our own stories to make them richer. We can have a Main character who the story is really about. He is the one who goes through great emotional conflict and change, but his goals can change throughout the story, he doesn't have to struggle to acheive that one big goal at the end of Act 1.

To keep the story interesting and moving ahead, we can have a different character, a Protagonist, with a single story goal. To make the story interesting the protagonist's goal can involve our Main character and the Main character can be the major driving force in acheiving the Protags goal.

instant_karma 04-07-2010 06:51 PM

Re: Fatal Flaw?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by jonpiper (Post 633847)
If Rick is the protag, what is his goal. For what goal does he struggle when his life is turned upside down at the end of Act 1?

The protection of the woman he loves.

SuperScribe 04-07-2010 07:04 PM

Re: Fatal Flaw?
 
Why the hell are we standing here talking about Casablanca when Alfred Hitchcock is buried alive?!

THEUGLYDUCKLING 04-07-2010 07:08 PM

Re: Fatal Flaw?
 
Get a shovel.

instant_karma 04-07-2010 07:17 PM

Re: Fatal Flaw?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by SuperScribe (Post 633865)
Why the hell are we standing here talking about Casablanca when Alfred Hitchcock is buried alive?!

If that actually happened, even as he was drawing his last, stale breath, I'm sure he'd enjoy the irony of that being his fate.

JeffLowell 04-07-2010 08:16 PM

Re: Fatal Flaw?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by jonpiper (Post 633847)
Perhaps we can think in these terms when creating our own stories to make them richer. We can have a Main character who the story is really about. He is the one who goes through great emotional conflict and change, but his goals can change throughout the story, he doesn't have to struggle to acheive that one big goal at the end of Act 1.

To keep the story interesting and moving ahead, we can have a different character, a Protagonist, with a single story goal. To make the story interesting the protagonist's goal can involve our Main character and the Main character can be the major driving force in acheiving the Protags goal.

If you think that making the main character not have the major story goal will make your story richer (or more salable), I will respectfully disagree.

And, again, what you're saying about Laszlo isn't correct. He shows up and asks for the letters. Next, Ilsa comes alone and asks for them. Then Laszlo comes back and asks Rick to take Ilsa and the letters and get her to safety. Then Rick uses the letters to send Laszlo and Ilsa to safety.

So your protagonist asks once for the letters the whole movie. That's pursuing the story goal?

No wonder that movie sucks.


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