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

instant_karma 04-01-2010 10:33 AM

Re: Fatal Flaw?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by NikeeGoddess (Post 632384)
here's my take that i posted several pages back.

redd talks about how he spent so many years inside that he didn't think he could survive in the real world. remember when the first old guy got released and hung himself? redd thought he was on that same path but andy's desire to get out of that prison even after 17 years inspired him to survive out there. that's why redd is the protagonist and andy is the main character.

To me, that's just a character's arc being altered by interacting with the protagonist. Which should happen to a greater or lesser degree with almost every major character the protagonist encounters. Again, I think this has already been quite well established in various story telling theories, and I don't see the need to try and create a new storytelling device to address a problem that doesn't exist.

ScreenplayQA 04-01-2010 10:58 AM

Re: Fatal Flaw?
 
Can you make it that the USB is encrypted and can only be decrypted by inserting it into a specif computer with the proper MAC address [ Media Access Control ]

That solves your issue right there.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steven Jenkins (Post 630975)
I just spotted a huge flaw in my story - but think it isn't critical. Just after some advice :)

My plot is about getting a mem-stick with vitally important data on it to a particular person & place.

My flaw is that this data could feasibly be uploaded to the person via the internet, or the mem-stick posted in the mail, which kinda undermines my hero's hazardous trek across the country.

I'm covering this flaw by exposing that the mem-stick is hardware protected, so if it's inserted into a standard USB port the data gets fried - and if it's posted in the mail it could get intercepted by the authrities who are hunting for the mem-stick.

This arse-covering seems a bit feeble I know, but I'm still feeling kinda safe here because my flaw is the self-same one I've just spotted in STAR-WARS, and nobody else ever seems to have done so.

What do you think? Am I safe on this one, or not?

Many thanks :)

Steve Jenkins
rebel base
3rd planet on left past death-star
galaxy far-far-way

hmm!
Maybe I just answered my own question.


Steven Jenkins 04-01-2010 11:13 AM

Re: Fatal Flaw?
 
Thanks for the hint :)

I was more thinking along the lines of USB voltage, with the higher voltage of a standard USB burning out the circuits.

But that would have needed unnecessary exposition.

I thought about a give-away line that it's protected, which later turns out to be a lie.

But in the end I've abandoned that ploy altogether, and made the antagonist (the cat :) ) want my hero to read the contents as part of her cunning stunt. ;)

ScreenplayQA 04-01-2010 11:15 AM

Re: Fatal Flaw?
 
hahaha

if you ever need any computer/hacker ideas just let me know. I'm a programmer for a living - ya know until someone decides to pay me to write about stuff, instead of actually doing stuff.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steven Jenkins (Post 632406)
Thanks for the hint :)

I was more thinking along the lines of USB voltage, with the higher voltage of a standard USB burning out the circuits.

But that would have needed unnecessary exposition.

I thought about a give-away line that it's protected, which later turns out to be a lie.

But in the end I've abandoned that ploy altogether, and made the antagonist (the cat :) ) want my hero to read the contents as part of her cunning stunt.


sarajb 04-01-2010 12:20 PM

Re: Fatal Flaw?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by JimHull (Post 632378)
Re: loglines for Shawshank and Casablanca

I have an idea where you are headed with this question, but before I bite...

In my estimation, loglines are about as useful to an author as the concept of "raising the stakes." They're great for development executives and the back of DVD boxes, but they don't really give a writer the tools necessary to write a complete story. They are reductive and meaningless and should not be a part of the creative process as they don't delineate any structural features of a story.

Reductive in a good way. Loglines are crucial to my creative process, crucial as headlights on a car.

Protagonist, antagonist, goal and stakes - understanding a story at its base lets a writer see where other elements should build, branch and connect. Loglines aren't mandatory, but they're really not meaningless endeavors.

zenplato 04-01-2010 12:58 PM

Re: Fatal Flaw?
 
I think this guy is pulling our chain. Surely no one really thinks like Jim does.

Rick as the antag?

JimHull 04-01-2010 01:00 PM

Re: Fatal Flaw?
 
LOL - if you read any of my posts, I never once stated that Rick is the Antagonist. Maj. Strasser is clearly the Antagonist.

Re: Red as simply being the Narrator

Red has a problem that many of the other inmates share, namely, that they easily go along with whatever the warden or any of the other guards tell them to do. They have become institutionalized. The thing that elevates Red beyond his fellow inmates, at least as far as dramatic structure goes, is that we get a close intimate look into what that it feels like to think this way. The parole hearings are scenes that are solely all about Red. We don't get scenes like that with any of the other characters (you could argue that there is the section with Brooks when he is let go, but I would say that is more of a substory, whereas Red's storyline is key throughout.

Through his relationship with Andy, Red changes and transforms the way he looks at life. I believe his relationship with Andy is the heart of the story, in much the same way that Rick's relationship with Ilsa is the heart of "Casablanca." Andy does not have this kind of relationship with any other character in the story and is another reason why I would argue that it elevates Red beyond simply the guy telling the story. When he chooses to "get busy living" he is basically telling us that he has adopted Andy's way of seeing things. When he tells the parole board to basically shove it up their ass, he is finally standing up to the system like Andy did. Andy's was on a much larger scale, Red's was more of a personal one.

Red's storyline gives the audience the opportunity to experience what it is like to be a person who has lost all hope, who has become an institutional man and who goes along with whatever is told him. And then it gives us the very emotional experience of what it would be like to stand up against those who oppress you and transform yourself into someone who believes that "hope springs eternal." While this experience is somewhat mirrored in Andy's storyline, it is presented in a more objectified manner and what's more, I would argue that Andy had that sense of hope from the very beginning. Sure, there were moments when he had his doubts, but when it came right down to it, he stuck to his guns and stuck it to the warden.

Steven Jenkins 04-01-2010 01:13 PM

Re: Fatal Flaw?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by zenplato (Post 632441)
I think this guy is pulling our chain. Surely no one really thinks like Jim does.
Rick as the antag?

Somebody was pulling MY chain when I suggested Rick may be Lazlo's Antag (not the Story's Antag).

There's some big parrallels between Casablanca and Scrooge, I'm certain. Scrooge is unquestionably the antagonising protag, the same way as Rick is.

But on the other hand, Bob Cratchit isn't at the forefront of a global and noble cause, putting his life in danger at every turn.

Also, Dickens wasn't trying to show some heroic type leading a noble cause in the background, while in the forground the story's MC just watches on the sidelines agonising about something intensely personal. However, I do believe both authors almost scream at their audience the question: "notice anything familier".

But I wont mumble any more rubbish about this. At the end of the day what the hell do I know about multiple storylines. I'm struggling with just one.

zenplato 04-01-2010 01:18 PM

Re: Fatal Flaw?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by JimHull (Post 632442)
LOL - if you read any of my posts, I never once stated that Rick is the Antagonist. Maj. Strasser is clearly the Antagonist.

You might as well have...I mean seriously, what are you trying to say other than you are confused about the dramatic elements.

Have you ever read Poetics by Aristotle? I think that's a good start...

zenplato 04-01-2010 01:28 PM

Re: Fatal Flaw?
 
Sorry Jim, I've confused your and Steve's posts.

Please accept my apology...

Steve...have you read Poetics? lol!!!

JeffLowell 04-01-2010 01:40 PM

Re: Fatal Flaw?
 
Andy starts the movie drunk with a gun in his hand. To dismiss his journey is hard for me to understand.

That aside, his story is perhaps the most famous and instantly emotionally involving one: he is an innocent man unjustly accused of a crime. Hitchcock made his career off this character. Perhaps you saw "The Fugitive."

We want Andy to escape a lot more than we want Red to be paroled. Maybe you personally spent the movie worrying about Red getting out of prison... But you have to admit you're in the minority, yes?

As for Casablanca... I don't know, Jim. Any theory that makes Laszlo the protag of Casablanca would make me question the theory instead of 60 years of analysis.

Steven Jenkins 04-01-2010 02:00 PM

Re: Fatal Flaw?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by zenplato (Post 632452)
Sorry Jim, I've confused your and Steve's posts.

Please accept my apology...

Steve...have you read Poetics? lol!!!

I read one of his once. The one where the hero dies in the end.
LOL - sorry.
Is poetics the big thick one? Cos I read the small thin one, about not having a god arrive down on the stage on the end of a string, and fix everything with a wave of the hand.

But it depends on the post you mean. Jeff tried (and succeeded for a while) in winding me up with one about that. But all I was trying to suggest is maybe there's two storylines with a protag and antag in each. With Rick being the protag of the main storyline, Lazlo being the protag of the secondary storyline, with Rick crossing the two by being Lazlo's antag.

But I'm happy to just accept that Lazlo is the hero who never was.

JimHull 04-01-2010 02:00 PM

Re: Fatal Flaw?
 
Thanks zen, no biggee though, I just know that people scan extended threads like this and I didn't want the casual reader to think I was completely insane.

As far as Poetics goes, I have read it, but I wouldn't use that text as a basis for dramatic structure any more than I would use the geocentric model to describe our universe.

Re: Shawshank (just saw your reply)

I don't think problems in the story really start until the judge sentences Andy to life. The moments with him in the beginning are what I would consider Backstory -- they explain why Andy has the attitude that he has. I would agree that in "The Fugitive" Dr. Kimble is both Protagonist and Main Character (he drives the plot to prove his innocence and we experience the film through his eyes).

On this messageboard I would definitely agree that I'm in the minority, but how certain audiences receive a message is separate from the way in which it was conceived.

As far as Casablanca goes, it's important to note that that is my own interpretation of the story's structure. There could be a chance that I've misinterpreted things, as I have in the past, and I'd be willing to change if a good argument for the goal of the story, the goal that affects everyone, could be engineered in such a way as to place Rick as the one driving the efforts towards the successful outcome of that goal.

I don't see him pursuing much of anything until the end after Lazlo guilt trips him. If I recall, you see his goal as trying to get back together with Ilsa and that he was pursuing that from the moment she walked into his place. I don't see that, in fact, to me it seems more like he is trying to avoid her, pushing her away because he is so hurt by her.

To me, these are not the actions of a Protagonist. Main Character, on the other hand, the one we care most about and empathize with the most, definitely.

JeffLowell 04-01-2010 02:07 PM

Re: Fatal Flaw?
 
Quote:

I don't see that, in fact, to me it seems more like he is trying to avoid her, pushing her away because he is so hurt by her.
I think the subtleties of story and love are missing from your viewpoint.

(If he wanted Ilsa gone, he'd hand over the letters. And sometimes we push people we love away to test them.)

zenplato 04-01-2010 02:44 PM

Re: Fatal Flaw?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by JimHull (Post 632462)
Thanks zen, no biggee though, I just know that people scan extended threads like this and I didn't want the casual reader to think I was completely insane.

As far as Poetics goes, I have read it, but I wouldn't use that text as a basis for dramatic structure any more than I would use the geocentric model to describe our universe.

No worries...

BUT, this last part really disturbs me...Poetics is the basics for dramatic structure. To say Poetics is antiquated, is your hamartia, imo :) .

Poetics is prolly the most important book...ever. OK, maybe not, but it to say it's no longer relavent, like a geocentric model is...shocking.

So riddle me this...why is Poetics so outdated in your view? How is it no longer germane to storytelling and the dramatic elements? I'm always curious and interested to learn something new. I'm hopeful you can do just that!!!

Thanks.

zenplato 04-01-2010 02:45 PM

Re: Fatal Flaw?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Steven Jenkins (Post 632461)
I read one of his once. The one where the hero dies in the end.
LOL - sorry.
Is poetics the big thick one? Cos I read the small thin one, about not having a god arrive down on the stage on the end of a string, and fix everything with a wave of the hand.

But it depends on the post you mean. Jeff tried (and succeeded for a while) in winding me up with one about that. But all I was trying to suggest is maybe there's two storylines with a protag and antag in each. With Rick being the protag of the main storyline, Lazlo being the protag of the secondary storyline, with Rick crossing the two by being Lazlo's antag.

But I'm happy to just accept that Lazlo is the hero who never was.

It's not a thick book at all. In fact, you could probably read the whole thing in an hour:

http://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/poetics.html

Let me know what you think...

THEUGLYDUCKLING 04-01-2010 02:49 PM

Re: Fatal Flaw?
 
Poetics is tight.

TwoBrad Bradley 04-01-2010 03:33 PM

Re: Fatal Flaw?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by JimHull (Post 632462)
... I'd be willing to change if a good argument for the goal of the story, the goal that affects everyone, could be engineered in such a way as to place Rick as the one driving the efforts towards the successful outcome of that goal. ...

How about if the Paris flashback was not a flashback at all, but started the movie and the story progressed in "real time"?

edited to add:
There's no flashback showing Laszlo wanting letters of transit.
Did Laszlo even want those specific letters?

jonpiper 04-01-2010 03:57 PM

Re: Fatal Flaw?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by JimHull (Post 632462)

As far as Casablanca goes, it's important to note that that is my own interpretation of the story's structure. There could be a chance that I've misinterpreted things, as I have in the past, and I'd be willing to change if a good argument for the goal of the story, the goal that affects everyone, could be engineered in such a way as to place Rick as the one driving the efforts towards the successful outcome of that goal.

I don't see him pursuing much of anything until the end after Lazlo guilt trips him. If I recall, you see his goal as trying to get back together with Ilsa and that he was pursuing that from the moment she walked into his place. I don't see that, in fact, to me it seems more like he is trying to avoid her, pushing her away because he is so hurt by her.

To me, these are not the actions of a Protagonist. Main Character, on the other hand, the one we care most about and empathize with the most, definitely.

Did any character in Casablancea have a story goal, that is a goal that arose at the end of the first Act, or thereabout? Was there an event which turned that character's life in another direction and propelled him toward a goal?

Laszlo's goal was always to get to America with Ilsa. So his goal to get letters of transit (any letters of transit, Brad) is nothing new. He wasen't propelled toward a goal by events in the story.

On the other hand, Rick's world is turned completely upside down when everything happens at once. Strasser comes to town, Ugarte hands Rick the letters, and Ilsa and Laszlo come to town.

Rick goes into action. He hides the letters from the authorities. He kicks the German officer out of the gambling room, allows the playing of the French anthem, keeps the letters of transit and doesn't allow the owner of the Blue Parrot to sell them. By his actions, although bitter on the outside, he shows whose side he's really on.

Rick may not have a well defined goal, probably because his mind is so screwed up by his love for Ilsa and because of the what happened to him even before he met Ilsa (we never find out what these events were which prevent him from returning to America), but his actions and how he handles all the **** that's going on, he propels the story.

In the end Rick saves Laszlo and Ilsa, kills Strasser, and makes it out of Casablanca to join the resistance.

Does a protag need a well defined goal near the beginning of the story?

JeffLowell 04-01-2010 04:16 PM

Re: Fatal Flaw?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by jonpiper (Post 632483)
Does a protag need a well defined goal near the beginning of the story?

No. See Die Hard and thousands of other movies where a character is thrust into a situation not of his making.

Steven Jenkins 04-01-2010 04:19 PM

Re: Fatal Flaw?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by zenplato (Post 632469)
It's not a thick book at all. In fact, you could probably read the whole thing in an hour:

http://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/poetics.html

Let me know what you think...

Ok - I dug it up. I have a small compendium, containing articles by Aristotle, Horace & Longinus. The Aristotle one is called On the Art of Poetry. Is that the one?
I picked it up from a reading list for a Screenwriting MA course, as a cheapo way to do some self-education a few years ago.

I remember reading it, but a fair bit of it I thought was very out-dated. I just don't have the time to pick those things out, or have a debate about it as it's now Scriptfrenzy time :D

But I was just skimming through the book and found a section that I'd underlined when I first read it:
"our pity is awakened by undeserved misfortune, and our fear by that of someone just like ourselves".

Which really should be the giveaway of who the protag is in Casablanca. But it doesn't work. Rcik's misfortune is having his heart broken for no (as far as he knows) good reason.
BUT - Lazlo's misfortune is having his wife have an affair while he's in a concentration camp, escaping and recovering. Then fleeing to someplace, only to run into 'the other man', who has the means for his escape and safety but refuses to help because of his wife's past (pardonable) indiscretion.

The only thing Lazlo lacks is that "he's just like me" association for the audience.

I can just see Lazlo standing in front of the gods (Clytemnestra-like) demanding justice for Rick's assassination of him to a 'best supporting role' status in the movie. And then, after he's finished, it's Ilsa's turn for a slice of the heroine-denied action.

Anyway - I think Casablanca's pretty well squeezed out here now. But it's been fun looking at it from different angles :)

EDIT - And JonPiper's post I believe clinches the whole deal :)

jonpiper 04-01-2010 04:42 PM

Re: Fatal Flaw?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by JeffLowell (Post 632485)
No. See Die Hard and thousands of other movies where a character is thrust into a situation not of his making.

Then my arguement holds.:)

Rick was thrust into a situation and took action. He took action without having any clear cut final goal. However, Rick's situation, the appearance of a lost love and her husband, a hero of the resistance, and the impending takeover of Casablanca by the German's is much more complex than Willis's.

JimHull 04-01-2010 05:02 PM

Re: Fatal Flaw?
 
I guess my problem would be that if the goal of the story was Rick getting Ilsa than who would the Antagonist be? You could say Lazlo, but by definition, an Antagonist actively prevents the Protagonist from acheiving his goal. I don't see that happening.

The next candidate would be Ilsa herself, but I would contend that she is filling another dramatic role and that would be (at the risk of alienating everyone once again) that of the Impact Character. You can think of this character as the Main Character's personal Antagonist if you're uncomfortable with new terminology.

It is her "impact" on Rick, her way of seeing the world, that ultimately influences him to change and become the selfless man he once was. Their relationship in the story fosters this change in much the same way that Red and Andy's relationship result in Red's eventual change. That is where the meaning, or true message of both films lies emotionally.

So Ilsa can't be the real Antagonist of the piece either.

The Antagonist without a doubt is Major Strasser. The Antagonist wants the the efforts to reach the goal to end in failure, the Protagonist wants the efforts to reach the goal to end in success. Maj. Strasser definitely loses. By definition then, the Protagonist in Casablanca wins. Who would that be?

EDIT: jonpiper above argues, if i understand correctly, that Rick's eventual goal was to join the resistance, but that he only discovered that or was motivated towards it till the end. The drive to secure the Story Goal starts the instant the Inciting Incident occurs. That event upsets the balance of things, and there should always be some drive towards resolving that inequity otherwise the story will feel flat, i.e. no narrative drive. That drive should be there from Act 1 till the end.

In addition, it should also be noted that the letters of transit were indeed intended for Lazlo, once Ugarte decides to give them to Rick, balance is upset and the story begins.

On the other hand, if the goal was Lazlo and Ilsa's freedom then you can quite clearly see who the Protagonist and Antagonist are.

I will contend that Lazlo is not a particularly strong Protagonist. I still think he represents the drive to pursue that freedom for himself and Ilsa, but he's not particularly good at it.

Andy on the other hand, kicks ass in this department.

Ronaldinho 04-01-2010 05:26 PM

Re: Fatal Flaw?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by JimHull (Post 632494)
I guess my problem would be that if the goal of the story was Rick getting Ilsa than who would the Antagonist be?

One of my smarter screenwriting teachers - a guy with one absolutely huge film to his name, and a long solid career of work - always reminded us that a movie doesn't REQUIRE a specific Darth-Vader-like antagonist. Rather than "antagonist," he encouraged us to think in terms of "forces of antagonism."

His point was that this opens up the door to much more nuanced films.

I'll use an example of a film that most of us wouldn't think of as particularly nuanced: Top Gun. Who's the antagonist? Well, you could talk about Val Kilmer, I suppose, because Tom Cruise is competing with him. You could talk about Tom Skerrit, becuase he runs the school and is ultimately the one who grounds Tom.

But the real demon that Tom faces isn't either of those guys - it's himself. Those guys provide crucibles, but the real tests are always against himself.

And if something like that works, in a movie as straightforward as Top Gun, why struggle to define an antagonist in Casablanca? WHy not reject the entire theory that there MUST be an antagonist, and instead use the more flexible concept of "forces of antagonism."

Because yes, Strasser is an antagonist, for parts of the story. So is Laszlo. So is Ilsa. But, of course, the entity that Rick defeats which has the biggest impact on the outcome of the story isn't Strasser, or Laszlo, or Ilsa ... it's his own apathy.

When he defeats that, he wins.

Only because you have arbitrarily decided that someone must be the antagonist is this any trouble at all.

This, ultimately, swings back to my whole problem with rigid theories about dramatic structure. You've got this little box that says "antagonist" and you feel compelled to fill it.

But you don't have to. There are lots of films where the true test isn't against some ultimate villain, but against the world, or against oneself.

instant_karma 04-01-2010 05:30 PM

Re: Fatal Flaw?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by JimHull (Post 632494)
I guess my problem would be that if the goal of the story was Rick getting Ilsa than who would the Antagonist be? You could say Lazlo, but by definition, an Antagonist actively prevents the Protagonist from acheiving his goal. I don't see that happening.

An antagonist does not have to be a person. It can be a force of nature or a set of circumstances, although personally speaking it is usually more emotionally satisfying when the obstacle that the protagonist has to prevail over is a person.

For example, consider the threat posed to the characters in the Final Destination series of movies.

Disaster movies also provide good examples of non human antagonists. The antagonist in Deep Impact was a giant space rock. In The Happening, it was the wind. Or trees. Or something.

Okay, forget about The Happening. The point is, there are a bucketful of movies with a non human antagonist.

With regards to what prevents Rick from getting Ilsa in the end, I would say the answer is Rick's love for her.

If he'd said the word, she was there for the taking, but his love for her stopped him from asking her to throw away a relationship with a man that Rick has built a grudging respect for in exchange for an uncertain and dangerous future with him. More than anything, Rick's goal is the protection of Ilsa.

instant_karma 04-01-2010 05:32 PM

Re: Fatal Flaw?
 
Balls! If I'd waited a few minutes and seen Ronaldinho's post, I could've saved myself some typing.

SuperScribe 04-01-2010 05:35 PM

Re: Fatal Flaw?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by instant_karma (Post 632507)
Balls!

My own protagonist and antagonist, all bundled up in one sack. Alas.

instant_karma 04-01-2010 05:41 PM

Re: Fatal Flaw?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by SuperScribe (Post 632508)
My own protagonist and antagonist, all bundled up in one sack. Alas.

Much as I generally dislike smileys, words just will not suffice -

:rolling: :rolling: :rolling:

zenplato 04-01-2010 05:43 PM

Re: Fatal Flaw?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by JimHull (Post 632494)
I guess my problem would be that if the goal of the story was Rick getting Ilsa than who would the Antagonist be? You could say Lazlo, but by definition, an Antagonist actively prevents the Protagonist from acheiving his goal. I don't see that happening.

...

Let's not be so rigid. The movie's gestalt may not fit the mold that pedants want to squeeze it into, but that doesn't mean the principals of dramatic processes aren't in place.

And Steve, I don't see that quote being an essential attribute of a protag, imo...

The LoT are nothing more than a macguffin.

Sheeit!

jonpiper 04-01-2010 06:54 PM

Re: Fatal Flaw?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by JimHull (Post 632494)


EDIT: jonpiper above argues, if i understand correctly, that Rick's eventual goal was to join the resistance, but that he only discovered that or was motivated towards it till the end. The drive to secure the Story Goal starts the instant the Inciting Incident occurs. That event upsets the balance of things, and there should always be some drive towards resolving that inequity otherwise the story will feel flat, i.e. no narrative drive. That drive should be there from Act 1 till the end.

In addition, it should also be noted that the letters of transit were indeed intended for Lazlo, once Ugarte decides to give them to Rick, balance is upset and the story begins.

On the other hand, if the goal was Lazlo and Ilsa's freedom then you can quite clearly see who the Protagonist and Antagonist are.

I will contend that Lazlo is not a particularly strong Protagonist. I still think he represents the drive to pursue that freedom for himself and Ilsa, but he's not particularly good at it.

My mistake. Ugarte did steal the letters specifically to sell them to Laszlo.


As for the story goal, I'm not convinced Laszlo's goal, which is to secure his and Ilsa's freedom, is the story goal.

I believe Rick's goals, confused and changing as they are-- to remain neutral, to regain Ilsa's love, to win a bet with Renault, to disgrace the Germans, to secure Ilsa and Laszlo's freedom, to regain his own soul--are the story goals. Rick's actions move the plot forward. And in the end it is Rick who is responsible for acheiving Laszlo and Ilsa's freedom.

P.S. Jim you said "The drive to secure the Story Goal starts the instant the Inciting Incident occurs. That event upsets the balance of things, and there should always be some drive towards resolving that inequity otherwise the story will feel flat, i.e. no narrative drive. That drive should be there from Act 1 till the end."

The II does upset the balance of things and does drive Casablanca forward by setting Rick in motion to secure his goals. He was forced ou of his depressed, don't-give-a-damn attitude.

THEUGLYDUCKLING 04-01-2010 06:57 PM

Re: Fatal Flaw?
 
i still haven't seen casablanca, gone with the wind or E.T.

but i have seen BASKETCASE and rank phantasm right up there with evil dead, well not right up there, but within spitting distance.

jonpiper 04-01-2010 07:28 PM

Re: Fatal Flaw?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by THEUGLYDUCKLING (Post 632528)
i still haven't seen casablanca, gone with the wind or E.T.

but i have seen BASKETCASE and rank phantasm right up there with evil dead, well not right up there, but within spitting distance.

You've gotta see and read Casablanca. It's a tight low budget screenplay, fantastic setting. Every word counts. Great dialogue.
Great characters. Emotional. Simple structure, complex relationships.

But who is the protag and who is the main character is disputable.:)

billmarq 04-01-2010 08:45 PM

Re: Fatal Flaw?
 
195 posts and still no one has found a way to work "the usual suspects" into the discussion.

Lame.

TheKeenGuy 04-01-2010 08:51 PM

Re: Fatal Flaw?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by billmarq (Post 632561)
195 posts and still no one has found a way to work "the usual suspects" into the discussion.

Lame.

I swore I had, but realized that it was just the rough draft of my post where I talk about CITIZEN KANE. THE USUAL SUSPECTS has a similar structure. Modern-day protag, flashback protag. You could put THE PRINCESS BRIDE in the same camp.

Of course, in each case the modern day protag is just our way of accessing the real story.

instant_karma 04-01-2010 08:55 PM

Re: Fatal Flaw?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by billmarq (Post 632561)
195 posts and still no one has found a way to work "the usual suspects" into the discussion.

Lame.

I made a Kaizer Soze reference earlier and made a really really forced usual suspects remark, but I thought better of it and took it out.

And now I wish I hadn't, because I feel like I've let you down.

Richmond Weems 04-02-2010 09:19 AM

Re: Fatal Flaw?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by haroldhecuba (Post 631394)
Let's see if we can get twenty pages out of this...

I knew we could make it.

HH

Steven Jenkins 04-02-2010 02:05 PM

Re: Fatal Flaw?
 
The real antagonist in Star-Wars.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8594101.stm

asjah8 04-02-2010 02:52 PM

Re: Fatal Flaw?
 
what’s interesting about this conversation thread, is… storytelling has been a literary process for a thousand years. when did the motion picture kinetoscope get invented… like the 1890’s?

the medium doesn’t change the intent or the process of storytelling, it just changes the method of delivery. we could be talking about film, paperback or stone tablets, but the process is still relatively the same.

lit basics:

the protag is the most complex character in the story. the antag is the one most oppositely affecting that complexity.

when a story has several equally complex characters - the protag is quite often the bland one at the center of the maelstrom. this is because the other dynamic character’s complexities raise the protag’s mildness above theirs due to the changing dynamics of association. in essence, their ethos collectively acts to raise the ethos of the protag.

ex: a tornado is going on - everywhere is total chaos; things are whipping about in the air, cows are flying, rain is pelting down, etc. what is going to be the most complex thing in this moving situation? something standing still.

this tool (i'm not sure what film folks call it) is a great option for telling complex tales, like the usual suspects :), because it provides a solid anchor to return to each time the story diverges to explore the other competing complexities.

and, just like kaiser sose is an example of another tool: characterization as a macguffin. the idea of kaiser was used to drive the plot and repeatedly referenced by characters as: “who was kaiser sose?” this particular macguffin carried the whole film and gave a huge twist at the end. for me, this is one of things that makes the story and writing so good.

none of this is guru template stuff, it’s just established techniques from boring, outdated guys like aristotle.

billmarq 04-02-2010 11:21 PM

Re: Fatal Flaw?
 
/sigh

re: my previous post -

Okay, peeps. The line "round up the usual suspects" is a catch phrase from Casablanca, and spawned the name of the more recent movie with Kevin Spacey as Keyser Soze. I was waiting for someone to make a joke regarding the protaganist as being one of the usual suspects or some such nonsense.

For the record, all this discussion about Casablanca forced me to watch the film again last night on DVD. I have come to the conclusion that anyone who thinks Laszlo is the protaganist is deranged. It just ain't so. The character arc, motivational action and screen time all go to Rick.

'nuff said about that.

JimHull 04-03-2010 12:42 AM

Re: Fatal Flaw?
 
For the sake of clarity:

The currently accepted definition of the term protagonist is too simplistic to describe the complexity of what really goes on inside of great stories.

Rick is the Main Character and has the greatest transformational change. I never once claimed that Lazlo had any kind of character arc or that he was somehow the reason for the story.

I would agree with you that anyone who said that would be deranged.


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