Originally Posted by JeffLowell
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.
So, the movie sucks. That's what happens when the director can't handle a separate protag and main character.
At least we've narrowed the argument to the story goal and the main character's goal/goals.
Laszlo spends the whole second act trying to get the letters. Not a lot of screen time, but don't forget this is not who the story is about.
Rick gets the letters and spends the second act deciding what to do with them. What is his goal?
Karma says the story goal is Rick's goal is the protection of the woman Rick loves.
True this becomes one of Rick's goals, but not the story goal. This goal is not born until late in the second act.
Laszlo came to Casablanca on his way to America. He was supposed to buy letters of transmit from Ugarte but these letters ended up with Rick by the end of Act 1. Rick hides them, not knowing what he will do with them.
Ilsa comes into the picture. Rick still doesn't know what to do with the letters. Rick still doesn't know what he wants to do with Ilsa at that point.