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Old 04-15-2010, 12:52 PM   #11
ihavebiglips
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Default Re: Without a character arc?

I drink your milkshake!

Arcs are not an essential ingredient in drama - just in commercial drama.

Antiheroes often do not arc.

In a classical sense, a comedy is one in which the protagonist is changed by way of epiphany, and a tragedy is one in which his fatal flaw (and inability to change) ultimately leads to his destruction/downfall/demise.

There is also the "traveling stranger" motif in which the protag does not arc but forces an arc in those around him (think William Wallace's effect on Robert the Bruce in BRAVEHEART).
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Old 04-15-2010, 12:53 PM   #12
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Default Re: Without a character arc?

Taken
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Old 04-15-2010, 12:57 PM   #13
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Default Re: Without a character arc?

Quote:
Originally Posted by NoTalentAssClown View Post
Yeah, it just depends on the type of story. Archetypal action heroes don't always have an arc. Indiana Jones, James Bond, etc. But on the other hand, Luke Skywalker has a beautiful arc.


Speaking of westerns, The Man with No Name -- does he ever arc? Doesn't seem so. And he got THREE chances.

But for the most part, I'm always thinking about how characters will change, why they need to, and what the consequences are if they don't.
You can argue that Indy arcs in RAIDERS. He initially refers to the Ark of the Covenant and its supposed powers as "hocus pocus mumbo jumbo" or some such **** when talking to the spooks, but at the end he tells Marion to close her eyes and look away and he does the same - he has come to believe in its power.

Now, setting TEMPLE OF DOOM earlier than RAIDERS was retarded because it circumvented this arc since he would already have encountered supernatural elements in his adventures and therefore had no reason to be a skeptic with the spooks at a later date.
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Old 04-15-2010, 01:36 PM   #14
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Default Re: Without a character arc?

Quote:
Originally Posted by NoTalentAssClown View Post


Speaking of westerns, The Man with No Name -- does he ever arc? Doesn't seem so. And he got THREE chances.
I consider Once Upon A Time in the West as the 4th installment of that trilogy. Which would make it a four'ogy. Clint was supposed to star in it.

Taken kinda fits into this template I was talking about -- man driven by a single goal.
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Old 04-15-2010, 01:49 PM   #15
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Default Re: Without a character arc?

There's a great interview by a famous screenwriter who talks about how ridiculous it is for everybody (i.e. studio execs) to expect a character to change in a story that is NOT ABOUT CHANGE. He was very adamant on that. He kept repeating that there are stories that are about people changing and there are stories that aren't. I don't know what I did with that link though.

When in doubt, just have your hero wrinkle his brow after he blows something up, people will think it reflects deep inner change and everybody will be happy
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Old 04-15-2010, 03:16 PM   #16
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Default Re: Without a character arc?

Read Keith's article - it is great.

I prefer to think of this stuff as "emotional conflict" rather than Character Arc, becuase that covers more ground. The reason for an emotional conflict is because it makes a character human and allows the audience to identify with them. It's a doorway into the character for the audience. That character doesn't need to arc, but they need to deal with some emotional conflict that makes them more than a cardboard cutout the writer is moving through the plot.

I think the main "rule" in screenwriting is to do everything on purpose. So if your character does not have a character arc - that's because this particular story will only work if they do not have a character arc... not because you are a lazy writer or a bad writer and just didn't make the protag human. Anything you do in a screenplay must be on purpose - you did it for a specific reason that you can articulate... when you get into that development meeting and they ask why there's no character arc.

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Old 04-15-2010, 04:41 PM   #17
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Default Re: Without a character arc?

Yeah, what Martell just said. I just watched Live Free or Die Hard, and it is a perfect example of this. McLane's daughter and the hacker Farrel both have arcs while McLane is steadfast in going after his goal, while at the same time experiencing an emotional crisis.

Did I get it right, Bill?
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Old 04-15-2010, 05:40 PM   #18
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Default Re: Without a character arc?

That's a good example, Bill.

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Old 04-15-2010, 06:20 PM   #19
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Default Re: Without a character arc?

Last year, I put together a video showcasing Main Characters who do not change, i.e. they don't have the conventional "character arc" as prescribed my McKee and others. I think the key is understanding the difference between characters who grow and characters who change. They should definitely grow, but they can grow by digging their heels in even further.

I like Bill's thought - you can do whatever you want, as long as there is a purpose to it.
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Old 04-15-2010, 06:40 PM   #20
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Default Re: Without a character arc?

There are plenty of movies where the whole purpose of the story is to show that the protag has a bunch of chances to turn their life around and does not - we call them tragedies.

There are also movies like in Keith's article where the protagonist is the constant to show the changes around them, or the protag is an unstoppable force or an immovable object - and that creates the conflict. These things are done on purpose as part of the story. And, as in Keith's article - these protags need to be awesome and amazing and charismatic.

If you do it, you do it for a reason.

If you tell your story backwards, you do it for a reason.

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