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Old 09-30-2018, 12:41 PM   #1
socalwriter1
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Default The Opening - Problem vs. Opportunity

I've been reading this since forever:
In the opening, show the protag’s everyday life and then throw a problem at them that changes everything.

Instead of a "problem," can we present an "opportunity" instead?
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Old 09-30-2018, 02:48 PM   #2
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Default Re: The Opening - Problem vs. Opportunity

As long as there are stakes with your story's potatoes. Trading Places has that “opportunity” type of premise, so if your screenplay is a comedy, it ought to work if it has a well-executed plot.

Stakes = something to lose, the “or else” from the DDPro thread “How To Write A Logline,” where a logline is the distilled essence of the story throughline of your screenplay.

(title) is a (genre) about (protagonist--one guy, no proper names) who must (goal) or else (disaster that will happen if he doesn't succeed).

Last edited by TigerFang : 12-22-2018 at 08:08 PM.
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Old 09-30-2018, 03:05 PM   #3
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Default Re: The Opening - Problem vs. Opportunity

Quote:
Originally Posted by socalwriter1 View Post
Instead of a "problem," can we present an "opportunity" instead?
Usually there won't be as much drama in an opportunity as there will be in problem (as in a "life changing" problem).
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Old 09-30-2018, 09:04 PM   #4
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Default Re: The Opening - Problem vs. Opportunity

An opportunity in itself can create problems. There are movies that start with the protag seizing an opportunity that leads to challenges and obstacles.

It's the old adage: get your protag up a tree then throw rocks at him/her. You can get your protag up a tree with an opportunity.
The Firm comes immediately to mind.
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Old 09-30-2018, 10:46 PM   #5
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Default Re: The Opening - Problem vs. Opportunity

Quote:
Originally Posted by socalwriter1 View Post
Instead of a "problem," can we present an "opportunity" instead?

A lot of movies open with opportunities that create problems.


If it works, it works.
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Old 10-01-2018, 09:50 AM   #6
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Default Re: The Opening - Problem vs. Opportunity

Yes, if it appears to be a good opportunity but ends up creating havoc, it can become what's called a "Be careful what you wish for" story.
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Old 10-01-2018, 10:46 AM   #7
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Default Re: The Opening - Problem vs. Opportunity

It's a movie, so we'll all know that the 'opportunity' is really problems pending.

Don't a lot of horrors begin with 'opportunities'?

Oh, aren't we the lucky ones - we've found out how to get to 'The Beach'.

And Alex Garland's 'Ex Machina' also begins with a lucky break for the protagonist.
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Last edited by Crayon : 10-01-2018 at 10:57 AM.
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Old 10-01-2018, 11:03 AM   #8
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Default Re: The Opening - Problem vs. Opportunity

Thanks everyone. This is what I needed to get my brain thinking.
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Old 10-01-2018, 01:59 PM   #9
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Default Re: The Opening - Problem vs. Opportunity

Quote:
Originally Posted by socalwriter1 View Post
I've been reading this since forever:
In the opening, show the protag’s everyday life and then throw a problem at them that changes everything.

Instead of a "problem," can we present an "opportunity" instead?
Maybe a better description instead of "problem" would be "inciting event" and it could be a simple thing like the protagonist making a decision or being acted upon in some way, even if in a positive manner.
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Old 10-18-2018, 12:50 PM   #10
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Default Re: The Opening - Problem vs. Opportunity

Quote:
Originally Posted by socalwriter1 View Post
I've been reading this since forever:
In the opening, show the protag’s everyday life and then throw a problem at them that changes everything.

Instead of a "problem," can we present an "opportunity" instead?

The problem sets the character on a journey/quest out of the everyday life. An opportunity does the same thing. There are lots of ways to do it.
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