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Old 08-17-2016, 07:20 AM   #1
Syringe
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Default Sacrifice as a need???

Hey there

Often people talk about want vs need, and how the hero will often sacrifice their want in order to gain their need.

But I'm curious, can gaining the ability to make sacrifices be the need?

I'm developing an idea where a girl pushes away all of her boyfriends because she's never willing to sacrifice her job, home, social life, etc...in order to make those relationships work. Then she meets the ideal guy and all seems good.
However, she gradually comes to understand that making sacrifices is part of any relationship, and ultimately decides to sacrifice her own happiness for his by breaking up with him so that he can pursue his dream. In the end, she'd rather be alone/sad and see him happy rather than get what she wants but knowing he can't chase his dream while in a relationship with her. I hope that makes sense!

So, can learning to sacrifice be a character need? Are there any examples of it being done before?

Thank you

Last edited by Syringe : 08-17-2016 at 07:55 AM.
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Old 08-17-2016, 09:19 AM   #2
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Default Re: Sacrifice as a need???

Reminds me of CASABLANCA: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ElgrXyJ-Huo

He sticks his neck out for nobody and then he does.
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Old 08-17-2016, 11:22 AM   #3
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Default Re: Sacrifice as a need???

fwiw, I think want is external and need is internal. Want moves the plot forward; it's tied with the character goal. Need, on the other hand, is resolved through the secondary plot line(s) and resolved by the end of the story.

For example, in Working Girl, Melanie Griffith's character "Tess" wants more out of life, she wants recognition. What she needs is self-confidence to make it happen.

Now some may argue that Tess' little burst against her boss Lutz and calling him a "pimp dick or something like that" (near the beginning of the film) took self-confidence; but, in fact, I feel like it's an outburst of Tess' frustration not confidence. Tess then finds another job.

At her new job, Tess' boss Katherine looks promising to build up her confidence and accept her ideas. Tess begins to mold herself into Katherine's ideal. Again Tess has no self-confidence.

The turning point is when Tess realizes Katherine is using her to get ahead. Then Tess takes a chance and pushes her own need to be self-confident. She makes plans and she executes those plans and pulls others into her plan. Her confidence is growing.

Then she almost loses it when Katherine "outs" her at a board meeting. But, Tess' final assertion of confidence comes at the elevator when she opens up and tells Jack she loves him and tells the CEO (Trask) how she came up with the idea of a radio broadcast network merger and that she has the smarts to make it happen.

anyway, I hope this helps
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Last edited by asjah8 : 08-17-2016 at 12:02 PM.
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Old 08-17-2016, 12:48 PM   #4
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Default Re: Sacrifice as a need???

Quote:
Originally Posted by Syringe View Post
Hey there

Often people talk about want vs need, and how the hero will often sacrifice their want in order to gain their need.

But I'm curious, can gaining the ability to make sacrifices be the need?

I'm developing an idea where a girl pushes away all of her boyfriends because she's never willing to sacrifice her job, home, social life, etc...in order to make those relationships work. Then she meets the ideal guy and all seems good.
However, she gradually comes to understand that making sacrifices is part of any relationship, and ultimately decides to sacrifice her own happiness for his by breaking up with him so that he can pursue his dream. In the end, she'd rather be alone/sad and see him happy rather than get what she wants but knowing he can't chase his dream while in a relationship with her. I hope that makes sense!

So, can learning to sacrifice be a character need? Are there any examples of it being done before?

Thank you
Apples and oranges. You're on the right track, but (you're) not sure what your story is about yet, IMO. First, you say she's unable to sacrifice her *job* as a major flaw, then you say she rectifies this (flaw) by sacrificing her *realtionship.* And this, after first saying *she had difficulties with relationships* because of her flaw. You've got two ideas battling each other, independent of the dramatic question you're asking. That is the problem.
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Old 08-17-2016, 02:44 PM   #5
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Default Re: Sacrifice as a need???

Quote:
Originally Posted by Syringe View Post
Hey there

Often people talk about want vs need, and how the hero will often sacrifice their want in order to gain their need.

But I'm curious, can gaining the ability to make sacrifices be the need?

I'm developing an idea where a girl pushes away all of her boyfriends because she's never willing to sacrifice her job, home, social life, etc...in order to make those relationships work. Then she meets the ideal guy and all seems good.
However, she gradually comes to understand that making sacrifices is part of any relationship, and ultimately decides to sacrifice her own happiness for his by breaking up with him so that he can pursue his dream. In the end, she'd rather be alone/sad and see him happy rather than get what she wants but knowing he can't chase his dream while in a relationship with her. I hope that makes sense!

So, can learning to sacrifice be a character need? Are there any examples of it being done before?

Thank you
What you're describing, the sacrifice still isn't really the need. The need is to prove himself capable of the relationship his girlfriend wants. Sacrifice is still the an external expression of him achieving that goal.
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Old 08-17-2016, 03:48 PM   #6
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Default Re: Sacrifice as a need???

Thank you so much to all of you, it's exactly the kind of helpful feedback I was hoping to get. I appreciate it.

I'm going to continue working on it until I've got it right.
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Old 08-18-2016, 10:25 AM   #7
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Default Re: Sacrifice as a need???

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What you're describing, the sacrifice still isn't really the need. The need is to prove himself capable of the relationship his girlfriend wants. Sacrifice is still the an external expression of him achieving that goal.
Rewind. A character *need* is usually the lesson a *protagonist* learns or change they make at the revelation in act three. The protagonist. *He* is not the protagonist.
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Old 08-18-2016, 01:00 PM   #8
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Default Re: Sacrifice as a need???

I'm still working and attempting to fix the problems that some of you were able to identify in my idea.

However, I forgot to clarify something with you. The need is the internal "journey" or "quest", yes. So learning the importance and necessity of sacrifice ( through the B Story or subplot) would qualify as a character's need right? (I don't mean in relation to my specific story, just as a general idea).

E.g. Billy desperately WANTS to buy that super rare comic book from that store two towns over.

He decides to break into his sister's piggy bank, steal the money she has in there, and make his way to the store via bus.

But he NEEDS to learn that in life you have to make sacrifices, rather than just keep taking whatever you want in order to be happy.

So, during his journey to the store (the A story), he meets an old man who teaches him the value of sacrifice and helping others (the B Story).

Now, Billy realises what he must do. He'll return home and confess to his sister that he stole her money. He'll give her the money back and pay her double whenever he gets his allowance, which means he's sacrificing his original WANT and his own money. However, he'll be a more considerate and less selfish person because of it which is what he truly NEEDED all along.

Sorry for that bad example but it just kind of came to me. Is that how learning to sacrifice qualifies as a need? Or am I still not understanding correctly?
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Old 08-18-2016, 03:43 PM   #9
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Default Re: Sacrifice as a need???

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However, she gradually comes to understand that making sacrifices is part of any relationship, and ultimately decides to sacrifice her own happiness for his by breaking up with him so that he can pursue his dream. In the end, she'd rather be alone/sad and see him happy rather than get what she wants but knowing he can't chase his dream while in a relationship with her.
What does she gain from this character growth? Sounds like nothing.

Protagonists are usually rewarded for character growth, especially if it's a rom-com situation. They are not usually left "alone/sad in order for someone else to be happy."

Unless it's Titanic or something -- even then, Leo "gained" Rose herself, her love and acceptance.

Think Richard Gere in an Officer and a Gentleman. He WANTS to be an officer. He NEEDS to learn how to be a gentleman as in a capable/responsible man towards women. He eventually gets to be an officer -- but only after he's become a larger, better person -- has experienced character growth -- by being true to Debra Winger instead of using her and tossing her aside like his friend did to his "girlfriend".

Or in The Wedding Planner -- JLo is a control freak wedding planner who herself doesn't have a relationship. She wants the status quo -- just working and not being with anyone, she's more in control that way. Then she meets Matthew McConaughey, and falls for him. We know she Needs him. But the irony is he is set to be married and she's the wedding planner. What does she do -- pursue him or plan his wedding? Since planning the wedding is more in her comfort zone, she chooses that. Until she can't. She has to break out of former self and take the risk and dare to want him. Her character growth pays off. She's happy at the end with him.

Last edited by figment : 08-18-2016 at 04:11 PM.
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Old 08-18-2016, 04:09 PM   #10
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Default Re: Sacrifice as a need???

In my opinion, a sacrifice is an action the protagonist takes in order to fulfill his/her need.

In general (and rules are there to be broken), a protagonist, as you say, WANTS something, so he/she takes an ACTION to achieve that, only to realize that that doesn't satisfy him/her, finding out his/her real NEED, and then he/she takes another ACTION, in this case a sacrifice.

In your story your protagonist wants to be "successful" in life, meaning great social life, work, getting all she wants, etc. Consequences are she fails in all her relationships. Later when she meets this guy, she realizes there are things that are more important in life and things she might not be able to achieve, so then she chooses to sacrifice for the greater good.
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Last edited by 14001 : 08-18-2016 at 04:33 PM.
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