Click here for Done Deal Pro home page
Done Deal Pro Home Page

Loading

Go Back   Done Deal Pro Forums > About the Craft > Screenwriting
Register FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 05-14-2011, 12:18 AM   #11
FADE IN
Member
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 487
Default Re: Passively Accepting the Journey? (Structure)

Quote:
Originally Posted by TwoBrad Bradley View Post
Since Acts are not identified in a spec screenplay it doesn't really matter.
They're identified emotionally.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TwoBrad Bradley View Post
Some readers are going to put the end of Act 1 at the point where the hero accepts the journey to follow the group to their hide out.

Other readers are going to put the end of Act 1 at the point where he agrees to help them.

There are no rules that say how long Act 1 has to be and what it MUST and MUST NOT include. Just make the story entertaining and engaging.
There are no rules but there are principles.

The things the OP writer is grappling with are involved in "making it entertaining and engaging," that's what he's trying to achieve. If those emotional beats don't occur within the general and long established critical path for three-act plays, the efficasy of his entertainment value will be degraded, and it won't be as engaging as it might otherwise be.

Vogler goes to the trouble in "Writer's Journey" to break down a half dozen big box office pictures and show how these beats occur in them as per the hero story paradigm, "Titanic," "The Lion King," "Pulp Fiction," "The Full Monty," and the "Star Wars" saga.

He says, "I hope these will demonstrate some of the ways that the mythic principles continue to be explored in modern entertainment."

Mythic principles.

It's one thing to say "Just make it entertaining and engaging," it's another to discuss how that lofty goal is achieved, which is bound up with those mythic principles.

Cheers!
FADE IN is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-14-2011, 11:55 AM   #12
Ronaldinho
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 2,288
Default Re: Passively Accepting the Journey? (Structure)

Quote:
Originally Posted by FADE IN View Post

It's one thing to say "Just make it entertaining and engaging," it's another to discuss how that lofty goal is achieved, which is bound up with those mythic principles.
I'm really not a fan of Vogler, but -

At some point, the light bulb clicks and you just start to see how all these pieces fit together.

I totally get the "there are no rules" attitude - but I have to balance that with the fact that every movie I see, and every good script I write, has a story that's clearly moving in a certain direction by a certain time.

I suspect that most successful working pros are capable of seeing those beats, and feeling the act shift. Now, some of them are going to be like Blake Snyder: "It has to happen on page 25" and some of them aren't, but you consistently have a clear dramatic turn.

And when somebody says there are no rules, I want to agree with them - but at the same time, I see this pattern that keeps showing up. It may not be the only pattern. The pattern may be an artifact of the intersection of how movies work with how my mind approaches them. But wow, I can't think of a 2-hour-ish movie where the main story doesn't get going until page 40 or so.

I think part of the problem is, however, that as a writer who "sees the Matrix" and gets how stories work, you're often dealing with people who don't, who approach it more like a checklist. And that can be frustrating, although it's not wrong - (eg, I felt like American Pie had a hugely clunky, checklisty act break, but it clearly worked, no?) In fact, I think a lot of writers (self included) get into trouble because we're sensitive enough to the underlying fabric of the story that we don't give clear enough markers to the people who are just enjoying the nice embroidery.
Ronaldinho is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-14-2011, 01:46 PM   #13
FADE IN
Member
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 487
Default Re: Passively Accepting the Journey? (Structure)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronaldinho View Post
I'm really not a fan of Vogler, but -

At some point, the light bulb clicks and you just start to see how all these pieces fit together.

I totally get the "there are no rules" attitude - but I have to balance that with the fact that every movie I see, and every good script I write, has a story that's clearly moving in a certain direction by a certain time.

I suspect that most successful working pros are capable of seeing those beats, and feeling the act shift. Now, some of them are going to be like Blake Snyder: "It has to happen on page 25" and some of them aren't, but you consistently have a clear dramatic turn.

And when somebody says there are no rules, I want to agree with them - but at the same time, I see this pattern that keeps showing up. It may not be the only pattern. The pattern may be an artifact of the intersection of how movies work with how my mind approaches them. But wow, I can't think of a 2-hour-ish movie where the main story doesn't get going until page 40 or so.

I think part of the problem is, however, that as a writer who "sees the Matrix" and gets how stories work, you're often dealing with people who don't, who approach it more like a checklist. And that can be frustrating, although it's not wrong - (eg, I felt like American Pie had a hugely clunky, checklisty act break, but it clearly worked, no?) In fact, I think a lot of writers (self included) get into trouble because we're sensitive enough to the underlying fabric of the story that we don't give clear enough markers to the people who are just enjoying the nice embroidery.
Yep, yep, and yep.

When I launch into a first draft my mind goes blank on everything in the world ... except my story, and I charge to the end using intuition and the story crafting I've done to that point (which can be a rather significant chunk of work or mind time). I don't think about anything except what my characters are doing and making sure that things keep moving toward the ending.

It's only after that first draft is done that I go cerebral and look at things analytically and evaluate things intellectually as per the three-act paradigm and what we know about it from having studied it for years and the myriad aspects of drama that we've learned from guys like Egri or even Linda Seger for that matter or Vogler or all the stuff that Terry Rossio has provided in his columns over at Wordplayer, not to mention every screenplay we've ever read.

And even then I don't beat my script to death over this stuff. I always read as though I'm sitting in a theater watching the movie, and if someting doesn't work from that headpace, it's going to get attention and probably be revised.

I wrote a War II epic once (I advise people to only do this once!) and its first draft was 146 pages and the story hadn't gotten underway until page 45. I almost gave up at that point. But I was so into this particular story, which is one that's never been told in film or in book form, I found myself unable to just walk away from it and so set about to get it pared down and speeded up, a chore that at first I didn't think was even possible.

But six months later I had it in 113 pages with a definitive start to Act 2 on page 36, still not coming as quickly as I'd have preferred but it seemed to work without dragging so I left it that way (and couldn't find a way to move it up anyway).

I like to think there's a keen admixture of cognitive analysis and intutive jamming that goes into this stuff. In the beginning it was almost exclusively intuitive for me, but over time and with ongoing reading and studying, the cognitive side has made gains ... until today my process involves an admixture of both, but each in its own time and place.

I've always hated painting by numbers and I've never been into writing by formula or precise models of timelines, but I do respect the fact that storytelling is an ancient human enterprise that demands a certain order of things, even including the idea that we start at the beginning and end at the ending.

We can't tell a guy like our OP writer exactly what he needs to do, he has to figure that out himself. But I do think a discussion of his issues can help him find his way to the solutions he seeks. And that discussion will by its nature involve the mythic principles that are relevant to his concerns.

Cheers!
FADE IN is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-15-2011, 12:05 PM   #14
reddery
Member
 
reddery's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Venice Beach Adjacent
Posts: 908
Default Re: Passively Accepting the Journey? (Structure)

anything can work.

structure will always be there and when the script doesn't work - that would be the first place I would look at - what's missing in the structure.

But, I think the real answer you're looking for isn't that...

you need to find the real core of your character, internal needs and desires.

if his needs are to be accepted, then place him in a situation where the world doesn't accept him, e.g. Wanted, Disturbia... etc

then it becomes, what should be the Inciting Incident?

Wanted(screenplay), it's Wesley choice to believe that Cross killed his father.

Inception, it's when he make's a choice not to tell his children that their mother is dead(, and probably why she died). {to the inner need or flaw, his inability to face reality, mirrored in her}
__________________
But this wily god never discloses even to the skillful questioner the whole content of his wisdom.
reddery is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-15-2011, 12:43 PM   #15
TwoBrad Bradley
Member
 
TwoBrad Bradley's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 2,018
Default Re: Passively Accepting the Journey? (Structure)

Quote:
Originally Posted by FADE IN View Post
... It's one thing to say "Just make it entertaining and engaging," it's another to discuss how that lofty goal is achieved, which is bound up with those mythic principles.
Remove everything that is not entertaining and not engaging.

In those successful movies you listed, it's not that those elements happened at a specific place or in a specific order. It's that they happened at all and they were entertaining and engaging. And all the stuff in-between was entertaining and engaging (that probably can be debated on a case-by-case basis).

I refer back to the "principles" when I'm trying to figure out why something is not working.

Who's to say that if something is working that you can't do that?
__________________
"I am the story itself; its source, its voice, its music."
- Clive Barker, Galilee
TwoBrad Bradley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-15-2011, 01:55 PM   #16
Laura Reyna
Member
 
Laura Reyna's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: California coast
Posts: 1,782
Default Re: Passively Accepting the Journey? (Structure)

In a mainstream HW movie there are certain events-- "plot points" or "beats"-- that happen early on in the movie.

1) The Protag is introduced in his/her ordinary world.
2) A problem is presented that disrupts this ordinary world.
3) The protag decides (or is forced) to solve the problem or pursue a goal.

Collectively, these events are called "the set up" or the 1st Act.

Although there is no set rule as when these events take place, they occur before the 30 minute mark. More recent movies have the set up completed even sooner.

Some movies have these early events coming one on top of the other, some have them spread apart. Some movies have a long set up, some movies have a short set up. The trend nowadays is to have a very short set up, esp in certain genres like comedy.

Some movies dispense with the "ordinary world" part of it and open with the protag in the middle of dealing with a big problem (in medias res).

If you watch a lot of movies and pay attention, you'll see there are various ways to set up a movie that work.

As long as you set up the story to your satisfaction, and the protag is on his/her way to solving their problem by around page 25, I think you're fine.
__________________

"Trust your stuff." -- Dave Righetti, Pitching Coach

( Formerly "stvnlra" )

Last edited by Laura Reyna : 08-12-2011 at 11:20 AM. Reason: correcting my Latin
Laura Reyna is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-15-2011, 02:53 PM   #17
jcgary
Member
 
jcgary's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 1,192
Default Re: Passively Accepting the Journey? (Structure)

I'm not going to wade into this, but:

I can safely say without reading a single word of your script that you should make everything happen sooner. I'm quite positive that you're taking too much time in the first 25 pages.

Get to the mothereffing point.
jcgary is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-15-2011, 03:08 PM   #18
FADE IN
Member
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 487
Default Re: Passively Accepting the Journey? (Structure)

Quote:
Originally Posted by TwoBrad Bradley View Post
Remove everything that is not entertaining and not engaging.
Judgemenmt calls left and right. But I agree.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TwoBrad Bradley View Post
In those successful movies you listed, it's not that those elements happened at a specific place or in a specific order. It's that they happened at all and they were entertaining and engaging. And all the stuff in-between was entertaining and engaging (that probably can be debated on a case-by-case basis).
I think their order of occurence is critical. First we have to see the dude in his normal world; then we have to see that world challenged in some fashion that carries high stakes; then we have to see him being reluctant; then we have to see him become fully motivated so that he launches into action and goes for it.

There is human logic to this order.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TwoBrad Bradley View Post
I refer back to the "principles" when I'm trying to figure out why something is not working.
Isn't this exactly where our OP writer is? He's unsure if what he's got is working, so he's trying to figure out why. To assist him in that analysis some of us broached the idea of him checking to see if he had his mythic principles in place and had them generally in the right order.

He did seem to be a bit confused about the difference between a hero being reluctant and a hero who finally becomes fully motivated and decides he's gonna go for it.

It'd be nice to hear back from him and see how he's doing with it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TwoBrad Bradley View Post
Who's to say that if something is working that you can't do that?
Exactly nobody. If it works, it stays, regardless of any other consideration. It may not accord fully with any and all paradigms, but if it works, it stays, and if it works realy smashingly, you may win an Oscar, principles be damned.

In other words, the principles only provide guidance. The rest is up to us.
FADE IN is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 12:19 PM.


Powered by vBulletin Version 3.6.2
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Done Deal Pro

eXTReMe Tracker