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

Closed Thread
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 01-20-2012, 12:25 AM   #141
wcmartell
Member
 
wcmartell's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: studio city
Posts: 5,959
Default Re: Plot Point 2

If you know it's a plot point, and know you need to hide it - that's planning ahead of writing.

My theory is - the more you plan, the better you can make things look unplanned. When you write off the top of your head - I can often see the gears turning because I am watching you make it up. Not like a magician who performs magic because he knows exactly how the illusion works and has practiced it a million times so that the "trick" is invisible and all you see is the magic. If you haven't planned it, I'm watching you fumble around for the damned rabbit in the hat. How the hell does it come out of there?

But - all that matters are results. If you can wing it and make it work, great.

PS: Because my first produced script was 4 years before Syd Field's book - I learned how to write scripts by reading them and reading interviews with writers and directors... and the writers in those interviews saw the three act structure as a *creative tool*. I think the idea that it's a critical tool used after a script is written is a backlash against Field (etc). All of those great Hollywood films made before 1984 were *created* using the three act structure and all of that other stuff everyone rebels against today.

- Bill
__________________
Free Script Tips:
http://www.scriptsecrets.net
wcmartell is offline  
Old 01-20-2012, 02:18 AM   #142
Craig Mazin
Regular
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 1,141
Default Re: Plot Point 2

No one's saying you shouldn't know your plot. You should. I believe in outlining and "knowing where you're going."

But there's a massive difference between "knowing your story" and "there must be a plot event of a particular type and function at this specific point in the story."

You guys who cling to these things... you're like castaways bobbing around in the ocean, hanging on to that piece of driftwood. PLOT POINT 2!!! That will make this script function!

No.

It won't.

You don't think every single piece of crap I get sent to rewrite has "plot point 2" in it? You don't think they all have a "low point" and a "refusal of the call" and a hundred other tropes?

These things are tools, not solutions.

I will tell you this: if you talk about screenwriting to producers, actors, directors or executives the way some of you talk about it in here, you will get laughed out of the room.
Craig Mazin is offline  
Old 01-20-2012, 03:33 AM   #143
MrZero
User
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 193
Default Re: Plot Point 2

I have to agree with Bill. What I don't get is why so many people seem to think that outlining is somehow anti-creative. To me, writing without an outline or advance planning is anti-creative.

Outlining allows me to invent the story in a non-linear, right-brained way. I create these odd little diagrams with arrows pointing this way and that way, jotting down ideas and pieces of dialogue in random order. It's all wonderfully messy and incoherent. After I screw around like this awhile, then I can start trying to get it all to make sense.

I just find that things go better when I separate the process into stages: first, I look at the story in a bird's-eye view (outline), then I work out the little details (script).

If I write without an outline, I keep tripping over myself. The creative side of my brain keeps clashing with the ultra-logical OCD-ish side that says things like, "Where's all this going?" and "You need a comma there, jerk." I end up trying to do too much all at once.
MrZero is offline  
Old 01-20-2012, 03:38 AM   #144
MrZero
User
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 193
Default Re: Plot Point 2

Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Mazin View Post
You don't think every single piece of crap I get sent to rewrite has "plot point 2" in it? You don't think they all have a "low point" and a "refusal of the call" and a hundred other tropes?
If all these pieces of crap are sold specs--i.e., scripts that have attracted interest--then you may have just accidentally scored a point for the other side. Just a thought.
MrZero is offline  
Old 01-20-2012, 03:43 AM   #145
Craig Mazin
Regular
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 1,141
Default Re: Plot Point 2

If all you want to do is sell one script and disappear, then yes. Guilty as charged.
Craig Mazin is offline  
Old 01-20-2012, 07:51 AM   #146
sc111
Member
 
sc111's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 7,904
Default Re: Plot Point 2

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrZero View Post
I have to agree with Bill. What I don't get is why so many people seem to think that outlining is somehow anti-creative. To me, writing without an outline or advance planning is anti-creative.
I don't think anyone is saying don't outline. The discussion evolved from the original post which posed this question:

Quote:
Originally Posted by ricther View Post
My question is does plot point 2 have to be a low point where all hope is lost? .
The idea that a plot point "has to" be X or Y is straight out of the guru books. It's limiting in my opinion. Yes, you need to know your plot. Yes, your plot moves the story forward. But the idea that there are ironclad rules about what those plot points must be is misleading. There have been discussions here of iconic films in which several talented people couldn't agree on what event served as the midpoint or what event constituted the catalyst. Someone upthread stated, in Baby Boom, the end of act 1 was the lead's move to the country when that's actually the midpoint. Why is that?

When we follow those guru rules it can, in my experience, dictate story and inhibit possibilities.
__________________
Advice from writer, Kelly Sue DeConnick. “Try this: if you can replace your female character with a sexy lamp and the story still basically works, maybe you need another draft.”
sc111 is offline  
Old 01-20-2012, 08:37 AM   #147
altoption
Member
 
altoption's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 727
Default Re: Plot Point 2

Quote:
Originally Posted by christopher jon View Post
Billy Wilders 10 screenwriting tips...
The audience is fickle.

Grab ‘em by the throat and never let ‘em go.

Develop a clean line of action for your leading character.

Know where you’re going.

The more subtle and elegant you are in hiding your plot points, the better you are as a writer.

If you have a problem with the third act, the real problem is in the first act.

A tip from Lubitsch: Let the audience add up two plus two. They’ll love you forever.

In doing voice-overs, be careful not to describe what the audience already sees. Add to what they’re seeing.

The event that occurs at the second act curtain triggers the end of the movie.

The third act must build, build, build in tempo and action until the last event, and then—that’s it. Don’t hang around.
The argument around here lately seems to be that any talk of how stories are constructed is bunk. That all you need to do is follow your intuition. It's clear from the above that Billy Wilder had a clear understanding of structure. That he knew exactly how a story works. He was a craftsman.

The best writers fly by the seat of the pants when they're trying to create, but they're also able to put on their analytic hats when it serves their purpose. Without all that "no rules" crap.
altoption is offline  
Old 01-20-2012, 09:04 AM   #148
omovie
Member
 
omovie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 516
Default Re: Plot Point 2

I really don't think anyone was saying that you don't have to know about construction or structure or that all you have to do is rely on intuition (which I don't necessarily think is a bad thing). Screenplays are all about construction. But I just think that there are hundreds if not thousands of decisions, both conscious and unconscious that you're making while creating a screenplay. And I think that, when you're in trouble, intuition will guide you in a way that some structural paradigm will not, and probably cannot. There's just too much to navigate. That's why I think Intuition is all you really have.

I think this whole conversation is basically funneling it's way down to what Koppelman and others have been saying here all along. "Calculate Less."
omovie is offline  
Old 01-20-2012, 09:11 AM   #149
JeffLowell
Member
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 3,023
Default Re: Plot Point 2

Quote:
Originally Posted by altoption View Post
The argument around here lately seems to be that any talk of how stories are constructed is bunk. That all you need to do is follow your intuition.
Haven't heard one person say that.

Quote:
The best writers fly by the seat of the pants when they're trying to create, but they're also able to put on their analytic hats when it serves their purpose. Without all that "no rules" crap.
Having a good understanding of structure (which I believe that the overwhelming percentage of pros do) doesn't mean that you believe there are "rules" about how and when to apply it.

"No rules" is a really good thought to keep in one's head when sitting down to create something.

IMO, the people who teach or quote rules are trying to find a writing paradigm that is a fail proof replacement for a lack of skill. It doesn't exist.
JeffLowell is offline  
Old 01-20-2012, 09:30 AM   #150
altoption
Member
 
altoption's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 727
Default Re: Plot Point 2

Quote:
Originally Posted by omovie View Post
I really don't think anyone was saying that you don't have to know about construction or structure or that all you have to do is rely on intuition (which I don't necessarily think is a bad thing). Screenplays are all about construction. But I just think that there are hundreds if not thousands of decisions, both conscious and unconscious that you're making while creating a screenplay. And I think that, when you're in trouble, intuition will guide you in a way that some structural paradigm will not, and probably cannot. There's just too much to navigate. That's why I think Intuition is all you really have.

I think this whole conversation is basically funneling it's way down to what Koppelman and others have been saying here all along. "Calculate Less."
So, your advice to Wilder when he's developing his character's line of action is to calculate less? You say "Screenplays are about construction," then you contradict yourself by saying intuition is all you have. My point is that the best writers, like Wilder, do both. They do the dance between right brain/left brain.

Understanding structure is valuable, but you need to know how to get it the hell out of the way so it doesn't fvck up the creative process. That's different than saying calculate less.
altoption is offline  
Closed Thread


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 11:33 PM.


Powered by vBulletin Version 3.6.2
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Done Deal Pro

eXTReMe Tracker