An interesting problem



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  • An interesting problem

    I found myself in an interesting dilemma regarding one of my projects. The second half of the movie is essentially a hunt for buried treasure in space, except I made a solemn vow that there would be no aliens in the film, and since the characters are the only ones out there, there's no antagonist. I'm trying to figure it out and it's actually quite interesting, I'll be really surprised to see how I make it out of this hole, but I was wondering if any of you guys have similar experiences with your projects and how you work to fit that... I was thinking of making index cards with each thing I know has to happen (as I've always seen it) and then spreading that out with tasks and sub-goals... even though I don't know what those will be yet.

    I'm really anxious to finish this script (it'll be my "third" serious script and I vowed to myself I wouldn't touch an older script I wrote until I finished this one. That first script (Suit Girl) is really off-kilter (which could be seen as just bad writing, I fear) and I want to build a new base for it so I can keep track of the characters movement and then graft everything back onto so the character motivations are less murky. I really want to do that so I have to get this other script done first.

    So any interesting ways you guys have to solve problems, please tell.


  • #2
    Re: An interesting problem

    One way out of it would be for the heroes to be plagued with problems and setbacks. If the crew starts to suspect that one of them is a saboteur, then you have an antagonist - just an unknown one.

    If you can't cope without any kind of communication from the antagonist, then you could have the hero find find taunting messages, etc.

    Just don't make it too obvious at the end when you reveal the bad guy.
    (One way around it is to use the technique that Agatha Christie used in 'And then there was One'. The murderer turned out to be the first or second Victim - who faked his own death.)

    But as for a problem solving process, if I'm stuck I usually try and write down the problem and think about what I can radically change.

    eg: Problem: Two friends. BILL & BOB. BILL has no reason to believe BOB when he says that monsters are attacking.

    Possible solutions:
    (1) Add heaps more backstory to explain why BILL is so trusting of BOB.
    (2) Make BILL a totally unsympathetic loser who believes anything.

    However, if I change a few things, then I have more solutions :
    (3) Change BILL to be 'KATY' - BOB'S 6 year old daughter.
    (4) Make BILL a wheelchair-bound, severely brain damaged man - Bob's 60 year old father.

    Once you make one change you'll see how it can fill in holes elsewhere (eg: Carrying his father in a wheelchair up the stairs explains why a normally fit man has trouble outrunning zombies)

    Basically I just change genders, ages, relationships (Boss/Daughter, Husband/Wife etc), locations, backgrounds, occupations, props etc until a solution presents itself...

    Last edited by Mac H.; 11-07-2005, 06:53 PM.
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    • #3
      Re: An interesting problem

      neunann, have you by any chance watched the recent project greenlight on bravo?



      • #4
        Re: An interesting problem

        I have not, actually, though I did work as a script-reader the first season.

        Anyway, personal problems are not the issue, the characters have tons of those, in fact, that's the only reason I'm writing it... this index card thing is working great, though... ideas just start flowing.



        • #5
          Re: An interesting problem

          What about finding some opponents in the hunt for the "buried treasure in space"?



          • #6
            Re: An interesting problem

            Originally posted by Neumann
            ...and since the characters are the only ones out there, there's no antagonist.
            There should always be an antagonist. If not a person/alien, then an abstract force, such as time. Ex: They have to find the treasure within 24 hours or else X will happen.

            You need to know WHY they have to find the treasure - which you might already know, but reading your comments, I have no idea. So what are the stakes? Is it to sell the treasure to pay off a smuggling debt (like Han Solo needs to do)? Is finding the treasure a personal stake? If someone else finds it first, will bad things happen (like in 5th Element)? What?

            Once you find out the reason why they need to find this treasure, you've got your antagonist.