following the characters



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  • following the characters


    Now here's the situation: two men (let's call them MAN 1 and MAN 2) must have a very important meeting between themselves.
    MAN 1 is there in time, but MAN 2 do not make it. MAN 2's disappearing is a result of chain of interesting events, which weren't controllable by MAN 2, but MAN 1 do not know it and thinks that MAN 2 let him down.

    Then, MAN 1 will continue his journey towards the goal and becomes main character, and eventually meets MAN 2 (who was very passive during the second act) at the end. Then it becomes clear for MAN 1, why MAN 2 didn't attend to the meeting at the beginning.

    My question is: how should I show characters in my screenplay?
    1) Viewer/reader follows MAN 1 all the time and in the end, we see why MAN 2 didn't reach to the meeting
    2) Switching between MAN 1 and MAN 2 at the beginning, so the viewer/reader has a clear picture of what is happening and WHY MAN 2 didn't reach to the meeting
    3) Giving little hints about MAN 2's destiny, maybe when there's a calmer moment in MAN 1's journey. (using flashbacks, or maybe showing those through the eyes of witness of these events).

    Also I don't know, does the MAN 2's chain of interesting events will lose its punch when I show them in the end (probably the ending is too long when using this method). I think it's all about when I should reveal important details to viewer/reader.

    Quite complicated question, if it's too messy, I'll be glad to do a little more explaining to you

    Thank you,

    Manki B
    Last edited by Mankiboi; 11-30-2005, 03:10 PM.

  • #2
    Re: following the characters

    I'd go for 2) and show the interesting events as they happen, swapping between Man #1 and Man #2 as necessary. The other options sound less interesting. Man #1 sounds less interesting.

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    • #3
      Re: following the characters

      It's difficult to say unless we can guage the gravity and significance of these incidents (the MAN 1 thinking MAN 2 let him down). What is the payoff at the end for when MAN 1 discovers the truth? Does the core of story revolve around the MAN 2 not "making it there in time" incident? It also depends on what kind of story you are telling...

      Option 1 creates that air of mystery - questions and answers techniques. The question being why didn't MAN 2 turn up. The answer being the truth when the two finally meet. You should do this if the event is an inciting incident to your story.

      Option 2 presents a different kind of story to the audience. The audience will know something that the protagonist doesn't know. The problem may be that the audience will get sick of watching MAN 1 fumble around for the truth. Thus, I wouldn't recommend this option if your the story revolved around your aforementioned incident. However, if this event happens to be of seemingly smaller significance at the start but then becomes of greater significance at the end when the truth comes out, then you've implemented a set-up and payoff technique. A sort of "huh?" followed by a "ahh..."

      Option 3, to me, that the significance of MAN 2 is a mere subplot. Again, if you slowly reveal the truth, then you're really setting up an eventual payoff. IMO, I would use this if your incident has a thematically significance to your character's development e.g. Signs.

      Just my suggestions