A question for those that have read "Making a good script great"

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  • A question for those that have read "Making a good script great"

    Last edited by tomasz1985; 12-02-2005, 08:02 AM.
    - Tomas

  • #2
    Re: A question for those that have read "Making a good script great"

    You have to know your character inside out so that when it comes time for him to act, the decision he makes will be true to his character.

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    • #3
      Re: A question for those that have read "Making a good script great"

      haven't read her in a while, but it seems like it has to do with this:

      The audience sees X do Y. For them to know why X does Y, you the writer have to first know yourself exactly why X does Y and then find a way to lead your audience to understand X enough to know, when it happens, why X did Y.

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      • #4
        Re: A question for those that have read "Making a good script great"

        Originally posted by Joe Unidos
        haven't read her in a while, but it seems like it has to do with this:

        The audience sees X do Y. For them to know why X does Y, you the writer have to first know yourself exactly why X does Y and then find a way to lead your audience to understand X enough to know, when it happens, why X did Y.

        - Tomas

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        • #5
          Re: A question for those that have read "Making a good script great"

          Re John Book - It has has nothing to do with the 'act' of deciding. It is that we understand why he did nothing. The action he took [or didn't in this case] was believable because of what we already knew about the character.
          http://wasitsomethingiwrote.blogspot.com/

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          • #6
            Re: A question for those that have read "Making a good script great"

            To follow up in agreeing with ED, it's the "find a way to lead your audience to understand X enough to know, when it happens, why X did Y" that most of us don't even realize that we don't know how to do.

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            • #7
              Re: A question for those that have read "Making a good script great"



              What your character does and does not do reveals who that character is. It's up to you to know your character well enough to make that descision.

              John picks up the old woman's wallet as she turns her back, quickly shoves it in his pocket and races out the door. (Greedy John)

              John picks up the old woman's wallet as she turns her back. He gazes at the plate of cookies on the coffee table, puts the wallet back and grabs a few cookies instead. ( John with morals)

              John picks up the old woman's wallet as she turns her back. He gazes at the plate of cookies...the woman...the door, then slides the wallet in his pocket and slinks out quietly. (sneaky John)

              Action shows us what your character is thinking. Showing your character hesitate or not hesitate reveals character. What he does and does not do reveals character. Everything your character does, reveals character.

              Who is your character, is he greedy John, moral John, or sneaky John, or maybe another John all together. You decide who your character is and create the action that will hold true to his character.

              Steph
              "Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." --T.S. Eliot

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              • #8
                Re: A question for those that have read "Making a good script great"

                From this post and your examples below (Sideways, Witness, etc), I think you are confusing what you see on screen with what you do not see on screen. That line from Linda is not in reference to what you must see on screen.

                She is talking about you, as the writer, understanding why a character will make a decision. If you know why a character is going to decide to do something, then the act of showing that something on screen will be more 'real' to the character. She is not talking about showing the audience the process of deciding to act.

                You must know why your characters do what they do on screen. This does not mean that we, as your audience, are going to see your characters make those decisions on screen.
                Don't repeat it; create it.

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                • #9
                  Re: A question for those that have read "Making a good script great"

                  Man sees woman in bar. Man has drink on the bar in front of him. Woman dances with another man. Man watches woman dancing. Man drinks his drink while watching, but (not meaning to be vulgar) holds the glass to his lips and licks the glass. Maybe tongues a piece of ice. Obviously, the glass is now some proxy for the woman. He's making love to the glass at the moment he's decided to make love to the woman.


                  Backstory is, he's married to a beautiful woman, and he has a cute little son waiting for him at home.

                  How wrong am I?

                  Is this character-driven, or plot-driven?

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                  • #10
                    Re: A question for those that have read "Making a good script great"

                    I think Steph's post perfectly illustrates what Linda Seger is talking about.
                    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.-

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                    • #11
                      Re: A question for those that have read "Making a good script great"

                      I've never been a huge fan of Seger's books. But that's just me.

                      Now back to your regularly scheduled thread.
                      I'm baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!

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                      • #12
                        Re: A question for those that have read "Making a good script great"

                        It is for your benefit to know your character as oppose to for the audience. You have to be convinced by your character.
                        It must be hard to think how to ACT when it doesn't come natural to you.The more you know your character the more it shows as you write him or her. Simply implanting certain actions that symbolizes a common trait isn't eough to have give depth to a character. Somedays you can be good, some days bad, you might act one way but another the next day.

                        I think its being consistent on your inconsistency and habits of the character that ultimately will give us an idea on how he "decides" on "doing" one thing or the other.
                        Set up and pay offs are cool too, don't get me wrong. But when you use it in a subtle way which will imitate reality the closest (since we never really premeditate everything we do in real life) it creates a dimensional character. Try to think back to a time when you knew exactly what comes after the "cause" to create the "effect".

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                        • #13
                          Re: A question for those that have read "Making a good script great"

                          It has to do with emotion - with the audience understanding that there is a feeling behind what the character is deciding. We relate to what is at stake, we understand that there are consequences behind what that characater decides to do, and that there is gravity to their actions.

                          John Book has a choice as to whether or not to sleep with Kelly.

                          John Book has a choice as to whether or not to stick up for the Amish when the townies harass them.

                          These choices speak to character, they tell us what kind of person he is, as well as what he stands for, and that is why they add dimension.

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                          • #14
                            Re: A question for those that have read "Making a good script great"

                            Dramatizing the "choice" turns the reactive character into a proactive character.



                            Fortune favors the bold - Virgil

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                            • #15
                              Re: A question for those that have read "Making a good script great"

                              and let me just add on to what steph explained and what sc11 backed, is the example steph showed happens hundreds of times in your script and the way you write that and how adpetly written it is, is how good writers pace their scenes.

                              it's part of the craft when you merge all the elements together. when i say that writers tend to treat each incident as it's own when in reality you're supposed to mix layers into your prose and dialogue so that you are getting multiple elements with your characters while they 'do things', ie. steal the wallet.

                              this is how subtext gets layered into a script because later on we see a wallet on a table we are instantly going to know that john might steal it, but grandma could of gotten wise to it and we know that grandma planted the wallet on the table so she could catch him - but he might know that she planted it so he might ask her for money instead of stealing it or whatever.

                              scenes build on one another and this is the perfect example. here's a thought before john goes to the wallet house he is confronted with a situation where he needs money so when he goes to wallet house we already bring a huge amount of anticipation to that scene - we hope it will be paed off with a scene that best represents what's going on in the scenes before it.

                              there are two elements in this, how it plays out on screen and HOW the writer chose to write it.

                              vig

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