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  • #16
    Re: Dualing protags

    "Rom-coms don't work because they have two protagonists, which they don't, they work because the story is sufficiently romantic and comedic to make the coupling desirable and entertain for the audience. In most conventional rom-coms, the love interest is the antagonist, making the goals and actions of the hero intertwined with that of the antagonist."

    I beg to difer. In the traditional sense the antagonist works against the protagonist. You're correct in saying that the "love interest" is the antagonist in the sense of providing the conflicts but in romantic comedies our dual protagonists want the same thing... they want to be together.

    "In Splash, Hanks wants a normal predictable life, the mermaid wants a wild crazy free spirited life.

    In Pretty Woman Gere wants a girl on his arm who he can control and use to prevent any distractions and interference with his plans. Roberts wants more than to be treated as a rented piece of meat and wants to engage Gere emotionally which causes distractions and interference with his plans."

    You kind of made my argument for me. In each of those breakdowns you clearly described the dual protagonists arcs. Yes they have different points of view but in the end want the same thing. If all we did was understand Gere's or Hank's character then the story wouldn't be nearly as satisfying. I agree there will always be one characer doing more of the "heavy lifting" of the story but that doesn't lessen the impact of the love interest at all.

    Go to WHEN HARRY MET SALLY. Even the title says it. The story begins when HARRY meets Sally. But we wouldn't care as much if we didn't get to know who Sally was.


    • #17

      I just keep being amazed in these forms at the way young screenwriters are hypnotized by drama school BS.
      You're having trouble with antagonist/protagonist? Shitcan them! Forget the words completely. Forget about cathatsis if it doesn't fit what you are doing.

      The very idea that somebody would be trying to figure out which character a romance is "about" or who is the "anti" is just too ridiculous and passe for words.

      Lovers just want to overcome obstacles (even if the obstacle is themselves) and be happy together. Any romance worth a damn is "about" both people equally. Otherwise it's a manipulation. Don't try to force your work into this construct (like by setting up a conflict between Hanks' "normality" and Hannah's "free spirit"--no, man, she wants to live her normal life, too. Both characters want to be together, but it's not so easy because one of them is a @#%$ mermaid.

      Clear your heads of this crap...especially if it doesn't fit or work with what you are doing. Jeez.


      • #18
        Re: !

        My friend if you do not understand theory then you cannot understand story.

        The antagonist is not necessarily a person no body is arguing that here. Like you said the antagonist is what ever stands in the way of the protagonist.

        It's quite a simple concept.


        • #19

          Quite wrong, pal.
          It is quite possible to understand stories without having to buy into any particular theory. (That's kind of why they are theories) Just as it is possible to have a pretty good understanding of mind and behavior, yet think people are a little silly to run around trying to identify what the id or superego or archetypes are doing at any one point.
          I see in these posts quite a bit of confusion. One way to get around it is to pay more attention to the reality and less to the theoretical structure worked out a few millenia ago and the attendant terminology.
          Does that help?


          • #20

            I am wrong says who?

            Like all art form there are basic principles that people should learn before they can become mature writers.

            If I was a lover of classical music and I went to the syphoney every day. Do you think that makes me a qualified composer? No. That's why composers go to school to learn music theory, form and notation.

            Other wise their work would be folly and incomprensible to the poor musicians trying to play the piece.

            It takes great understanding and practice to be able to master any art. That includes writting.

            Knowing basic guidelines and learning basic terminology will only help the artist to create brilliant work at will instead of by accident.

            By the way tall buildings are built on solid foundations not quick sand.


            • #21
              Re: Reply

              First off, welcome aboard. Even if you finds these discussions passe, they're still value in discussing them.

              It is quite possible to understand stories without having to buy into any particular theory. (That's kind of why they are theories) Just as it is possible to have a pretty good understanding of mind and behavior, yet think people are a little silly to run around trying to identify what the id or superego or archetypes are doing at any one point.
              Actually, isn't the mere act of "understanding" part of "buying into a particular theory." Even if it's the chaos theory, it's still a theory.

              As to the construct of telling stories, which we're all attempting to do, they all involved a basic good guy and basic bad guy. Basic in the sense of it's someone's story about them trying to achieve a goal. And someone is standing in the way of that goal. Without those two cornerstones, there really isn't a story. It's just rambling. The fun and challenge comes in finding new ways to explore that core premise. Good guy is sheriff. Bad guy is shark. Good guy is weatherman. Bad guy is twister. And so on. It's not so much a theory as definition. Theory comes into play as to how you can create variations on a theme. I challenge you to share with the class any story that doesn't follow this basic formula...


              • #22

                Obviously you have a big investment in school and study, Desmas. It will not help you to become a writer in any way shape or form. Sorry.
                To use your music analogy...the great American blues and jazz players, not to mention all the rock musicians out there aren't really with it because they didn't spend all those years learning Italian nomenclature and how to play like robots for the rich in symphony orchestras. I mean what kind of musician can't even read music? Oh, Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder, well......
                Understanding storytelling does NOT depend upon any particular academic analysis. Most good writers are just born that way. Sorry,.
                Actually, I think you know this but are trying to vaunt your aqcuisition of a vocabulary. Fine...if it is getting you anywhere.

                The idea that "understanding" requires a "theory" is such an obvious crock I can't beleive anybody would dream of stating it. No, man. Mostly art theories are cooked up trying to explain the work of people who did them more or less instinctively.
                Before people designed by the Golden Mean, talented builders incorporated proportions that looked good...then somebody came along and derived math from it.
                Most musicians--most artists--have talent...which is in itself an understanding. Did you get that? Talent is an understanding. Homer and Shakespeare didn't go to writing classes, dewd.
                Nice you've got your theoretical educations...they will stand you in good stead if you give up on creativity and start writing review. But nobody ever created a masterpiece by a theory. And theories are not necessary to apprehend reality.

                By the way, there are PLENTY of stories without good guys and bad guys. Most romance stories, to repeat my example. Tell me who the goodies and baddies are in 2001 A Space Oddessey. In American Beauty? In the "Unforgiven"? In "Girl Fight"? In "Hundred Years of Solitude"? "Rashomon"?
                It is NOT a core's a convention, one of many.
                Theory does NOT "come into play" as you create...nobody I know anyway. It comes in when people talk about it.
                If you need to have a goodguy vs badguy scenario , fine...stick to horse operas and you'll be fine (except that the westerns being sold in the past decade generally transcend that).
                Your "share a story that doesn't fit that" is so relevatopry of lack of awareness of the world of literature that it's meaningless to respond to it. Have you aever heard of Kawabata? Witold Gombrovitz? Celine? Garcia Marques? Achembi?
                But let's stick to movies. Who is the bad guy in any of the current best picture nominees? Who is the good guy and bad guy in "Pulp Fiction" and what is the theme of their conflict? Dr. Zhivago? Sound of Music? Tootsie? Who are the good guys and bad guys in "Bright Lights Big City" or "Less than Zero". How about "Pretty Woman"? Thelma and Louise? Top Gun? Twins? Terminator 2? (If you say Arnie vs. the Cop terminator everybody will know you are full of crap)
                You are lashing yourself to a small concept, and to small minds. You will end up being a small writer. Be careful. Open up.


                • #23

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                  • #24
                    Re: ?

                    Darn I had written a nice long reply to you but the computer called Html and erased it. I will come back and do it again later.

                    The only thing I will say is that your conflating protagonist with good and anatgonist with bad.

                    Good writers don't think like that.

                    Also list what work you have done so I can see how far your opinions have taken you. Thanks.


                    • #25
                      Re: ?

                      Methinks he doth protest too much.

                      Say, El, I dig your passion man. Really, it's obvious you are well read and well viewed but what we're talking about here is storytelling as it relates to the cinema. I agree you can't be "taught" talent. You either got it or you don't. That being said there are still principals to storytelling that provide the foundations for writing. That's where the theory (oh, that word) of protagonists vs. antagonist comes into effect. You can have clear cut good guys vs bad guys as in DIE HARD or the more intellectually challenging internal struggles presented in movies like AMERICAN BEAUTY. I'd put forth that the real antagonist in SIDEWAYS is the protagonist's own self. You do have to have an understanding of theory in order to part from it. Why do you think they teach every art student to copy the masters?

                      Incidently, wouldn't Shakespeare have to understand the theory of iambic pentameter in order to write in it?

                      PS... antagonists in SOUND OF MUSIC? Nazis, dewd, always the Nazis.


                      • #26
                        Re: ?

                        I can't cut and pace so I am going to sum up my responce to you.

                        Your confused. You don't have any talent and you try to mask that by saying form and theory doesn't matter. Whatever.

                        To be honest there are people who are born with talent. That is pure instinct and can't be taught.

                        However skill is something that can only be learned through experiance and guidence. Before you can utilize your talent you need to aquire the skills first.

                        Theory is a construct from reality. We see things that we can't explain so we make theories to explain them.

                        If the thoery is crap it gets heaved. However if it stands the test of time it is a useful tool to learn how to do something.

                        Only abstract no talented artist will pretend they can make something out of nothing. Forget it. The real world doesn't work that way. You can change the world if you like, you can go against the grain if you like but you can't make something out of nothing.

                        Great Masters can break the status quo because they first learned to master the status quo.

                        Good night


                        • #27

                          Desmas, you are talking about things you know nothing about. As a glaring instance, you say I "have no talent" when you know nothing about me. I think you should keep that personal crap out of this, by the way. If your ideas can't stand up by themselves, don't get twerpy so try to save them. This a discussion, not your highschool slam book.

                          One thing you have turned on it's ear is the whole issue of talent versus form. It's the talent that breaks the old forms...which were themselves created to try to cop the talent of previous artists. You can use Golden Mean in a design...but there were guys who did it instinctively first. AND, there are guys like Gaudi who will figure out other proportions that also work in new ways. An analogy is Bruce Lee, dissing the forms of martial arts schools because he didn't need them. (Many teachers look down on that, because most people do. But those people don't become stars.)

                          I rather suspect I know a whole lot more about the real world than you do, pal. Maybe not. But I've made a living in it by writing and photography and design (amon other things) for a long time. And one thing I will tell you about writing is that it is not...I repeat NOT an area with much technique or "skills". It's almost unique among the arts in that. Teenagers write successful novels. Sixty year old retired engineers just sit down and write successful novels and plays. It's about voice, it's about story.

                          Are you a writing teacher or "script consultant" or something? There are those who try to pretend that writing has technique to be taught like painting or musid. It does not. Most great writers never took a course or learned any theory in their lives.

                          Your idea that a master has to learn all the current bullshit before working around it MIGHT (and that's a big might) hold true in painting and music. (Although so many of the great musicians had no formal schooling.) It doesn't hold true in writing at all.

                          Everything that can be taught about writing can be conveyed in one quick seminar. The rest is learned by reading. Scriptwork is one of the rare forms of writing (like tech manuals or internet catalog copy) that actually has some forms that have to be absorbed...although much of that is now done by programs. But it's VERY possible to just get a bunch of good scripts and read them...or see a shitload of movies...and produce winning scripts. It happens all the time.

                          There is no such thing as "abstract" in writing a script. And nobody except you has talked about making something of nothing. Scripts are made from stories, stories come from life in the real world, filtered through an individual's unique perception.

                          Lighten up on this. You will not only be less of a striden pain in the ass here, but also help your own grip on this stuff. "There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamed of in your philosophy."


                          • #28

                            Back in the golden age of Hollywood 20's-60's, story was at it's highest point. Breath taking stories and movies made lasting impressions on cinema history most notably of them all Casa Blanca, Citizen Kain etc...

                            Back then Hollywood took great care of screen writers. You either learned the craft from a master or in a school.

                            Thus there was a wealth of movies made that we will never forget.

                            Now everything is going down hill. More and more screen writers are poorly trained and are resposible for the poor quality of movies coming out of hollywood.

                            It has become less an artform.

                            ALso you are forgetting that Bruce Lee began his career as a student and later on became the greatest master of his form.

                            He new how to fix the cracks because he first studied the different styles learned to see there strength and there weakness.

                            So who am I. I will tell you.

                            I am a director/screenwriter. I wrote my first future length script which will be optioned into a movie.

                            It's called My Deliverance. Remember this name because when you see it in the theaters you will know it was me who wrote it using my so called old school ideals.


                            • #29

                              Well, evidently your schooling in the basics of writing craft and screen lore didn't acquaint you with how to spell Casablanca and Citizen Kane.

                              So it's not surprising that you should have such a bizarre set of errors on the history of screenwriting. Back in the time you were talking about there WERE no schools. And the "masters" you are talking about came out of nowhere...there were no movies before. This is amazing. You are aware that Orson Welles came into Hollywood from out of nowhere and was always considered an outsider? He didn't go to film school, dezzie, he had talent. Are you even slightly aware of how Casablanca got written? (Who is the antagonist there, just by the way?)

                              You are trying to bolster your narrow-guage attitude that the only way to think about creative writing is through the little lens you advocate by making it into something it's not, this imaginary renaissance atelier where apprentices learned the craft from studying at the feet of old masters. And are looking stupider at every step. WHY are you doing this?

                              And now you are bolstering your arguments with your credentials of a future fantasy. Why? What are you trying to accomplish here?


                              • #30
                                Re: *laughs*

                                Before this get's out of hand, let me just say this,

                                A lot of folks often misinterpret the difference between the ANTAGONIST (the shadow) and the RIVAL.

                                The Antagonist has goals which oppose those of the protagonist. The rival has the same goal as the hero, he's simply opposing the protagonist for whatever reason, normal in favor of the antagonist.

                                So in FREAKY FRIDAY, (at least in the Jamie Lee Curtis Lindsay Lohan one I saw) I feel the way it works is that the Mother and Daughter are both protagonist and rival to one another, because they both have the same goal of sympathizing with the difficulties of each others lives and regaining their identities. The fortune cookie, strangely enough, is the antagonist, it is simply an antagonist that takes form through the behavior and actions of the protagonists.

                                In DIE HARD, McLean is the protag, Hans the antag. and the Police Chief/ FBI agents outside, are the rivals.

                                SHAWSHANK, Red is the Protag, Andy is an ally and mentor, the Warden is the antag, and I honestly don't think there's a rival in the story at all. Thereâ€TMre simply a lot of forces of opposition within the setting. But Red is most definitely the protag, because while the story is about Andy, Red is telling it from his POV, and learning from it in the end. Andy may be redeemed physically, but Red is redeemed mentally as he learns the true attitude of a free man.