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  • #31

    So if you end up saying that two characters are both antagonist and rival to each other, or that a character's antagonist is his own self, as I have scratched my head while reading here.........does the thought ever slip by that this just might not be a very useful thing to spend time thinking about?

    Can anybody tell me one solid way in which all this critical structure crapola has actually helped them to tell a story?


    • #32

      I am not interested looking smart in front of you. For real who are you anyway?

      I study writing theory because I personally believe it is the best way to learn anything. That's my opinion you can take it or leave it. I am not forcing you to believe what I believe.

      You want to create something out of nothing. Well if you think that's the best way to do things then go ahead and see where it takes you.

      Yet there is nothing more narrow minded believing that you know everything.

      As Isaac Newton said. "If I saw a little further it is only because I stood on the shoulders of giants".

      FYI Casablanca is a mutli-layered story. It's about finding love, losing love, pride and prejudice, what war does to people, a revolutionary, and a bullheaded bartender.

      Maybe you can enlighten me on how Casablanca got written.

      So who was the antagonist? Choose your plot and I will answer your question.


      • #33
        Re: *laughs*

        I respectfully disagree with this. Despite the POV and Red's "redemption", the story is in Andy's hands. His decisions determine the outcome of the story. The end of act one is the rooftop beer scene. That scene opens up all the possibilities that his banking background offer. The low point is Andy's because the kid the Warden shot, for professing knowledge of Andy's innocense, was his protege. The third act climax is Andy's because he not only escapes, but takes down the warden and Hadley in the process. Andy drove the story. He was the protag. The warden was the Antag, and he was intentionally keeping Andy from his goal, which was freedom.

        The one beat that I'm not sure of, however, is the inciting incident. I am not totally clear if it is Andy's conviction, which obviously launches the story, or if it's the moment Andy approaches Red to buy the rock hammer. Any thoughts? Personally I'm leaning toward the conviction scene.


        • #34
          Re: *laughs*

          Prescribe, my screen writing brother,

          Your summation of the story is fine in its generalization of the actions taken by Andy and structure for the story, however, it is not fine in it's generalization of the morals Andy does or does not learn. The story is a description of Andy and his time at Shawshank, but Andy would not be the protagonist because he is the focus of the story being told from the POV of Red, Andy would be the protagonist if he was the person who LEARNED THE MOST from the story. Red is the protagonist because the story is about how Andy's presence changed him and everyone else. Andy is not what we would call a "Catalyst Hero".

          The term protagonist gets thrown around so much and applied in incorrect ways in screen writing. From the origin of it, the Greek drama origin, it applies to the focal character or the first character to speak to the chorus, but in the film world, he who learns the most is the protagonist.

          That is the protagonist, he who learns the most, and Red learns the most. This is why the bulk of the resolution of the story focuses on Red's release, and eventual journey to the hidden treasure and the beach in Mexico.&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp

          The reason you're not sure about the inciting incident is because you haven't weeded out the story yet. The inciting incident is not the conviction simply because Andy is then brought to Shawshank. The inciting incident is when Red begins his journey toward true freedom and internal redemption, via Andy's arrival at Shawshank. Hence the very valuable and powerful panning overhead shot of the prisoners all gathering to watch the new arrivals. That moment is a defining moment for the story and for Red. Now some might say that the real I-I is when Andy's wife starts cheating on him, but Andy is not the protag so the I-I is not something that happens to him alone.


          • #35
            Re: *laughs*

            fairtrax, I still disagree, and here's why. What you're describing is Red's internal story arc. He's a prominant character, and he does have an arc. But he has very little, if any, external arc.

            Andy has both, and they are intertwined. He has the external goal of regaining his freedom, but he also has the internal goal of learning how to "love" and "care" about other people. His wife left him because he was a cold man who didn't know how to love. That is how she wound up with another man and that lead to her murder. Andy went into prison blaming himself for the murder. Even though he didn't pull the trigger, he was the reason she was in front of the gun.

            Andy's internal arc transpires throughout the story as he befriends Red and the other inmates and grows to "love" them. He even sparks a father/son relationship with the young kid. When Andy escapes, we have seen him go from a calculating, cold hearted man who shows no emotion (which is actually stated by the judge in the court scene), to someone with very close friends he openly cares about.

            Andy was the one who was redeemed. He was redeemed from the guilt of his wife's death that he inadvertantly caused with his cold hearted nature. He redeemed himself by surviving nearly 20 years in a terrible prison, and trudging through 300 hundred yards of $&&#, escaping and bringing down the dirty warden that was determined to keep him in prison.

            Red documented his story. He was a secondary character who helped Andy along the way, and he was Andy's friend. But it was not his story. It was Andy's.


            • #36
              Re: Bring Me The Head Of Maria

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

              It's easy to be confused, those nuns were pretty damn sinister, but nuns always are, unless it's porn.

              My Web Page - naked women, bestial sex, and whopping big lies.


              • #37
                Re: *laughs*

                Red's narrative is moving the story forward. It is told from his POV.

                This reminds me of when I was a lurker and you guys where arguing over who was the antag or protag in SEVEN. Again it was Morgan Freeman's character, and he learned the most, and the story was primarily from his POV.


                • #38


                  • #39
                    Re: *laughs*

                    Do you see the trap here? If Red is telling us Andy's story, then it must be Andy who is the protagonist of the story we are being told.

                    It's really simple. Who is moving the story forward? Is Red's action moving the story forward or are Andy's actions moving the story forward? Is Red in direct opposition with the antagonist or is Andy in direct opposition with the Antagonist? Does Red's actions defeat the antagonist or does Andy's actions defeat him?

                    I find it hard to see by any reasonable definition of the protagonist that it can be anyone other than Andy who is the protagonist in Shawshank Redemption.


                    • #40

                      dismas said: I am not interested looking smart in front of you.

                      Well good, then you haven't failed after all.

                      You are repeating yourself, chasing your tail. You have already used the "creating something out of nothing" line. It was stupid saying that building a house without blueprints is building it out of nothing. And what I said was, please pay attention this time...a play is built from story, not some academic's theory. If you write on your structures without a good living story in a viable voice, then it is YOU who build from nothing.

                      You don't even really understand the discussion here, which is one reason you keep flying off on all these tangents. The "standing on the shoulders of giants" is one epigram, but it doesn't work very well applied to literature. And the way you get with those giants is to READ...SEE FILMS AND PLAYS! The giants didn't come up with this terminology...non-giants did, to try to understand and co-opt the real creators. Most people understand about confusing critical BS with the reality of creativity. OK, you don't. Fine. But why give me a hard time. I have my opinions, also.

                      My advice. Cool off. Your very frenzy about this, your accusations ("You have no talent" followed by "who are y ou"...the sequence in itself a badge of ignorant tantrum) and personal weaseling is a big red sign to anybody reading it that you are conflicted about the thing and fighting your own doubts. Relax. Open your mind. Write something cool


                      • #41

                        >t's easy to be confused, those nuns were pretty damn sinister

                        Good didn't see the Nazis stealing parts from the nun's cars, did you?


                        • #42

                          Oh, by the way, I just noticed the line about wouldn't Shakespeare have to understand the theory of iambic pentameter in order to write it. Good question.

                          First of all, iambs and throchais and such are not theory...they are form, what they basically are is a beat, a rhythm. So at one level the answer could be another question..."Does an african drummer have to understand the theory of four/four time signature in order to play it?"

                          Poetry in these times doesn't have form anymore. Too bad too. But there is no theory behind a villanelle or rubai or sonnet or whatever. You see it, you use that form to create your own poem. aaba bbcb ccac or whatever.

                          Where theoretical structure comes into poetry, it ****s things up. I had a poetry prof once tell my class that a poem has to make a strong visual image to work. Obviously that is true of painting and movies, but NOT of poems. I would say that without metaphor, most current poems I read are just prose with lines that don't go all the way to the right margin. But that's theoretical, too. Slams are more into other kind of action.

                          But here's another question...have you ever heard of the Shakespearian sonnet? The Spenserian sonnet? Guess why they call them that? Those guys didn't study theory to learn how to write in a certain beat, syllable count and rhyme scheme...they invented their own. And for awhile young poets followed in their footsteps. And if they write a rhymed sonnet today they will never get it published.

                          Hope this helps.


                          • #43
                            Re: For the record....

                            Back in the time you were talking about there WERE no schools.

                            That comment was made regarding the 20's &
                            the 30's.

                            Just for the record, screenwriting "schools" have
                            been around since the early days of filmmaking.

                            For example, PALMER had a correspondence
                            course in "photoplay" writing in the early 20's.

                            And the USC film school was established in

                            "HOW TO" screenwriting books (or "how to
                            write scenarios" as they were called back
                            then) were published as early 1910 (and maybe
                            earlier). Syd Field wrote the seminal book that
                            started the craze in the 70's - but there were
                            scores before his.

                            I agree that screenwriting cannot be taught -
                            but it can be learned. Which is what a lot of
                            this discussion tries to facilitate.

                            Sorry for the interruption.


                            • #44
                              Re: For the record....

                              A good story well told. That is what you are aiming for. If you are a natural story teller then run with it. If you have a good premise but are unsure how to get it down then go by the books. At least that way you appear to know what you are talking about and it assists in getting you through the door.


                              • #45

                                This is funny in an odd kind of "Who's on first" Abbott-Costello way.

                                It reminds me of previous threads where no one could agree on where the act breaks are in particular films. (Most recently, Minority Report).

                                Which leads me to my question - -

                                if the rules of drama are so clear cut, why is it writers rarely agree on these things when discussing a particular film?