fear of allienating the audience



No announcement yet.
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • fear of allienating the audience

    I've been working on my current draft and have decided to change my third act. I think I've done a good job making my heroine a lovable character that the audience will root for. My dilemma: After her father dies at the end of the second act, everyone around her (her mother especially) blames her for the death. The audience is already rooting for her to leave the country but because of this big guilt, she decides to submit to what is supposedly her destiny (the thing she's been fighting all through out the movie) but at the end of the movie, The audience sees that she's actually achieved her goal, that is to leave the country. The audience won't wonder how she got there because of the things that she does before this ending. I'm trying really hard to make the audience understand this shift but my fear is that it might piss them off and not root for her. Also, any films out there that I can refer to?


  • #2
    Please clarify the problem...

    Either way your third act isn't interchangable. You can't shove a 454 Big Block into an Austin Mini without a lot of work to the body, frame and chassis. A story is a story. There can only be one ending required by the work done in the setup of the previous two acts. The character drives the plot and his choices decide the outcome.

    It's like trying to change setting, or character... Story is so intwined into the both of those that if you change the place, you change the story and the same goes for character.

    You can't just decide to write a different third act and expect the audience to enjoy it. You have to rewrite the whole script. And if you don't think you have to rewrite the whole script then read "Story" and think again. The most minor details intertwined into the tale make the audience go... "Holy sh!t. Holy SH!T! I never saw that comin'. I woulda paid a $100 bucks for that." at the climax. That's whatcha get the big bucks for.

    If you elaborate on the the details of your script you might get more relevant responses in regards to the problem. But if you don't plan on touching Act 1 and 2 much in your rewrite, then you should realize now you got some serious ripping and tearing to do.


    • #3
      Of course endings are not interchangable, but it is entirely possibly to write the wrong ending at first and then replace it with the correct one.

      Although I have absolutely no idea what victorian is talking about either. Sounds like she's purposely trying to be vague. All I can say is that movies that end with a character leaving the town in which they live (like Ghost World and Igby Goes Down) are usually pretty week, unless the goal of this film is, say, for the protag to escape from a harsh, maybe deadly, environment (like say, Sudan) or to get to a specific location the person has always wanted to go to, like if the whole film were about the protag's goal to get into Harvard.

      But that barely addresses the "will the audience still like my character" issue. But then, it doesn't really matter. If you are writing the character honestly, the character is not going to choose his/her actions based on how an audience would react if a film were made about him/her... and if you're writing a script where the audience just isn't going to like your honest, three-dimensional character, well then maybe you should move on to your next script.


      • #4
        Don't worry about allienating the audience.... that's the studio's job once they make your movie.


        • #5

          Gee whiz! Robert Mckee says this, Robert Mckee says that.... Robert Mckee doesn't say turn off your brain and forget your God given right to think for yourselves.

          Victorian, is your protagonist's decision to stay with her family fall in line with her character? If so then we the audience will not feel cheated.

          However if this decision is way out in the blue then we may feel jaded about it.

          Yet maybe you will prove it to us in the end she made the right choice. Hence all will be forgivin.

          No matter what your plot choices are, your ending has to be exceptional. This is what ultimately determines if we like your story or not.

          Every bad movie has a bad ending, every good movie as a great ending and every great movie has an exceptional ending.


          • #6
            Re: Reply

            Cheese Whiz... I've seen some pretty crappy movies with great endings and some exceptionally brilliant first and second acts that fall flat at the climax...

            I repeat. You can not just swap endings regardless of how the script's been written. To swap the 'wrong' ending for the 'right' ending doesn't make sense either. How do you know the 'right' ending has been written into the events leading up to the last act?

            Either way, I agree with McKee, Hauge, Field, and dozens of others on most areas of craft. Sure you can think for yourself... go right ahead... Just do it...

            After you know what you're talking about.

            And that requires reading all of the above so you have a feel for story and structure.


            • #7

              Cannot swap one ending for another? Who says you can't. The writer has licence to do what ever he wants with the condition that the ending fits the story.

              Alot of people think that screenwriting is just a craft but it's more than that, it's an art form.

              There are no rules are formulas in art but forms and guidelines.

              I would trust that Victorian knows what he/she is doing. You nor I have read the screenplay so neither one of us can judge which ending is the propper one.


              • #8
                Re: Right.

                I've never written by brail, but I'll give it a shot.


                • #9
                  Re: Right.

                  Your notion is still absurd that if the first ending you write is not the correct one, you will never be able to write the correct ending for your script.

                  Sometimes a writer may have a specific ending in mind and writes that even though it doesn't match up with the first and second act that diverged from what the writer initially planned, and therefore realizing his/her original ending no longer fits the logical progression of the story as it has happened, must rewrite the ending, replacing the WRONG ending with the RIGHT one.

                  Even if a writer set out to write the script without pre-planning it (which can be foolish), it is entirely possible for the writer to subconsciously set up a perfectly logical, great ending in the first and second act but not realize it at first when initially writing the third act, and therefore has to replace the WRONG ending with the RIGHT one.

                  You make it sound as if it's impossible that a person has ever written a script with a poor ending and then somehow rewrote it to give it a great ending.


                  • #10
                    Reply to ThekeenGuy

                    Well said! Your words contain a wisdom so few of us internalize.


                    • #11
                      A story is a story.

                      I agree with you on this, Revisionist.

                      There can only be one ending required by the work done in the setup of the previous two acts.

                      I do not agree with you on this, Revisionist.

                      Let's say, I show a picture of birds in a bird bath. I show you a picture of a cat lurking in bushes. I show you a picture of a dog at the window, barking. And then I show you a picture of an empty bird bath, and there is no barking, perhaps a couple feathers scattered about the ground for ahs sake.

                      Now, my first act is bird bath. It's beautiful. Who doesn't like birds bathing in their front yard? My second act is a cat lurking in the bushes. A nice contrast, shady, menacing blah blah. Now, third act begins when the dog starts barking at whatever he sees outside the window. And, my third act ends with the empty bird bath, the victims feathers scattered about, the dog's silence, and the cat, nowhere to be seen.

                      What makes your statement, there can only be one ending, incorrect is that the writer can do whatever she likes after the cat is shown. She doesn't have to show the dog barking. She doesn't have to have the birds get eaten. This is why they are called acts. They are separate. She can insert, re-arrange, and do whatever she likes depending on what criteria she applies to them. Now, if she decides that her story is about a heroic dog, then, the third act changes accordingly. If she decides it's a story about the freedom of flight, the third act changes. What makes a choice right or wrong depends on the criteria the writer has chosen to apply.

                      Now, I could make this three act, whatever the hell it is, a minor beat to segue into a Checkov like thing, where a man sues the neighbor b/c her cat keeps killing the birds in his bath or change it into a rom/com or whatever the hell I choose to do. And the reason I can do this is because I agree with you, a story is a story.

                      The character drives the plot and his choices decide the outcome.

                      Her choices do not decide the outcome. I'm not sure that statement even makes sense. A character is merely what she does in pursuit of whatever she's after. So, if our character is the cat, she's after the birds, and just b/c she chooses to hunt them down doesn't mean she'll succeed or fail. That's up to her writer, and the criteria applied. The super objective.

                      I agree with McKee, Hauge, Field, and dozens of others on most areas of craft. Sure you can think for yourself... go right ahead... Just do it... After you know what you're talking about. And that requires reading all of the above so you have a feel for story and structure.

                      The above statement is what made me reply.

                      In terms of 'areas of craft', I have read and studied, Stanislavsky, Clurman, Odets, Mamet essays, Aristotle, Lumet's book, Meyerhold, M. Chekov, The hero with ten thousand faces, and a bunch of other junk. All very useful, I'm sure. I've even read the bible, a great story. Should give it a try. There's lots about humility, and being a good Samaritan etc. Anyway, I've also read McKee, and Field and believe that, as intructors of craft, they have offered little advice that their readers can use to make themselves, well, craftsmen. Field's approach, especially, is disturbing.

                      He talks about hoity toity and puffs ya up and all this junk and then shows you how to build a story in very much the same way I imagine a guy shows a factory worker how to put together a modular home, so that he can go to wherever the @#%$ he goes and eat all the donuts that you brought in for EVERYONE to eat... I'm rambling. Anyway. I think he's a slum lord who doesn't know anything about building a solid structure or telling a good story and will have you deluded, living in your leaky house, with eight children, begging your wife to buy you next instalment of his twelve series book when you should be using the money to get a job at the local modular home factory so you can cloth your kids... I'm rambling again. Oh, and McKee is Fields evil cousin, a little more suave. It's from the grease. He's a slum lord too.

                      After you know what you're talking about. And that requires reading all of the above so you have a feel for story and structure.

                      Do I really need to comment on the absurdity of this statement? I wonder what Shakespeare read to get a 'feel' for story and structure. Hm. McKee? No. Field? Thank God, no.


                      • #12
                        Bah. Life is the best teacher. Get out there and watch it.


                        • #13
                          Point taken. I didn't mean my comments to be taken so literally. My intention was to push the idea that you must read all you can in order to develop your own voice...

                          Field = A mechanic = One approach to accomplish a goal

                          My intention is not to enforce that idealism. It's to get writers to study, read, experience all types of structure and pick and choose what they want to use, and that which they want to discard. It's to develop a base to build on.

                          How many writers do you think, in your honest opinion, would make it without reading anything and only writing..?

                          Especially scripts. One, two?

                          I can't in good conscience agree that not reading both good and bad material doesn't help you grow as a writer. I never said stick to one structure. Experiment with all. And create your own.


                          • #14
                            the problem with changing direction of your film in the final act is that the overall direction of the film is changed... and right at the end.