Fatal Flaw?

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  • NikeeGoddess
    replied
    Re: Fatal Flaw?

    road to perdition
    main character - tom hanks
    protagonist - the kid

    Leave a comment:


  • dmizzo
    replied
    Re: Fatal Flaw?

    Originally posted by JimHull View Post
    And, of course, there's always "Casablanca." Viktor Lazlo is the Protagonist pursuing those papers and a means to escape. Rick is the Main Character through which we witness the story ("Of all the gin joints...why did she have to walk into mine?")
    Victor Laszlo is the protagonist? Those are some serious semantic gymnastics you're attempting, Jim. Try not to pull something.

    Leave a comment:


  • NikeeGoddess
    replied
    Re: Fatal Flaw?

    million dollar baby
    main character - the boxer and the coach (swank and eastwood)
    but the story is told through the protagonist - once again, morgan freeman

    the cooler
    main character - the cooler (william macy)
    protagonist - the casino owner (ron livingston)

    Leave a comment:


  • JeffLowell
    replied
    Re: Fatal Flaw?

    Originally posted by JimHull View Post
    Viktor Lazlo is the Protagonist pursuing those papers and a means to escape. Rick is the Main Character through which we witness the story ("Of all the gin joints...why did she have to walk into mine?")
    Ack.

    Casablanca is not the story of Viktor Lazlo trying to get some papers.

    Leave a comment:


  • JimHull
    replied
    Re: Fatal Flaw?

    Hey instant,

    Sure I can give you some more examples that aren't adaptations:

    As mentioned above, "The Lives of Others" (Das Leben der Anderen) which won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film in 2006 has a split Main Character and Protagonist. "The Counterfeiters" (Die Falscher) which won the Oscar for the following year also has a split between the two (notice the pattern?). Both excellent films.

    Back home, and more recent, you would have "Zombieland." The girls are the Protagonists trying to reach the safety of the West Coast, Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) is the Main Character - he's the one we empathize with the most and experience the story through. The original "Terminator" also has the roles filled by two different characters. Reese (Michael Biehn) is the Protagonist trying to protect Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) who is the Main Character in the story. Again, we see the film through her eyes, but it is Reese who drives the efforts towards the story goal.

    And, of course, there's always "Casablanca." Viktor Lazlo is the Protagonist pursuing those papers and a means to escape. Rick is the Main Character through which we witness the story ("Of all the gin joints...why did she have to walk into mine?")

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  • instant_karma
    replied
    Re: Fatal Flaw?

    Originally posted by NikeeGoddess View Post
    i don't know where you're getting this but i think it's the wrong analogy. should be scout in mockingbird telling her story about atticus. just like red tells his story about andy. both done in voice over.
    My bad. I did indeed mean Scout.

    Leave a comment:


  • NikeeGoddess
    replied
    Re: Fatal Flaw?

    The two main examples that seem to be repeatedly cited as an example of this Main Character not being the Protagonist theory are Red in Shawshank and Boo in Mockingbird
    i don't know where you're getting this but i think it's the wrong analogy. should be scout in mockingbird telling her story about atticus. just like red tells his story about andy. both done in voice over.

    Leave a comment:


  • joe9alt
    replied
    Re: Fatal Flaw?

    Originally posted by JeffLowell View Post
    A piece of software that helps you write a script by guiding you through it using it's own unique theory of story. Just like the Save The Cat software. Plug in answers; get outline.

    On this page you can find the 400 page book that explains the theory.
    I'll pass.

    I actually like doing that stuff for myself.

    And I thought Save the Cat was just a crappy book by a high end screenwriting consultant??? There's software, too? Are we writers or typists now?

    Leave a comment:


  • instant_karma
    replied
    Re: Fatal Flaw?

    The two main examples that seem to be repeatedly cited as an example of this Main Character not being the Protagonist theory are Red in Shawshank and Boo in Mockingbird.

    Since both these movies are adapted from prose fiction (short story and novel), might these characters functioning as narrators in the movie not just be a consequence of the screenwriter trying to remain faithful to the source material?

    Some examples from original screenplays might better serve in illustrating the theory.

    Leave a comment:


  • JeffLowell
    replied
    Re: Fatal Flaw?

    A piece of software that helps you write a script by guiding you through it using it's own unique theory of story. Just like the Save The Cat software. Plug in answers; get outline.

    On this page you can find the 400 page book that explains the theory.

    Leave a comment:


  • joe9alt
    replied
    Re: Fatal Flaw?

    I know I will regret this but what the **** is Dramatica?

    Leave a comment:


  • JeffLowell
    replied
    Re: Fatal Flaw?

    Maybe I've been lucky, but I've never been in a meeting where everyone there didn't know that "raise the stakes" means "increase what's at risk," but if it helps writers think of that as consequences, score one for Dramatica.

    What personal problems or issues are we privy too that no one else is? Issues he would take with him into another story. The judge calls him a cold and remorseless man, but do we get to experience what it is like to have that kind of attitude through Andy? I don't really know who Andy is. Red, on the other hand, I feel like I am Red.
    I think you feel like you're inside Red's head because we hear his thoughts constantly. He's the narrator. It's no more complicated than that.

    Again, I know exactly who Andy is. He's a guy who won't give up hope when all others have. The record scene I mentioned is the prime example of that - he told the guys the time he spent in solitary for it went by like nothing, because he could hear that music in his heart. He remembered there was beauty outside the walls.

    And that's not the only example of getting inside Andy's head. Remember, near the end, in the last conversation Red and Andy have in prison? Andy admits that he is guilty of his wife's murder in a way - he was a bad husband and drove his wife away. That led to the chain of events that eventually got her killed.

    And what about the idea that he disappears for much of the end of the film. If he was the Main Character yet we weren't exploring the story through him, we would feel detached and unaffected by the moments that play out on the screen. Doesn't Red fulfill that role better? Aren't we experiencing what it is like to go from a place of despair to a place of hope?
    Last point first - Andy makes a journey from despair to hope. Remember when the movie opens, he's drunk and has a gun in his hand? Compare that to where he ends.

    Yes, we have some scenes with Red at the end of the movie. But even then, he's making a journey because of Andy - he saved Andy in prison, and Andy is saving him back on the outside. I'd say it's all more of a coda, and it's building up to the last scene, which shows where Andy ended up.

    And even in that Red heavy ending... there's a lot more Andy than people remember.

    I may forget a scene or two, but here's the climax and end of the movie:

    Andy in the warden's office, setting up the scam.

    Andy polishes shoes, gets rope. Red is worried that his friend is killing himself.

    Next morning - Andy is gone.

    Norton finds wrong shoes. Grills Red, who knows nothing. Discovers hole.

    Huge Andy scene as we see how he actually put the plan in motion for a long time.

    Andy the night of the escape.

    Andy at the bank, taking the money and mailing the evidence.

    Warden in office discovers he's been outed. Opens safe and finds message from Andy. Kills himself because Andy's outsmarted him.

    Red and friends receive postcard from Andy. Realizes he made it.

    Red finally paroled.

    Red doesn't fit in in outside world. Thinks about going back to prison. Remembers what Andy told him.

    Red finds money and clue from Andy.

    Red travels down, remembering Andy's words.

    Red and Andy reunite.

    ***

    Now, there's a good five or ten minute chunk where we don't see Andy, but Andy's still driving the action. Red's worrying about Andy or missing Andy or remembering Andy's advice or digging up Andy's clues or traveling to see him.

    It's certainly an interesting narrative device, but I don't see how that makes Red the main character. Unless you ignore the other 90% of the movie, where Andy is clearly the main character. This Andy not on screen = Red main character theory ignores all the time that Red is not on screen and Andy is.

    I can point to entire sequences in movies where the main character/protagonist isn't on screen and yet the audience is riveted - because we can care about multiple characters. Look at The Empire Strikes Back - do we lose interest when Luke's being trained by Yoda? Does the fact that we don't mean that Han Solo is really the main character? Or LOTR - the protagonist and main character is Frodo (I think we agree on this). In the last two movies, he's split off from everyone but Sam. Does that mean the 75% of the time that he's not on screen, the audience is detached and unaffected?

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  • Steven Jenkins
    replied
    Re: Fatal Flaw?

    Originally posted by JeffLowell View Post
    Your story, as I understand it, is "a man has to carry a flash drive across the country while other people try to stop him." Does that sound like a movie you'd see? Is there anything about that concept that seems like a hook that would draw people in?
    I wasn't exactly trying to make a pitch, just show my concern that I thought the subplots and twists may not be as strong or original as I'd like. But I understand there's bigger fish sizzling right now, and I'm enrapt.


    McKee was like a trusted friend to me a few years ago, since then I've read a few others, inclucing Save-the Cat and the 135-story-structure. They all work up to a point. I'm not looking for the perfect theory to write by, just get the feeling. Hopefully that magic synapse will pfizzzt over one of these days...
    Last edited by Steven Jenkins; 03-30-2010, 12:43 PM.

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  • JimHull
    replied
    Re: Fatal Flaw?

    OK, my whole goal in life now is to convince you that Red is the Main Character!

    First off though, I totally agree about the commonality of terms. That is why I never ever use Dramatica terms in meetings. I know it instantly turns everyone off. Instead, I talk around concepts by using terms familiar to everyone.

    For example the idea of "stakes" as in "what is at stake for the Main Character?" For the longest time I couldn't figure out what they were referring to until it hit me that what they were really looking for was what Dramatica calls "Consequences." To me, the term "consequences" is infinitely more helpful when compared to "stakes" when it comes to writing a story. The consequences are what happens when the Protagonist fails to accomplish their goal - the consequences of failing. In "The Devil Wears Prada" the goal is for Andy (Anne Hathaway) is be Miranda's perfect assistant. The consequence of failing that goal is that she'll have to write for a less prestigious paper/magazine. She fails and endures the consequences.

    "Stakes" really doesn't mean anything which is why discussions concerning them often lead to endless circular arguments in story meetings. But when they ask, "What are the stakes?", now I just talk about the Story Consequences...I just don't use that term.

    OK, so back to Red...what about this angle...

    What personal problems or issues are we privy too that no one else is? Issues he would take with him into another story. The judge calls him a cold and remorseless man, but do we get to experience what it is like to have that kind of attitude through Andy? I don't really know who Andy is. Red, on the other hand, I feel like I am Red.

    And what about the idea that he disappears for much of the end of the film. If he was the Main Character yet we weren't exploring the story through him, we would feel detached and unaffected by the moments that play out on the screen. Doesn't Red fulfill that role better? Aren't we experiencing what it is like to go from a place of despair to a place of hope?

    Leave a comment:


  • Ronaldinho
    replied
    Re: Fatal Flaw?

    Originally posted by JeffLowell View Post
    Red has a story. Red has an arc. But it seems, to me, to be so clearly secondary to what Andy's going through that to call him the "main character" seems like theory dictating reality, not the other way around.
    I think there's certainly value in having a term to describe Red's role as an access character, a point-of-view character. Because of his role as a storyteller/POV/narrator-guy, he's certainly more important than any other character who has a similarly-sized arc in the story ...

    ... but calling him THE main character is just confusing.

    Lots of academic fields use jargon, but it's worth pointing out that they usually create new jargon rather than repurpose commonly-understood phrases.

    Looking at that dramatica PDF, I can't help but think about the difference between classification and understanding. Maybe it's a left-brain/right-brain sort of thing. Dramatica seems very left-briained - "oh, let me label and describe all these parts" but most creativity strikes me as very right-brained.

    Of course, computers don't work in that right-brain kind of way. If you can't label it, put it in a box, assigned it binary values, well, then, a computer doesn't know what to do with it. So maybe if you're designing a computer to look at stories you HAVE to do that sort of thing.

    But that's not how humans think. We're more holistic. I read all this stuff and I think, wow, that's needlessly complex.

    I was a big fan of McKee's "Story" UNTIL I had my big breakthrough on understanding story. I still think there's a lot of value in that book, but lots of it now comes across as needlessly complex and didactic.

    Leave a comment:

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