Conflict - How important it really is?

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  • catcon
    replied
    Re: Conflict - How important it really is?

    Originally posted by Crayon View Post
    Although, knowing your appreciation for precision language, "this is the most profound thing that you have ever said" is not necessarily a compliment...
    Indeed.

    It reminds me of a comment I received from a noted producer to one of my early scripts, one that I took very positively till I realized exactly what he might be saying:

    I thought the writing was pretty good, I have read many worse scripts from agented writers.

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  • Crayon
    replied
    Re: Conflict - How important it really is?

    Without conflict there can be no cartharsis. Whilst illusory, movies satisfy our desire to see conflicts and problems resolved, or at least ended. We may not be able to fix things in our world, but stuff gets sorted and justice is done on screen - like a proxy placebo for our own troubles - a vicarious cure - or at least an empathetic relief that some suffering is not ours alone.

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  • Crayon
    replied
    Re: Conflict - How important it really is?

    Originally posted by ComicBent View Post
    Crayon, I do not ordinarily quote entire posts, but I did in this case. I think that this is the most profound thing that you have ever said.
    ComicBent - Thank you. That's kind of you to say. I do often worry that I'm full of crap.

    Although, knowing your appreciation for precision language, "this is the most profound thing that you have ever said" is not necessarily a compliment.

    Now, if only I could distil such profundity into snappy dialogue, it might at least help to pay the rent.

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  • catcon
    replied
    Re: Conflict - How important it really is?

    Originally posted by TigerFang View Post
    ...The conflict in Forrest Gump seems to be between the unchanging conscientious main character and the ever-changing national consciousness...
    I have one script where the character's arc is in fact that she has no arc; she holds steady. She had plenty of reason to "bust out" of her consistency throughout the first 90 pages, and never does. Then, she has one big chance to do a "Ripley vs. Aliens" against a new tormentor, at the end, but at the last second her better/normal nature wins out (again) and she resisted -- and finally reaps the reward for being "nice" and patient and diplomatic, etc.

    It turns out to be the best thing she could have done, because this time her tormentor quickly turns out to be a great ally -- it's not out-of-the-blue, as there is a certain logic that this would happen under the right circumstances, and would not have happened if the first encounter had been an argument. (It's a new boss, a person whom she'd encountered anonymously on the phone under quite unpleasant circumstances)

    No matter, no doubt some people esp. some women who've read my script probably think that my female character chickens out, and that I as a writer am just being a typical male, given the near-misogyny she puts up with throughout the story -- it's a dark comedy, and she's in a very low economic/low power situation.

    But as I often do, my female characters are typically the moral/intelligent compasses, in comparison to the male characters, and in this particular story she ends up winning (obtaining her goals) by remaining true to herself.

    The conflict in this story? Well, I'd say that it's the extreme discomfort that we readers/audience feel in every darn scene that she faces, till she's proven right in the end.

    (I've still to convince any readers/audience that this is true, of course, who are probably locked into evaluating it via some checkbox matrix for "hero's journey" that doesn't allow for anything but the straight-forward.)

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  • Centos
    replied
    Re: Conflict - How important it really is?

    Originally posted by JoeBanks View Post
    yes, in addition to being reactionary historical b.s. it was also misogynistic historical b.s. -- Jenny the "slut" gets AIDS because she dared to have more than one sexual partner during the '70s and did drugs (which millions of men also did but none of whom seem to suffer the same fate in the film). also, heterosexual AIDS outside of the IV drug using community was and continues to be extremely rare. but sure, Jenny didn't choose to love a mentally deficient man so ergo she deserves to die.
    Good grief. Overreact much? I don't know how old you are, but I remember when AIDS first hit the news. From the 60s up until that point it had pretty much been a "sexual revolution" "free-for-all" for many. I think Jenny getting AIDS in this movie has more to do with how unusual it still was at the time. I didn't see it as a judgment of any kind, I saw it as a tragedy.

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  • JoeBanks
    Member

  • JoeBanks
    replied
    Re: Conflict - How important it really is?

    Originally posted by TigerFang View Post
    with the bad decisions underscored and personified by Jenny's character, as compared to the staid and unwavering values of the supposedly foolish main character, who then by comparison becomes wise.
    yes, in addition to being reactionary historical b.s. it was also misogynistic historical b.s. -- Jenny the "slut" gets AIDS because she dared to have more than one sexual partner during the '70s and did drugs (which millions of men also did but none of whom seem to suffer the same fate in the film). also, heterosexual AIDS outside of the IV drug using community was and continues to be extremely rare. but sure, Jenny didn't choose to love a mentally deficient man so ergo she deserves to die

    (which she did not at all in the actually very good and funny book. she just goes off and marries someone else and lives a normal middle class existence http://articles.baltimoresun.com/199...book-and-movie)

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  • Clint Hill
    Member

  • Clint Hill
    replied
    Re: Conflict - How important it really is?

    Originally posted by JoeBanks View Post
    ... one reason it is pretty awful is that there really isn't any conflict driving the story. just a bunch of dumb episodic chapters about an imbecile
    Originally posted by JeffLowell View Post
    ... Gump tackles a different theme, but I don't think it's quite as empty as some others. I think it's a meditation on destiny....
    With respect to whether or notForrest Gump is “as empty as some others”: The main character remained the same, but instead we watched what went on behind him, the moving panorama of the nation as it went through its fads and growing pains — the rabid, fanatic fervor surrounding win-at-all-costs Alabama football, the “episodic chapter” of the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War and its absurdities, such as receiving a Purple Heart from the President of the United States for being shot in the buttocks, the advent of the dawn of a new technology represented by Gump's Apple computer investment, to the running craze that swept the nation for a time.

    The main character stood still for us without changing his values, but the subtextual commentary was made about the nation's values and its destiny, the courses it had taken that led up to the time of the movie's ending, asking, “Just where is our country headed with these decisions we (sometimes foolishly) make?” with the bad decisions underscored and personified by Jenny's character, as compared to the staid and unwavering values of the supposedly foolish main character, who then by comparison becomes wise.

    The conflict in Forrest Gump seems to be between the unchanging conscientious main character and the ever-changing national consciousness.

    To answer the original post's academic question: without conflict, you have a dull story. Just as dull stories didn't sell newspapers, dull stories don't sell movie tickets, either. Conflict is absolutely necessary to create interest for an audience, and the interest occurs when and where there is a struggle between opposing forces, discovering who or what they are, what is at stake, why it must be resolved, and how the resolution is carried out.
    Clint Hill
    Member
    Last edited by Clint Hill; 06-04-2018, 03:46 AM.

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  • ComicBent
    Member

  • ComicBent
    replied
    Re: Conflict - How important it really is?

    Originally posted by Crayon View Post
    The Deer Hunter is all about conflict, is it not? It's about how we are all either the hunter or the hunted, in a world in which everything that matters has some degree of conflict: nations, politics, society, religion, class, work, welfare, nature, birth, family, friendship, sex, love, death.

    Crayon, I do not ordinarily quote entire posts, but I did in this case. I think that this is the most profound thing that you have ever said.

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  • Crayon
    replied
    Re: Conflict - How important it really is?

    The Deer Hunter is all about conflict, is it not? It's about how we are all either the hunter or the hunted, in a world in which everything that matters has some degree of conflict: nations, politics, society, religion, class, work, welfare, nature, birth, family, friendship, sex, love, death.

    Leave a comment:

  • JeffLowell
    Member

  • JeffLowell
    replied
    Re: Conflict - How important it really is?

    Originally posted by JoeBanks View Post
    though there was a satirical edge to Being There that used Chauncey's naif-ness to comment on how our vapid media culture could elevate even, ahem, a fool to the presidency.
    Absolutely - Gump tackles a different theme, but I don't think it's quite as empty as some others. I think it's a meditation on destiny - the last line (which I've quoted before) is:

    I don't know if Momma was
    right or if, if it's Lieutenant Dan.
    I don't know if we each have a
    destiny, or if we're all just floating
    around accidental-like on a breeze,
    but I, I think maybe it's both. Maybe
    both is happening at the same time.

    Leave a comment:

  • JoeBanks
    Member

  • JoeBanks
    replied
    Re: Conflict - How important it really is?

    Originally posted by JeffLowell View Post
    There's a long tradition of naifs that don't change, but the world around them does. I wouldn't say "Being There" was bad writing, for example.
    though there was a satirical edge to Being There that used Chauncey's naif-ness to comment on how our vapid media culture could elevate even, ahem, a fool to the presidency.

    Leave a comment:


  • Centos
    replied
    Re: Conflict - How important it really is?

    I think the only movie I've watched in this list was Forrest Gump and I think for each movie like Forrest Gump, you've probably got 10,000 not like Forrest Gump. I guess what I'm saying is that I wouldn't use this as a typical example of screenwriting.

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  • Crayon
    replied
    Re: Conflict - How important it really is?

    I'm looking forward to the next Star Wars spin-off: Star Peace Summit.

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  • catcon
    replied
    Re: Conflict - How important it really is?

    Originally posted by JoeBanks View Post
    ...Forrest Gump -- okay, i guess there is conflict between Forrest and Jenny over how to live one's best life or something but one reason it is pretty awful is that there really isn't any conflict driving the story. just a bunch of dumb episodic chapters about an imbecile
    Ah, so I wasn't the only one! Gump was well-produced and entertaining, but it was a real Baby Boomer-fest, and not particularly relevant to other audiences. You watch, somehow there'll be stuff for Millennials in the sequel, in order to drive that audience.

    Leave a comment:

  • JeffLowell
    Member

  • JeffLowell
    replied
    Re: Conflict - How important it really is?

    There's a long tradition of naifs that don't change, but the world around them does. I wouldn't say "Being There" was bad writing, for example.

    Leave a comment:

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