Rooting for Antiheroes

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  • #31
    Re: Rooting for Antiheroes

    Originally posted by SundownInRetreat View Post
    Ass mentioned before, the difference between him and my protags is vast - and this is what my OP is about. It's clear why we root for John but not the others. For a start we didn't see John Wick at his worst, and even then he probably only killed 'other' bad guys. To top it off, his innocent puppy got killed so the revenge angle is understandable.

    But what I'm trying to figure out is why we stick with - even root for - any of them past the first 10-20 pages? Though they come up against badder guys, why do we stick with them before they do this considering the things they do? And why do we care after they butt heads with the antags? None of these guys are in the same position as John. He's introduced as wanting a quiet life and reasonable. These other guys, though, are nasty pieces of work and we see them in their element.

    Imagine these specs were written by amateurs - what would make a script consultant/reader/exec/producer feel hooked rather than offended? What would make them stick with these guys (and the scrips) rather than offer big notes about them crossing the line and being too unlikeable and/or simply just too bad with no redeeming qualities? Why would they (and why did they) avoid the requirement to show a Save the Cat moment or mitigate their criminal exploits by having their manslaughter be in self-defence and their bank robbery because they desperately needed funding for their dying sister?
    I'll admit that 1. I have not read the JW script. 2. I do not know the full behind the scenes story of how the script ended up being made. I know that Kolstad had written two scripts that Dolph Lundgren starred in prior to John Wick getting made.

    The logline might not have intrigued many producers, I mean what's the hook? The only real hook is he is seeking revenge for his dog being killed. It would seem from the movie that the script had enough merits so that Keanu would agree to do it.

    Independent of that, it's comes down to what's on the page. If a writer creates a compelling antihero character who propels a story that readers can't put down, that writer most likely will get a pass for not having a Save The Cat scene, or for breaking other "rules." It's what's on the page.

    I have seen the first JW numerous times as it appeals to the pulp fiction section in my soul. As it was in a genre that I was not into as far as writing, I did not read the script. But I am interested.
    #writinginaStarbucks #re-thinkingmyexistence #notanotherweaklogline #thinkingwhatwouldWilldo

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    • #32
      Re: Rooting for Antiheroes

      Originally posted by SundownInRetreat View Post
      So my question is why did people roll enough with this script to get it made? Why wasn't there balking after page 10 - with readers and prodcos thinking 'holy hell, this guy is a real piece of work - this can't be filmed as he'll alienate the audience'? Ditto the protags from the other films I mentioned an discussed in great detail in my previous posts.

      I link this to feedback I had from one of my scripts about a low-level conman who's in debt to a violent mobster and has just two options: be killed or kill someone and get paid enough to pay off the mob boss and start his life anew. My protag is a teddy bear compared to the antiheroes of the 4 films that this thread is about and is backed into a corner regarding the murderous offer. Now even though this script got a lot of attention and interest, the one recurring note is that regardless of his quandry, rootability (and thus project viability) goes out of the window the moment he agrees to kill. Even those who had no issue with his decision said it would be an issue in trying to get the script greenlit even by prodcos who like noir and crime.

      So my petty criminal, who doesn't want to kill anyone but is backed into a corner, antihero is 'too much' - that agreeing to kill someone is a step too far - yet the protags of the other 4 films, who are far worse, who repeatedly show how odious they are, who agree to murder just because they can, who blithely ignore gang rape even though they could end it in a heartbeat, who have no redeeming features and lie and con everyone including their friends, are fine? If my reluctant killer can lead people to say 'hell, no' once page 17 shows his grudging agreeing to kill in order to save his own life, then why didn't the 4 films I mentioned generate the same response - both from prodcos and the audience?

      So my question is why do these antiheroes - who have no redeeming features, who do things that should alienate even their core audience - avoid the note of 'I was with him until X but that was just too much and I didn't care after that'.
      “quandary” typo (just in case; FYI)

      Ah. At last, you phrase your question to get at the heart of what’s eating at you.

      Have you considered the era of the films you’ve cited? Payback (1999). Escape from New York (1981). U-Turn (1997). Strange Days (1995). These are old movies by modern film standards, even though they’re good films. Not all were moneymakers, but they still have a following because they’re good stories.

      There were a lot of great films made through the ’80s and ’90s. It’s one of my favorite eras of cinema. I often wonder why no one takes risks the way the studios used to do; they might be pleasantly surprised.

      Since then, though, there has been a great deal of social and political awareness, which is reflected in filmmaking as social and political correctness imbued in films. That goes for the selection of scripts as well.

      The demographics of the “gatekeepers” has changed because of the social and political climates in which they grew up and in which they now work. The old guard of producers would roll with a great story like the four films you mentioned.

      Now, though, with younger “Nervous Nellies” at the studios, scripts that purportedly “go too far” (yes, I have one, too) are rejected out of hand as unsalvageable. Meanwhile, everyone in town knows when a script is purchased it gets a complete makeover, sometimes many times over.

      Whoever told you your script went too far, I wouldn’t put too much stock in what they said, especially if your screen story emulates any of those four films’ protagonists. Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery.

      If the studios made those four flickers, they’ll make yours too. The trick—which you well know by now but I’ll say anyway—is for you to get your script into the correct hands at the correct time, and that’s plain old luck of the draw.
      "If you're going to have a story, have a big story, or none at all." — Joseph Campbell

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      • #33
        Re: Rooting for Antiheroes

        Originally posted by SundownInRetreat View Post
        Dude, read the OP before diving in.
        I read it... I'm guessing that you want some answer that confirms that your screenplay isn't bad as people are telling you?

        what's a contain protagonist? A contained thriller is something, but none of the examples you shared are contained thrillers
        Ricky Slade: Listen to me, I intentionally make this gun look that way because I am smart.

        Comment


        • #34
          Re: Rooting for Antiheroes

          Originally posted by SundownInRetreat View Post
          Payback opens with the protag being a tool and then planning a heist that will severely injure or kill
          that's the prolog of the movie, prior to the first act, then you have the first act, second act, and finally the third

          His transformation happens when he comes back for his smokes and saves the woman[which is probably the mid-point] and full realizes it, when he doesn't kill the kid

          it's an action movie and doesn't have a lot of inner monologues, mostly external conflict
          Ricky Slade: Listen to me, I intentionally make this gun look that way because I am smart.

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          • #35
            Re: Rooting for Antiheroes

            Originally posted by Julysses View Post
            I read it...
            Then why ignore the question and answer one that wasn't being asked (which I answered in my OP)?* I'm talking about 4 specific antiheroes not antiheroes in general.


            I'm guessing that you want some answer that confirms that your screenplay isn't bad as people are telling you?
            Yeah, that's it. You know me so well, it's uncanny.


            that's the prolog of the movie, prior to the first act, then you have the first act, second act, and finally the third. His transformation happens when...
            Again, you miss the point. As I've repeatedly stated, I'm talking about why readers stick with these 4 characters beyond the first act, long before any transformation, and not bail when they see show how immoral, ruthless and brutal they are.


            *It's a rhetorical question.
            Last edited by SundownInRetreat; 07-20-2020, 05:23 PM.

            Comment


            • #36
              Re: Rooting for Antiheroes

              Originally posted by TigerFang View Post
              “quandary” typo (just in case; FYI)
              Ah. At last, you phrase your question to get at the heart of what’s eating at you.

              Have you considered the era of the films you’ve cited? Payback (1999). Escape from New York (1981). U-Turn (1997). Strange Days (1995). These are old movies by modern film standards, even though they’re good films. Not all were moneymakers, but they still have a following because they’re good stories.

              There were a lot of great films made through the ’80s and ’90s. It’s one of my favorite eras of cinema. I often wonder why no one takes risks the way the studios used to do; they might be pleasantly surprised.

              Since then, though, there has been a great deal of social and political awareness, which is reflected in filmmaking as social and political correctness imbued in films. That goes for the selection of scripts as well.

              The demographics of the “gatekeepers” has changed because of the social and political climates in which they grew up and in which they now work. The old guard of producers would roll with a great story like the four films you mentioned.

              Now, though, with younger “Nervous Nellies” at the studios, scripts that purportedly “go too far” (yes, I have one, too) are rejected out of hand as unsalvageable. Meanwhile, everyone in town knows when a script is purchased it gets a complete makeover, sometimes many times over.

              Whoever told you your script went too far, I wouldn’t put too much stock in what they said, especially if your screen story emulates any of those four films’ protagonists. Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery.

              If the studios made those four flickers, they’ll make yours too. The trick—which you well know by now but I’ll say anyway—is for you to get your script into the correct hands at the correct time, and that’s plain old luck of the draw.
              I hear you. The only doubt is that these same films and characters are being discovered and loved today - especially Snake Plissken. The feedback wasn't constant but arose just enough times to generate this thread. I agree about getting it in the right hands and it indeed resonated enough to generate heat but it always niggled that this criticism appeared more than once and from readers who said they enjoy antiheroes and the 4 films of this thread.

              Comment


              • #37
                Re: Rooting for Antiheroes

                Originally posted by SundownInRetreat View Post
                Then why ignore the question and answer one that wasn't being asked (which I answered in my OP)?
                Do you answer your question with a question?

                Originally posted by SundownInRetreat View Post
                I'm talking about 4 specific antiheroes, not antiheroes in general.
                I believe that if the rule confides in a purpose, then it should apply to all, or the rule wouldn't be applicable.



                Originally posted by SundownInRetreat View Post
                Yeah, that's it. You know me so well, it's uncanny.
                like the x-men



                Originally posted by SundownInRetreat View Post
                Again, you miss the point. As I've repeatedly stated, I'm talking about why readers stick with these 4 characters beyond the first act, long before any transformation, and not bail when they see show how immoral, ruthless and brutal they are.
                Escape from NY is written directed by John Carpenter. I imagine he had a deal with the studios back in the day and could pitch projects and do whatever he wanted, as long as stayed within a certain budget.

                In late 1977, Avco Embassy announced its intention to resume production. In 1978, Robert Rehme was appointed president and chief operating officer and he convinced the company to give him $5 million for a production fund.

                Under his stewardship, Avco Embassy concentrated on lower budgeted genre films, six of which were successful: The Manitou (1978), Phantasm (1979), The Fog (1980), Scanners (1981), Time Bandits (1981) and The Howling (1981). They benefited in part from the fact that American International Pictures recently left the exploitation field, lessening competition in this area.

                Rehme left the company in 1981, having seen it increase its revenue from $20 million to $90 million.
                this made Kurt Russell a star

                Debra_Hill
                Embassy_Pictures


                Payback
                http://www.bullz-eye.com/movies/inte..._helgeland.htm

                Helgeland had just won an oscar for writing LA Confidential and later nominated for Mystic River. He wrote and directed Payback

                U-Turn
                another Oscar-winning screenwriter, but this is his first produced movie and years before him winning. The screenplay attracted a lot of heavy hitters in HW; Oliver Stone, Sean Penn, JLo, Joaquin Phoenix, Billy Bob Thornton, Nick Nolte, Clare Danes... these people were hotsh*t back in 1997 and some still are... probably made because of the genre was popular at the time, because of Pulp Fiction and had a lot of big actors attached to star in it.

                [someone at the studio read, Oliver Stone wants to make another movie and greenlit it.]

                I used to see all of Oliver Stones movies, and saw this, I didn't think it was memorable.

                Strange Days
                "is directed by Kathryn Bigelow, written by James Cameron"
                these are two of biggest names in HW, husband, and wife and I would almost guarantee no reader ever read the script... actors, producers, agents read it and all knew it was written by James Cameron [Jay Cocks]

                Both Strange Days and Cameron's 1994 action film True Lies was part of a multimillion-dollar production deal between Lightstorm Entertainment and 20th Century Fox. However, the financing was unevenly divided between the two films, with Strange Days being initially budgeted at $30 million and True Lies at $70 million.

                The real question is: why do these Oscar-winning writers attract huge movie stars with these characters and scenes?
                Last edited by Julysses; 07-21-2020, 12:26 AM.
                Ricky Slade: Listen to me, I intentionally make this gun look that way because I am smart.

                Comment


                • #38
                  Re: Rooting for Antiheroes

                  I love a good antihero. Not necessarily rooting for them, but more so intrigued as to what they're going to do.

                  This also goes hand in hand with "relatability." I don't think it's needed in every case. Sometimes you watch a film to be immersed in a world that is unfamiliar, or follow a character who different than anyone you know.

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                  • #39
                    Re: Rooting for Antiheroes

                    Both Porter and Snake are wronged very early on, before their journey begins. Porter is double crossed, shot and left for dead, Snake is forced into saving the President or he'll die. So they're doing all these actions because they want to be bad, but they're forced into it.

                    Same with John Wick, the Man With No Name and Jack Carter (Michael Caine classic, not Sly abomination). And then as Jeff said everything they then do are to people who are worse than them, or at least need to be done to defeat the worse people.

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