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Screenplay Structure

Sleepless · 34 · 8770

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Reply #30 on: March 12, 2014, 08:17:41 PM
Plot is a series of opportunities to present choices to your characters that allow them to reveal themselves.

That's fantastic. A much more succinct way of saying what I was trying to say in this other thread:

You can't look at plot as a dirty word, though; boiled down to its broth, all "plot" means is cause-and-effect.  It's the series of actions and reactions that drives your characters through the story.  You can't really say don't be concerned about plot, just write the story -- the plot IS the story.  Without it you just have a series of unrelated events in which characters do things that don't matter.  I've read (hell, written) enough aimless scripts that start nowhere and go nowhere to respect the importance of plot to story.  And I've used the same excuse that every writer who writes an aimless script uses: "It's about the characters."  Which is fine, but cinematically, the way you reveal character and develop character is through plot.  Characters start out in stasis, then events happen which move them out of that stasis, and how the characters respond to their new situation is the only way we know who they are as characters.  That's all plot is.  It's how we get the characters from point A to point B.
That's some catch, that Catch-22.


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Reply #31 on: March 12, 2014, 09:00:19 PM
Interesting you'd bring this up, I've been stuck for a while on a specific plot point that was the germ of my idea when it first came to me in my teens. Yet after all this time ruminating about it and writing 60+ pages on everything surrounding the event, I still haven't gotten to the meat of that scene in script format, just outlines and notes. Most of my efforts have been placed on sort of justifying what would get the character into that situation, and writing it out has taken me on some interesting detours that have made it a richer and more personal story for me, but then there's this crucial scene hanging over it all like a dark cloud, "Hey, make sure you fit me in there, too!"  So, I haven't worked on it in months now, and I think the key to getting back on track is to write the scene as it seems to continuously play out in my head and really figure out how the consequences affect his decisions after that, and does it make for something exciting to watch? I never thought about the outcome of this film, certain images just flashed through my mind and never left, so I feel like I have to honor them and see them through to their conclusion to find out if they WORK, even if they end up not being used or the movie isn't made at all.
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Reply #32 on: April 11, 2014, 06:56:10 PM
Several 30-minute BAFTA video lectures by working screenwriters:

Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton, The Bourne series)

Richard Curtis (War Horse, Pirate Radio)

Hossein Amini (The Two Faces of January, Drive)

Susannah Grant (Erin Brockovich)

David S. Goyer (Batman Begins)


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Reply #33 on: May 04, 2014, 03:57:11 PM
This is kind of funny:

Quote from: Sean Hood
I would argue that ANY movie can be interpreted as following Blake Snyder's famous beat sheet - even epic failures like Gigli, Pluto Nash, or (in my opinion anyway) Star Wars: Episode One.  What most people don't consider is that universal templates for stories apply universally to both good and bad.

In this April Fools Day blog article, I argued that the "Save The Cat" principles apply to Plan Nine From Outer Space.

Genre Hacks - "Save The Cat" Beat Sheet: Plan Nine From Outer Space