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  1. #1
    HorrorHiro's Avatar
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    Question Screenplay/script writing, Protagonists, and Antagonists

    I'm currently in the process of of writing a Screenplay and Scripts for an (whats starting to look like) extremely long zombie/creature/monster survival story, the current title we're using for this is Death is Always an Option. It's a chronicle of stories that take place in the same universe but are at times drastically different from 1 another. Long story short the others and I have...hit a brick wall sort of, the problem is we currently are having trouble keeping an "equal" balance between these factions that the stories revolve around. Long story short we're trying to keep the "good Vs. evil" factor out of this entirely if possible. Now these factions and groups all have main characters/protagonists and those protagonists usually have antagonists in rival or enemy factions, we're not necessarily trying to keep the audience from "side picking" just from developing a concept that's simply "oh these are the bad guys and these are the good guys". We realize that's bound to happen regardless but we don't want to make it seem like we as the creators/writers are picking sides, it is after all a "chronicled story of survival" and we aren't just following 1 group or set of characters. The factions and groups do affect 1 another sometimes in very subtle ways other times the decisions of 1 or 2 factions could make or break another 1. So any help or suggestions on how to stay away from making it look like we're picking sides would be greatly appreciated!
    Last edited by nikvoodoo; Aug 23rd, 2011 at 02:59 PM. Reason: Moved from theories. Has nothing to do with WA

  2. #2
    nikvoodoo's Avatar
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    The best thing to do is try to not comment on the action as its unfolding. The way that it's shot, the lighting, eventually the music etc all make comments on the action of a story. If you, as filmmakers, want to remain neutral you have to stay neutral in everything.

    Another way to do that is to tell each story by itself and don't intersperse them with each other. Tell faction A's story from start to finish. Tell B's from start to finish etc etc If you do that, you can avoid a lot of the landmines of impartiality by telling each groups story from their perspective without interrupting it. You also get those fun "Ah ha" moments when the audience can connect the interweaving of the other stories into the current one they are watching.
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  3. #3
    HorrorHiro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nikvoodoo View Post
    The best thing to do is try to not comment on the action as its unfolding. The way that it's shot, the lighting, eventually the music etc all make comments on the action of a story. If you, as filmmakers, want to remain neutral you have to stay neutral in everything.

    Another way to do that is to tell each story by itself and don't intersperse them with each other. Tell faction A's story from start to finish. Tell B's from start to finish etc etc If you do that, you can avoid a lot of the landmines of impartiality by telling each groups story from their perspective without interrupting it. You also get those fun "Ah ha" moments when the audience can connect the interweaving of the other stories into the current one they are watching.
    That makes a lot of sense and is a lot simpler than I'v been making it out to be, thanks Nik. But if we do go by a rule of complete neutrality won't we have to brake that rule when the factions "intimately" (for lack of a better word) interact with one another? What I mean is in the beginning telling faction the 1st part of A's story then telling faction B's or C's after without interfering is going to be a lot easier then later on in the timeline when these factions and groups start interacting with each other. It's going to progressively get harder to tell another part of A's story without B coming in and trying to work out some sort of alliance with A, or even something as instant and dramatic as early on in a part of C's story D comes out of seemingly nowhere to attack C. Wouldn't that lead to back tracking stories a bit? It's not like D attacked C for no reason whatsoever. If this wasn't being written as this long series that we're currently making it out to be then sticking to that rule would make perfect sense but because we have to tell these stories in parts and sometimes these part are going to have time gaps (story wise and real world wise) things are a-bit more complicated to say the least.

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    Well its certainly hard to know if it works without knowing the plot line, but you may be surprised to find what happens when you reset each storyand tell it from beginning to end. It might very well work out. the "art" of it (if you will) is going to come from balancing which story you tell first. You'll have to assume the audience remembers the interactions they've already seen. Have you seen snatch? Something like that does a great job of telling multiple stories at once and generally shows all the participants in a favorable light....except Bricktop of course
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  5. #5
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    I'm going to make a suggestion to you right now, without getting into the details of what your story is about.

    Get yourself a copy of Dramatica Pro 4 and spend a few days going through the 'Story Guide' function. You'll answer a series of questions and be asked to create characters and settings in growing depth through the course of a very intensive outlining process. I used to spend a great deal of time struggling to formulate plots, character arcs and realistic relationships in my writing - often going back and editing pieces 10 or 15 times before I would either be satisfied or become to frustrated to continue - until going through that process. It gave me a better understanding of motivations and archetypes which allowed me to see the world I was creating with greater clarity.

    If you know a character's general purpose in the story right from the get to, you will see more clearly the arc his storyline will take and who/what it will affect along the way. Dramatica was an incredibly useful tool for that purpose (not to mention organization) as it gives you the broadest strokes and then slowly pulls you in to show you strands of the brush used to make it. You'll find that the deeper you get the more you can see what fat can be cut away from your story to tighten it up, which relationships or characters are essentially meaningless to the momentum you're creating, and hopefully that the audience is caught up in.

    I've written several scripts over the years, had one picked up, did two re-writes for it and watched it all fall apart in pre-production. Disheartening to say the least, which is why I stick mostly with novels now, but I'm always taking notes for another spec.

    I've found that the interesting relationships in stories - the ones that make for the best conflicts - are between the Hero (or protagonist) and the Mentor (or guardian) archetypes. Granted, on a larger cinematic scale the battle between the Hero and the Shadow (antagonist) is thrilling and really what most people will pay to see. Personally, I've always been more interested in the conflicts between the Hero/Mentor and Hero/Contagonist, Hero/Sidekick. If you want to avoid a flat out Good vs. Evil Battle for Supremacy, look at creating conflict within the rest of the archetypes. To me the antagonist is just the catalyst for events to give them purpose.

    Once you have a grasp on what your character's roles are in the context of the type of story you are telling, your arcs will become clear; as they are pretty much defined for you by the nature of the character. From that point it's a matter of choice. Which arcs tell the best story. One sided or not, the more compelling the storyline, the more interested your audience will be. The Hero's confrontation with his Mentor just may have more impact emotionally than the Hero's gunfight with the Antagonist does visually.

    Choose the threads of your story carefully.

    This may help you sort some of your struggles.

    http://www.dramatica.com/theory/theo.../dtb_ch_4.html

    That's my two cents.

  6. #6
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    This is a very interesting process, inventing the main characters, antagonists and pratagonists, I have always loved to be engaged in this process as a writer. I also like to write essays on important topics such as the Holocaust, you can read it by visiting my site https://tooly.io/holocaust/. This is a terrible tragedy of past years, which all students should know about.
    Last edited by ScarlettMort; Jun 18th, 2019 at 02:09 PM.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ScarlettMort View Post
    This is a very interesting process, inventing the main characters, antagonists and pratagonists, I have always loved to be engaged in this process as a writer. I also like to write essays on important topics such as the Holocaust, you can read it by visiting my site https://tooly.io/holocaust/. This is a terrible tragedy of past years, which all students should know aboutmy ip birthday wishes tneb.
    We realize that's bound to happen regardless but we don't want to make it seem like we as the creators/writers are picking sides, it is after all a "chronicled story of survival" and we aren't just following 1 group or set of characters. The factions and groups do affect 1 another sometimes in very subtle ways other times the decisions of 1 or 2 factions could make or break another 1. So any help or suggestions on how to stay away from making it look like we're picking sides would be greatly appreciated!
    Last edited by kamelkamel; Jun 25th, 2019 at 01:06 PM.


 

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