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How To Write A Marketable Screenplay - An Ongoing Series - Chapter 1.2

February 23, 2018

Hello everyone, and happy Friday! As promised earlier in the week, here's the next part of Chapter 1 in our ongoing series dedicated to learning about How To Write a Marketable Screenplay!

Hint 2: Rules? We Don’t Need No Stinkin Rules!

One of the most cathartic things about going to the movies is that we watch people get to do things that we would love to also try but feel unable to do - if only we were just a little braver, smarter, stronger, etc. As a screenwriter, it is your job to give the audience what they want by providing them with the opportunity to see your characters doing things that, frankly, regular people would never be OK with doing. Remember, your character is supposed to be a hero (at least in their own mind, if no one else’s), and in order for that to be true, they have to be willing to demonstrate extreme commitment to achieving their goal, whatever that may be. 

This may sound a bit too esoteric and “film school” for some of you, so let me simplify it even further – a character is most compelling to watch when they have decided that they have their mind set on a goal and that nothing, and no one, is going to stop them from completing it. If your protagonist is a bank robber who needs to pull off this one last score so that his kid can desperately get the kidney transplant he needs and he can finally retire, you think he’s going to let a little thing like the law, or a couple of cops, stop him?

Hell no. He’s a hero – his job, his very function, is to overcome insurmountable odds. If you want to know more about this in a historical context, do some further research on both Ancient Greek drama and Conrad’s Monomyth, which is great for breaking stuff like this down.

Come back next Friday, where we'll start getting into what actually makes for a compelling on-screen hero!


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