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Thursday, February 7, 2008

Back in the Saddle Thursday: Character Arc

Happy Thursday, good Wavers. Are we getting tired of the Week O Refreshing? Are we? Well tough nuts because read this:

Biz revving its engines (THR, REU)
With optimism spreading about an imminent resolution of the writers strike, film agents, producers and development execs are bracing for a barrage of dealmaking, says The Hollywood Reporter. "It's started already," one development exec declared. “Just in the last few days I'm starting to have more conversations. We're going to see a ton of spec scripts come in pretty much the second the strike ends."
to continue...

So it's get back in the saddle time, friends. The work is flooding back into Hollywood very shortly - even now - and you want to ride the wave about six weeks later. Yes, you read that right. I had lunch with manager and Rouge Wave friend and ally Garth Pappas the other day and Garth counseled writers to give it a few weeks before sending in spec scripts for consideration. Why? Because the work that's going to come in right now is going to be a quality tsunami from guild writers - so take a deep breath and hone those scripts not only for competition season but for any querying you plan to do in the upcoming weeks.

So. Back to refreshing. Where were we? Oh yes....

Character Arc

Main Characters have an arc across a script. In other words, they change. They start off with one set of beliefs of way of looking at the world and through the experience of their journey, they change. The main character of the script needs to have a flaw. Something flawed within the main character that will change over the course of the script. Without this inner flaw, the character is two dimensional and the adventure of the script will have no impact on them other than surviving it, getting the girl or winning the race. And that’s just not very interesting.

Characters have an outer “want” and an inner “need”. And these two are in conflict. In order to get the want, the character must fulfill that inner need. They need to change if they want to achieve their goal. And most characters are not aware of that inner need in a conscious way. But it must be addressed. So that in the end of the script, the character must give something up in order to learn and grow and then and only then can they achieve that outer want. The thing that holds them back is their flaw – the inner need interpreted and acted out as a negative.

Make sure that your character’s “wants” are active, interesting and specific. That your character wants happiness just isn’t going to fly. We all want happiness. Ditto the need. Make sure it is specific too. Because we all need patience. How about we want the job promotion (which equals more money and prestige, which equals happiness) but we need to be a stay-at-home dad (which equals paying attention to the family which equals getting the priorities straight which equals patience).

ShowHype: hype it up!

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