Saturday, September 08, 2007

[The Limit] -

I had an epiphany about The Limit last night.

Back in 2004, about six months before I started this blog, Andrew and I had a story meeting. We decided to trade off the simplicity of our existing structure in order to create a third act whose scenes had more dramatic potential. Last night I asked myself how you could get both the simplicity and the drama into the script. And then I got the answer.

Edited to add: This story can have a simple-to-understand presentation, have drama at the third act, or have a final revelation. And it can only have 2 of those 3 things.

As a result, I'm going to be going back and reworking the last 30 pages, chopping out probably about 10 pages in the process. I'll break a guiding principle of storytelling, and provide the answer to the main question way too early. I'm actually unsure if this will work ... but when I visualise the shape of the story in my head, all of a sudden it's cleaner, more direct and understandable, and turns it from something that the audience might feel betrayed by into a tragedy.

... assuming I can make it work.

But the thing with ideas like this is that unless the film is locked off and released, I feel an obligation to try and improve the story. Hell, with hopeless I deleted a two-minute musical number from the film the day before we locked the movie off.

And this is why I find myself torn between the joys of writing for television and movies. With TV, you get to explore characters and the situation in many different permutations (but with strict, sometimes impossible deadlines). With film, you get the chance to get things right.

-- -- --

I'm also realising the difference between The Limit and the new movie.

The Limit is an illustration of Syd Field's principle that screenplays are structure. Both character and plot serve the structural ideas in this film.

The new movie is still being outlined, but we're adapting an idea from roleplaying's Big Model theory: that when you take characters and a setting, you create a situation. How the characters react to that situation creates the plot. Breaking the story this way, with no preconceived idea of what the plot should be, has been really enjoyable.
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