Saturday, October 20, 2007

[Script] Good script, Bad script - my notes

Good Script, Bad Script by Tom Pope is a screen-writing manual that compares notable successes and failures from Hollywood. Here's what I extracted from this book:


There are no rules. This may be the single most important idea in this entire book. The only rule (sic) is that the script must work, and if it works by breaking all the accepted rules and more power to.

Aristotle believes a drama begins when the problem begins and ends when the problem is resolved.

All stories must contain both external and internal problems. Ideally these internal and external problems will resolve themselves at the same point of highest tension. Ideally the internal and external problems should dance together, one creating the other, where character creates action, and action catalyses character. If you avoid any internal conflict, your film is completely reliant upon external conflict to carry the ball.

Typically the first act ends with the protagonist's decision to grapple with the initial problem.

The second act complicates the initial problem and serves as the playing field on which the characters reach for a dramatic arc of change or catharsis, and in which action is initiated by, and in turn serves to catalyse, the characters.

The third act generally begins in a physical and psychological low point for the protagonist. Scenes with the greatest emotional weight come at the end.

The strongest narrative strategy is to build on existing problems and make things steadily worse. For example, each scene in the first act of Singing in the Rain either creates a new problem or augments an existing problem and makes it more complex.

When in doubt, combine.

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