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Cineliteracy(plot)
 

Cineliteracy(plot)

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    Cineliteracy(plot) Cineliteracy(plot) Presentation Transcript

    • Bringing Drama into Focus Plotting your film?Plotting your film?
    • Drama is about Conflict  Conflict is the basis for Drama  Audiences don’t flock to see a film where all the character’s play nice and live their lives free of obstacles.  Good drama shows characters in confrontation, in dynamic relationships that emphasize their differences and force them to transform.  Conflict must have meaningConflict must have meaning  If the conflict only consists of a problem that needs to be solved, the story will be flat and theIf the conflict only consists of a problem that needs to be solved, the story will be flat and the audience will lose interest.  The audience needs to know what the conflict means to theaudience will lose interest.  The audience needs to know what the conflict means to the characters – how does it affect their actions, their relationships and most importantly, whatcharacters – how does it affect their actions, their relationships and most importantly, what are the consequences.  Showing how a character responds and copes with the conflictare the consequences.  Showing how a character responds and copes with the conflict helps the audience connect and engage with the story.  If the conflict has no affect on thehelps the audience connect and engage with the story.  If the conflict has no affect on the characters, the story will stay stuck on a superficial level.  Good dramatic conflict pushescharacters, the story will stay stuck on a superficial level.  Good dramatic conflict pushes characters to express human qualities that reveal a deeper understanding of the story,characters to express human qualities that reveal a deeper understanding of the story, ourselves and the world around us.ourselves and the world around us.
    • Films are about a central dramatic question  Will Harry and Sally ever be more than friends?  A tennis star’s hands are damaged in an accident. Will she ever play tennis again?  A boy has had a fight with his best friend. Will they resolve it?  A student wants to cheat in an exam. Will he get away with it? Once the question is answered, the film is often over.
    • Four Types of Dramatic Conflict  Inner Conflict  Relational Conflict  Societal Conflict  Situational Conflict
    • Inner Conflict  Inner conflict occurs when a character struggles with himself.  The struggle could be anything from a lack of self-confidence to addictive and self-destructive behaviour.  Inner conflict is tricky to express on screen because… well, it’s inner.  The conflict is within the character.  For the audience to understand the inner conflict the character must reveal it.  The inner conflict must be projected outward onto something else – visually, or via voice-over, or through the character expressing his feelings to another character.  For example: Johnny Cash in Walk The Line.
    • Relational Conflict  The most predominant type of conflict is relational, often the battle between the mutually exclusive goals of the protagonist and antagonist, though this also occurs between “buddies” and “couples”.   Examples include, Harry and Sally (When Harry Met Sally), William Munny and Little Bill (Unforgiven), Chigurh and Moss (No Country for Old Men), and Dillinger and Purvis (Public Enemies).
    • Societal Conflict  Societal conflict occurs between a person and a group and is usually present in films about corruption, justice, or oppression.  Films with societal conflict often incorporate scenes or subplots involving personal conflict.   Examples include: Erin Brockovich, Hotel Rwanda, Star Wars.
    • Situational Conflict  Situational conflict occurs when a character is in conflict with a specific situation – a woman trapped in a burning building, a man hiding in a married woman’s closet when her husband arrives home, a group of stranded adventurers trying to find a way off a deserted island.  In films containing situational conflict, the main conflict is still usually relational.  Audiences need a personal connection to stay engaged.   Examples include: The Poseidon Adventure, Night at the Museum, Aliens, Castaway, World Trade Center.
    • Three Types of Protagonists  PASSIVEPASSIVE - Lump: no goals, no plans, no energy to do anything.- Lump: no goals, no plans, no energy to do anything. Part of the scenery, like colourful statues in a garden.Part of the scenery, like colourful statues in a garden.  REACTIVEREACTIVE - Goal, plan,- Goal, plan, oror pursuit; two out of three: Needs a littlepursuit; two out of three: Needs a little boost to get going, but heading toward goal.boost to get going, but heading toward goal.  ACTIVEACTIVE - Goal, plan,- Goal, plan, andand pursuit; fully engaged in quest to achievepursuit; fully engaged in quest to achieve goal.goal.  Have your characters makeHave your characters make active choicesactive choices thatthat make eventsmake events happenhappen. Force your characters to deal and learn from these. Force your characters to deal and learn from these choices as the story develops.choices as the story develops.
    • What does your character want?  Your protagonist should have two basic goals related to both plotYour protagonist should have two basic goals related to both plot (want) and theme (need).(want) and theme (need).  WantWant is the worldly plot goal to save the princess, rob the bank,is the worldly plot goal to save the princess, rob the bank, save the world, find the treasure, or win the race.save the world, find the treasure, or win the race.  NeedNeed is usually the unconscious inner motivation that compels theis usually the unconscious inner motivation that compels the character to act in irrational ways.character to act in irrational ways.
    • Character drives plot  As characters attempt to get what they want, they often get whatAs characters attempt to get what they want, they often get what they need. Need may oppose want. Needs never change in a film,they need. Need may oppose want. Needs never change in a film, whereas wants often do. A character may want to die of a brokenwhereas wants often do. A character may want to die of a broken heart, when what he or she really needs is love. Need is somethingheart, when what he or she really needs is love. Need is something the audience often starts to see before the protagonist does,the audience often starts to see before the protagonist does, watching as the character learns throughout the story. Studywatching as the character learns throughout the story. Study yourself and other people. See what makes people tick underneathyourself and other people. See what makes people tick underneath what they want and need to create believable characters.what they want and need to create believable characters.  Character wantCharacter want = Plot goal= Plot goal  Character needCharacter need = Theme goal= Theme goal  MotivationsMotivations = Why they made these decisions based on= Why they made these decisions based on want/needwant/need
    • Film & Character Themes  Theme of filmTheme of film  Controlling idea, moral message, underlying essence, or deeper meaning of film.Controlling idea, moral message, underlying essence, or deeper meaning of film.  Character theme goalCharacter theme goal  How a character needs to grow to accomplish plot goal or show the film theme.How a character needs to grow to accomplish plot goal or show the film theme.
    • Character Theme Goals  To let go of pastTo let go of past  To take responsibility for actionsTo take responsibility for actions  To find happinessTo find happiness  To find inner peaceTo find inner peace  To let go of being a victimTo let go of being a victim  To believe in something worthwhileTo believe in something worthwhile  To define new version of selfTo define new version of self  To find a balance between extremesTo find a balance between extremes  To let go of self-destructive behavioursTo let go of self-destructive behaviours  To fit into new worldTo fit into new world  To find loveTo find love  To change inner beliefsTo change inner beliefs  To come of ageTo come of age  To see perfection in themselves and othersTo see perfection in themselves and others  To let go of any fears and trust that everything isTo let go of any fears and trust that everything is happening perfectlyhappening perfectly  To learn somethingTo learn something  To change way of being in the worldTo change way of being in the world  To be honest with themselves or othersTo be honest with themselves or others  To resolve conflicting inner beliefsTo resolve conflicting inner beliefs  To learn compassion for othersTo learn compassion for others  To see the world in a new wayTo see the world in a new way  To find one's own truthTo find one's own truth  To make peace with the pastTo make peace with the past  To overcome past traumaTo overcome past trauma  To gain self-confidenceTo gain self-confidence  To redefine self in worldTo redefine self in world  To reach a new level of understandingTo reach a new level of understanding  To overcome a fear of somethingTo overcome a fear of something  To find purpose in lifeTo find purpose in life  To realize something that changes perspective onTo realize something that changes perspective on lifelife  To become a leaderTo become a leader  To create life intentionally instead of being carriedTo create life intentionally instead of being carried along by circumstancesalong by circumstances  To trust inner guidance rather than logicTo trust inner guidance rather than logic
    • The Protagonist  Make the audience care for the protagonist by having them do thingsMake the audience care for the protagonist by having them do things that make usthat make us CARECARE..  Make themMake them REALREAL by having them engage in believable activities.by having them engage in believable activities.  Make themMake them VULNERABLEVULNERABLE..  Make themMake them SYMPATHETICSYMPATHETIC by giving them loads of problems.by giving them loads of problems.  Make themMake them LIKEABLELIKEABLE by giving them personal qualities we canby giving them personal qualities we can warm to as an audience.warm to as an audience.
    • Elements of the Plot  PP = Perspective: Whose= Perspective: Whose point of viewpoint of view (POV) is the story told from? (A main(POV) is the story told from? (A main or minor character, or an omniscient observer?)or minor character, or an omniscient observer?)  LL = Lead: Who is the main character?= Lead: Who is the main character?  OO = Objective: What is the lead character= Objective: What is the lead character’s goal, want or desire? And what’s goal, want or desire? And what do they do to achieve these goals?do they do to achieve these goals?  TT = Trouble: What trials, tribulations, confrontations, complications, or= Trouble: What trials, tribulations, confrontations, complications, or opposition, will be faced by the lead character as they attempt to realizeopposition, will be faced by the lead character as they attempt to realize their objective?their objective?  SS = Setting: Where will the story unfold? (Typically for a short story it should= Setting: Where will the story unfold? (Typically for a short story it should be a single or very small number of locations)be a single or very small number of locations)
    • The Three Act Plot Structure  ACT I – The Hook (Orientation) The main character is living their everyday life then something happens that disrupts their life and sends them on a ‘journey’. Situate your lead in the problem context, establish the ‘tone’ of your story, and hook your audience in. Make me want to watch!  ACT II – The Struggle (Complication) Obstacles and complications make it difficult for the protagonist to achieve their goal, which is solving the problem and returning things to normal… eventually they find out what to do, but it is too late – a catastrophic event keeps them from their goal. Keep me engaged!  ACT III – The Payoff (Resolution) A surprising resolution is achieved (which may be comedic, tragic, or positive) often with the assistance of an ‘ally’, or something unexpected. Let me feel it was worth my time watching!
    • Creating a Cool Title  Convey the Central ConflictConvey the Central Conflict  State the ProtagonistState the Protagonist ’s Goal’s Goal  Use a MetaphorUse a Metaphor  Convey the GenreConvey the Genre  Use a Popular Phrase or SlangUse a Popular Phrase or Slang  Create a Play-on-WordsCreate a Play-on-Words  Use the ProtagonistUse the Protagonist ’s Name’s Name  Evoke an EmotionEvoke an Emotion  Provoke a QuestionProvoke a Question  Convey A Unique SubjectConvey A Unique Subject  Contrast Two WordsContrast Two Words  Emphasize a Unique SettingEmphasize a Unique Setting