Amazing but TrueComplications Ensue
Complications Ensue:
The Crafty Game, TV, and Screenwriting Blog

Baby Name Voyager graphs baby name frequency by decade.

Social Security Administration: Most popular names by year.

Name Trends: Uniquely popular names by year.

Reverse Dictionary Search: "What's that word that means....?"

Facebook Name Trees Match first names with last names.


April 2004

May 2004

June 2004

July 2004

August 2004

September 2004

October 2004

November 2004

December 2004

January 2005

February 2005

March 2005

April 2005

May 2005

June 2005

July 2005

August 2005

September 2005

October 2005

November 2005

December 2005

January 2006

February 2006

March 2006

April 2006

May 2006

June 2006

July 2006

August 2006

September 2006

October 2006

November 2006

December 2006

January 2007

February 2007

March 2007

April 2007

May 2007

June 2007

July 2007

August 2007

September 2007

October 2007

November 2007

December 2007

January 2008

February 2008

March 2008

April 2008

May 2008

June 2008

July 2008

August 2008

September 2008

October 2008

November 2008

December 2008

January 2009

February 2009

March 2009

April 2009

May 2009

June 2009

July 2009

August 2009

September 2009

October 2009

November 2009

December 2009

January 2010

February 2010

March 2010

April 2010

May 2010

June 2010

July 2010

August 2010

September 2010

October 2010

November 2010

December 2010

January 2011

February 2011

March 2011

April 2011

May 2011

June 2011

July 2011

August 2011

September 2011

October 2011

November 2011

December 2011

January 2012

February 2012

March 2012

April 2012

May 2012

June 2012

July 2012

August 2012

September 2012

October 2012

November 2012

December 2012

January 2013

February 2013

March 2013

April 2013

May 2013

June 2013

July 2013

August 2013

September 2013

October 2013

November 2013

December 2013

January 2014

February 2014

March 2014

April 2014

May 2014

June 2014

July 2014

August 2014

September 2014

October 2014

November 2014

December 2014

January 2015

February 2015

March 2015

April 2015

May 2015

June 2015

August 2015

September 2015

October 2015

November 2015

December 2015

January 2016

February 2016

March 2016

April 2016

May 2016

June 2016

July 2016

August 2016

September 2016

October 2016


Thursday, January 04, 2007

DMc posts the new, famous story of the guy who leaped onto the subway tracks to save someone else. He didn't think about it. No time. It seemed like the right thing to do, so he did it.

Could you ever get away with a scene like that in a screenplay? Possibly not. We want to know why characters do the things they do. Yet people don't always know why they do the things they do. Yet movies exist partly to help us understand the events going on around us -- movies help us make sense of our relationships.

You could get away with this if it were the precipitating incident. Man saves someone else, that puts the two of them together, putting in motion a series of unexpected consequences. A man is stalked by the woman he rescues. A man is repeatedly helped by the man he rescued, but he doesn't want the friendship, it's too weird. A man becomes famous for saving someone else, but doesn't know how to live up to that one moment where he was a hero -- now everything else seems too mundane -- and his life falls apart.

If you're going for a very realistic and "loose" tone to what you're writing, it can sometimes be extremely effective to have an unexplained moment. A very human inconsistency on the part of one of your characters. So long as you're not doing it to get your character off the hook -- so long as it causes interesting complications -- it can work. You'll know it when you see it. You'll ask your character to go one way and she'll go another way. Go with it, see where it leads you. You can always go back to the logical choice in the next draft.


The reason that wouldn't quite work in a script is that it doesn't fit into a plot arc. If it's something he didn't think about, something that just came spontaneously, then it was great but not really interesting. It wasn't a solution to a problem. It was just a moment of action.

It's hard to imagine his story, if that is the heart of his story, filling up a movie. If a character had been in danger for over an hour, and then another guy swoops in and saves the day, it would seem cheap. Maybe if the character's dilemma could be something deep and ongoing, then a momentary crisis, then a miraculous rescue that also indirectly solves the bigger dilemma... maybe.

By Blogger Andrew, at 4:22 PM  

Hmm, but it could be a solution to the problem of what to do with the character who's been jilted at the altar - a failed heroic rescue attempt ;-)

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:24 PM  

"You could get away with this if it were the precipitating incident." Like maybe if the guy who fell on the tracks went into a coma and the girl who rescued him pretended to be his fiancee?

By Blogger Vlad Tepes, at 11:20 AM  

Wasn't HERO with Dustin Hoffman and Geena Davis essentially just that?

I guess, it can, and has been done.

"It wasn't a solution to a problem. It was just a moment of action."

I'm sorry? A guy on the tracks about to get hit... isn't a problem?

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:24 PM  

Post a Comment

Back to Complications Ensue main blog page.

This page is powered by Blogger.