Movies That Move Us: Screenwriting and the Power of the Protagonists Journey


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The 12 Stages of The Hero's Journey

Celebrating its tenth anniversary, the festival boasts over events, including 28 world premieres, an expanded DOC NYC PRO seminar series, and 46 doc works in progress shown to industry attendees.


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We just kept pushing [during the programming process] to include more and more films. By Scott Macaulay. Now in its third year, these always informative discussions highlight female power in the cinematic arts, from directing, to producing, to writing, to the below-the-line crafts. And for me one of the standouts was Wonder Women: Directors, featuring seven ladies behind the lens currently upending every preconceived notion about chick flicks in impressively eclectic ways.

Therefore, every professional writer should develop his or her own approach to the writing process, including the way a writer envisions characters. Personalize the process. Doing that is a part of mastering the craft. All writers have the ability to custom design personal techniques for getting characters to really speak to them. Studied writers learn the rules so well that they can eventually set them aside and finally, truly play with craft. This is done in the same way an actor can only surrender to the call of a character once he learns his lines and can put down the script.

If a writer wants to evolve beyond common storytelling devices and the screenwriting books everyone has read in order to evoke the best and most creative results from their brains, start by learning the rules. Only once a writer has truly absorbed the great screenwriting gurus should a writer consider where deviation from the tried-and-true methods will work for that writer and that screenplay.

These books lay out the rules that the well-read, smarter non-writers that work in our industry understand, so knowing that language fluidly is crucial to success in the industry. I still plot a concept during the development process in this formulaic way, which is exceptionally important when you have to explain your story to others. Therefore, it makes perfect sense for a film school to teach students the black and white concepts with definitive rules. That said, if everyone writes by the exact same rules all the time.

That explains why so many scripts read so predictably and formulaic. Therefore, some of my perspectives contradict previous notions in my character type definitions, but this is just how I see it. I have theories based on successful, previously-produced films and tricks that have lead to me having a career in screenwriting. So this final article on character types is for the writers who learned the rules taught by the masters, are ready to question them and see them in a slightly different light. It does not make me right or anyone else wrong.

What the story gurus teach is always in my mind as I make choices to subvert them when it best suits my storytelling needs. Everyone in the story industry should come up with their own perspective on how the see character and story from an out-of-the-box perspective. In the years since studying screenwriting in college, my personal outlook on character types is a little different from the traditional classifications I was taught in several ways. Here are a few of them. Some traditional teaching of major character types suggest:. Robert The Bruce is the protagonist with the full-blown character arc, while William Wallace serves as the mentor and central character in Braveheart.

He or she is the eyes through which the audience sees the story. Meanwhile, the protagonist is the character that is designed to arc change over the course of the movie, whether successful in achieving that arc or not. Those are two, very different things. Now, the protagonist is the central character most of the time, and that is the most commonly accepted way to tell a story in Hollywood.

Movies That Move Us: Screenwriting and the Power of the Protagonist's Journey by Craig Batty

That said, there are plenty of successful examples of films that do otherwise. They all have central characters who inspire others to arc instead. Characters reflect one another to make a dramatic point to the viewer that the world of the story is interconnected. They insist there is only one protagonist, one antagonist, one love interest and one mentor or reflection character. They delineate these characters into small, specific microcosms.


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Young writers need to learn to crawl before they walk, then walk before they run. Sometimes they draw those lines in the sand way too thick for me.

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They call the character that serves more than one type, shapeshifters. The theory holds true in many cases. Audrey Reede is simultaneously a reflection character and love interest in Liar Liar. Look at the character of Audrey Reede in Liar Liar. If you look at all that she does, she clearly serves the purposes of both reflection character and love interest throughout the film. Characters can serve more than a single purpose.

A cast full of arcing protagonists, love interests and reflection characters bridges the gap between college and adulthood in St.

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Billy and Jules both have to stop hiding from responsibility in their vices, reflecting one another. Wendy needs to stop holding on so tight and cast herself away from everything that keeps her from being free. Craig seemed to understand the roots of the Ian Fleming character arguably better than any other actor in the series, and the movie was dark and exciting and thrilling without losing its sense of humor.

The end of the movie when the iconic Bond theme song finally kicks in is still one of my favorite things to have experienced in a movie theater, with the entire audience breaking into applause. Hong Kong auteur Johnnie To has only ever been nominally interested in the usual conventions of the action genre, using grandly orchestrated bullet ballets as a means, but never an end.

Kim Ji-woon has always been a director interested in taking a genre and pushing it to the extreme. From his camera placement in a car getaway scene to an intense weapon disassembly and life-or-death reassembly to a take-no-prisoners finale shoot-out, most Hollywood directors could bit the bullet and learn a great deal about pacing and execution from this South Korean action spectacle. One of the most under-appreciated characteristics that an action protagonist can have is desperation. Desperation makes people dumb, but it also makes them bold, and it creates an air of immediacy that cannot be matched, even by a ticking clock.

Sleepless Night involves a father desperately trying to save his son from gangsters in a night club, and the various floors and rooms in the club mean each new scene can have a different feeling, while still allowing the same level of desperation and claustrophobia to exist. With dire gambits and clever solutions aplenty, along with some visceral action, Sleepless Night is the low-key actioner the world needed, a pretty solid pre- John Wick blend of style and action. Now, will they put that on the case of its tenth-anniversary hologram release?

Almost avant-garde at times, yet never distanciating, and always breathtaking.

Screenwriting: The Four Primary Characters in Movies - IFH Film School - The Hero's Journey

Inception is an arthouse movie with blockbuster aspirations. It is the product of a director given free reign by his studio, and a film that challenges its audience as much as it seeks to delight them. Who can forget the dream-within-a-dream world building, or the visually stunning action sequences such as the one that takes place inside a rotating hallway? Dizzying, beautifully scored and edited, and filled with memorable performances including the role that properly introduced Tom Hardy to many American viewers , Inception is without a doubt one of the most influential and respected films to emerge from the genre in recent years.

Rogue Nation is a movie that begins with an epic action set piece and never lets up.

Michael Mann has been a master of action cinema for a few decades now, embracing the digitization of moviemaking and utilizing the rapidly-advancing technology to create a new meaning of grit and frenetic energy in each of his works. With Blackhat , Mann paints his globetrotting adventure with a confident flair, rendering action scenes like no other filmmaker today.

When weapons are fired in Blackhat , they sound and feel like someone just pulled the trigger next to your face. Throughout the film, Mann elegantly strings together these set pieces, while weaving in small moments of intimacy and character beats in between. Finally, the beauty of Blackhat a s an action film is that, despite all its larger-scale chases and multi-national travel, culminates in an intimate climax that resolves itself with just a couple men and a few brutal uses of a knife. Up close, dirty, and personal. Vulgar, tasteless, and psychotically over-the-top.

Chev Chelios may be the character Jason Statham was born to portray. At its core, Crank knows what it is, and fully embraces heedless insanity for the sake of insanity. Even if some of those set pieces, like the one on the train, still rank as some of the best in comic book movie history.

Seasoning the buddy cop formula with a slasher film antagonist and an encyclopedically cine-literate style, Wright and company transcend their roots of homage, creating an alternatingly hilarious and pulse-pounding action film. In many cases, Hot Fuzz is actually more fun than the films it parodies with such affection. To paraphrase The Joker, this movie changed things forever. The fact that Heath Ledger so beautifully captured the essence of The Joker with his Oscar-winning performance, while remaining committed to the tone and the vision that Nolan was aiming for, is just one of the many reasons people will continue talking about The Dark Knight for years to come.

But for some odd reason, Apocalypto , his nail-biting epic of survival in Mayan-era Mexico, is left out. This is a shame, because it is an incredibly well-directed, relentless journey packed with such uncompromising energy that its two-plus hours soar by.

Movies That Move Us: Screenwriting and the Power of the Protagonists Journey Movies That Move Us: Screenwriting and the Power of the Protagonists Journey
Movies That Move Us: Screenwriting and the Power of the Protagonists Journey Movies That Move Us: Screenwriting and the Power of the Protagonists Journey
Movies That Move Us: Screenwriting and the Power of the Protagonists Journey Movies That Move Us: Screenwriting and the Power of the Protagonists Journey
Movies That Move Us: Screenwriting and the Power of the Protagonists Journey Movies That Move Us: Screenwriting and the Power of the Protagonists Journey
Movies That Move Us: Screenwriting and the Power of the Protagonists Journey Movies That Move Us: Screenwriting and the Power of the Protagonists Journey
Movies That Move Us: Screenwriting and the Power of the Protagonists Journey Movies That Move Us: Screenwriting and the Power of the Protagonists Journey
Movies That Move Us: Screenwriting and the Power of the Protagonists Journey Movies That Move Us: Screenwriting and the Power of the Protagonists Journey
Movies That Move Us: Screenwriting and the Power of the Protagonists Journey Movies That Move Us: Screenwriting and the Power of the Protagonists Journey
Movies That Move Us: Screenwriting and the Power of the Protagonists Journey Movies That Move Us: Screenwriting and the Power of the Protagonists Journey

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