This life is hard. Really. And this is not a rant. It is the truth.
It is hard because every second of life, we are forced to make decisions, whether we like it or not. For example, you made the decision to read this post, when you could have been watching funny memes on Instagram. You will likely spend a good ten minutes reading and then hopefully, commenting below. You made that decision all by yourself.
And the effects of those little per-second decisions we make leads to the next set of options within a second – to go left or right; to read or to watch a movie; should I go to work or call in sick? (I see you😊)
Even in the script, life is hard, because just like you, your characters are forced into situations where they must make a decision that will determine the rest of their movie life, whether they like it or not. And one decision, especially one bad one your character makes, can lead to the next merry-go-round of chasing our characters round and round a tree of several other bad decisions. In fact, like I say to colleagues, you never go to watch a movie of happy people. It does not make for good viewing.
Your job is to make it tough for your characters; the tougher the decisions, the better.[bctt tweet="If your character does not have any major decision to make that could disrupt his/her/it’s life, you've not done your job." username="shadesofgenius"]
What we end up watching is a movie, fully fleshed and filled with flawed (and perhaps unhappy?) characters, told through the director’s eyes, as s/he saw the pictures unfold while reading your script. What this means is that if you fail to deliver a good story, most likely, you will be setting your director up for failure as well.
So how do we know a good story? Better still, how do we know a good story worth telling? Should every story make the big screen? Which should make the big screen and which should remain an Insta-joke?
Another decision you have to make.
Some stories are larger than life. You know if you don’t share it with the world, you might as well as close shop. Others have deep meanings. Some have magic; others have guns. Some have evil forests and others have miles and miles of blue oceans.
But the single greatest characteristic of a good movie is this – it must entertain.
This was what a mentor told me. Whether it is a drama or thriller, even if you like, all the characters should be somersaulting over each other’s heads, if the movie does not entertain, it is as good as throwing a pebble into the water in Lagos, and expecting to feel see the ripple in Sydney, Australia.
Your script must entertain. Give a director something to work with. Give your potential viewers something to hold onto. And when I say ‘entertain’, I don’t mean action all the time or romance everywhere. No. It must connect and resonate; it must touch something deep inside the reader or viewer – something exhilarating or something long forgotten and buried under the heap of life’s decisions.
So, before I type too much: what are you working on today?
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