Posted by: steveonfilm | May 26, 2010

Point A to Point B

When my friend Ryley got back to me this weekend after reading Served Cold, we talked a bit about how I paced and put together that story. One of the things he wanted me to try with my next project was a more straightforward point A to point B movie. What he means is something that is linear, with a clear progression of the main character who starts at point A, and after the conflict or major plot element is introduced needs to get to point B. Maybe there is some change and instead he needs to get to point C, but I think you get the gist of what I’m saying.

One of the “problems” he saw with Served Cold was that it follows a linear path for act one and act two, but act three turns into a revenge story. While there isn’t anything wrong with that, hence the quotes around problem, it’s a bit abrupt and really changes the tone of the story and in it’s current form isn’t working 100%. So we talked about some things that would help straighten it out, so to speak. But I still wasn’t following what he was saying.

He used Taken as an example. Sure, the movie isn’t an amazing cinematic piece, but it’s a fun story that’s easy to follow and keeps the audience interested. Plus it’s fun watching Liam beat up a bunch of people. But it’s also a point A to point B movie. Once his daughter is “taken” (point A), the protagonist goes after her, and we follow along as he moves to locating her (point B). Taken doesn’t do anything ground breaking, but what it does it does very well. But the whole film we know the direction of the story. It doesn’t change genres half way through. It doesn’t try to add in some crazy twist. It goes from point A, to point B at the end, with significant challenges the protagonist has to overcome along the way. Ryley suggested for my next project, I write something new that has a similar straightforward, though not necessarily predictable, progression.

I had been outlining Bystander, and had a significant amount of work done (almost all three acts), but after talking with Ryley I went looking through some of my old ideas. I found a story that I’d brainstormed pretty significantly a while back. It’s a crime drama, but with some sci-fi elements to it. It fits the mold of a point A to point B story. So I’ve been tinkering with the outline the past few days with some success.

I’ve got almost all of the major beats laid out, though act three is giving me some problems. There’s a lot of space in the middle of the act I’m having trouble filling, so that’s sort of an indication I might need to slow some things down in act two, or add in an additional obstacle at the beginning of act three. But this is the sort of stuff outlining helps you figure out. And that’s why I do it. I’d be seriously frustrated if I was on page 68 and realized I only have like three more pages of material before the story is done.

So that’s what I’m working on as I wait to get my score back on round two of the Cyberspace Open.

Until next time, keep writing!
-Steve

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