One of the most important things in a screenplay, or a movie for that matter, is tension. Tension creates conflict. Conflict creates drama. And that’s what keeps us interested. If everyone gets along perfectly, and no one has to struggle, you don’t have a script. You have a sleeping aid.
I couldn’t help but smile when I read a story this morning on The Consumerist. Evidently, there are more people out there than just writers who “get” the importance of tension. And those “people” use happen to be judges.
Louis Vuitton sued Warner Bros, the studio that produced ‘The Hangover 2’, for including a bag in the movie that was smilier to theirs. LV claimed copyright infringement. I’d heard about the court case but didn’t really follow it because, I mean, who follows court cases as a hobby? Anyway, a ruling came down last week and dismissed the lawsuit. In his ruling the Judge Andrew Carter stated:
Alan’s terse remark to Teddy to “[be] [c]areful” because his bag “is a Lewis Vuitton” comes across as snobbish only because the public signifies Louis Vuitton — to which the Diophy bag looks confusingly similar — with luxury and a high society lifestyle. His remark also comes across as funny because he mispronounces the French “Louis” like the English “Lewis,” and ironic because he cannot correcly pronounce the brand name of one of his expensive possessions, adding to the image of Alan as a socially inept and comically misinformed character. This scene also introduces the tension between Alan and Teddy that appears throughout the Film.
Even a judge knows how important tension is to a script! He even recognized that a specific scene introduced the tension between two characters, and set up their dynamic. I wonder if he’s read Syd Field’s “Screenplay” or maybe Blake Snyder’s “Save The Cat”? I bet he’s got a spec script in the drawer of his desk.