With the help from the book “Save the Cat” by Blake Snyder let us see one of the most fundamental aspects in screenwriting.
On one of the days where we meet at Student Filmer, one of my peers shared his difficulty in screenwriting. He told me that he has so many ideas popping up in mind but unable to convert those into a format of a script. He also expressed his concerns whether people would be able to like it or at the least relate with it.
Now something striked me all of a sudden. I don’t know where it came from but I thought What if screenwriting is like solving a mathematical problem. Yes it is tough but what if you approach from that angle. What if there is a method to madness. I am pretty sure we can relate screenwriting in this way. After all everything has some sort of structure isn’t it?
Take for example say a building, forming basement is the most integral part on which you rise up the construction.Likewise, what’s the basement for your script? Now this looks like you can arrive quite easily but then Ideas are like waves which keep on running in our minds. Sometimes it is nice to ponder over many things but at some point, things would take a toll on you. We have to act somewhere. We got to take one idea and then approach with full concentration.
The Starting point is Closing the Plot
Let’s assume that we are suddenly interested in a cop’s life. What are we going to deal in this particular cop’s life? What is so endearing about this cop and his problems? Some ideas pop up and suddenly there is a good chance that before finalising on a particular idea, you will start thinking on the lines of screenplay, production design and many other things. But what is more important is the plot. Finish the plot. Because the Plot is the basement for your script.
“The main events of a play, novel, film, or similar work, devised and presented by the writer as an interrelated sequence.” This is the definition of the plot.
For example let us take a film’s plot to get better understanding. An ambitious cop selects a particular evil entrepreneur as his ultimate target and take him down. Remember the entrepreneur is pure evil! The above stated forms the crux of the plot of the film THANI ORUVAN
Now comes the second question which is going to bother you for sure, How Do we really know that we have got a good plot. Save the cat recommends these 4 points to come up with a very effective plot.
A good plot must satisfy four basic elements to be effective
1. Irony. It must be in some way ironic and emotionally involving – a dramatic situation that is like an itch you have to scratch .For e.g. two young brothers from a slum yearn to taste a slice of pizza but later regrets for having it.
2. A compelling mental picture.It must bloom in your mind when you hear it. A whole movie must be implied often including a time frame.
3. Audience and cost. It must demarcate the tone, the target audience, and the sense of cost, so buyers will know if it can make a profit.
4. A killer title for the movie. One that say “what it is” and does so in a clever way.