FRACTAL FEATURES | 024 | Simple Plot, Complex Characters
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024 | Simple Plot, Complex Characters

24 Jul 024 | Simple Plot, Complex Characters

FF24The most recent screenwriting book I’m reading this year, and my favorite so far, is Cut to the Chase. On the process of building characters, Cindy Davis writes,

I asked my agent what studio execs were looking for in a screenplay. He said, “Simple plot, complex characters.” The answer seemed to rational, so I polled a few others in the film industry. The exact same words came ouf of their mouths: “Simple plot, complex characters.” They said it reflexively, almost robotically, the way you’d answer “What’s two plus two?”

That’s what my focus will be on for the new week, building my complex characters. Characters who come to life with authentic relationships, goals, and conflicts.

Yesterday I read the screenplay of one of my favorite movies Little Miss Sunshine, a movie I hadn’t watched in quite a few years. I was surprised that the entire movie only takes place over the course of a few days, with all of the characters (aside from a few small parts) being the six members of this quirky family.

They each had their own issues and conflicts to work out, and they also had things we loved about them. I feel that is my biggest challenge, and the thing that scares me the most – creating my own characters. There are so many choices to be made when creating a character.

One of my favorite things to say to people is when they say “I have to do _______”, remind them they “get to do ________.” I need to keep that in mind. HOLY COW, I get to write a movie! That’s pretty awesome. I get to create characters out of my mind.

Simple plot, complex characters.

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