Okay, following on from last week’s post on the importance of planning screenplay scenes in ways in which EXTERIOR and INTERIORS feature to ensure it is cinematic, this week we turn our attention to the question…
Whose scene is it anyway?
Now, while that question might seem a bit hard to answer with so many characters in a screenplay, the answer is surprisingly simple in that the majority (say 90% approximately) of your scenes should focus on and/or impact your protagonist in some way. After all, it is his or her story. He or she is the person we are following who has experienced an event that has set them on a journey of discovery where obstacles will present themselves to challenge them mentally, physically, emotionally , etc. Usually in ways that will not be resolved until the final showdown with their nemesis (whoever that is, human or otherwise).
Above is the photo of my planning for a feature (this is the 2nd or two boards).
Now, I did a breakdown of its 115 scenes and found 95 scenes were to do with the protagonist (aka ‘hero’) with the remaining scenes devoted to the antagonist (10) and other ‘tent pole’ scenes involving the funeral of the protagonist’s father, wive’s illness and death, etc (10) – but even these are a set up to impact the protagonist emotionally. Bottom line, if it affects the protagonist, it is his scene.
Message for today – check the structure of your screenplay – if your protagonist is not in the majority of the scenes you haven’t got a screenplay (unless of course you are writing an ensemble piece.)
All the best! You can find my template by clicking here and ALWAYS remember that the majority of your scenes should be focused on the protagonist.
The antagonist will have (several scenes) dedicated to him/her/ them/it with other characters (a few scenes). It is the hero we are following and interested about – Remember, even ‘B’ stories should affect the protagonist such as when a daughter resolves her issues with her mother and the father (protagonist) is affected by it.
Til next time, go back through your screenplay – if your answer to the question ‘whose scene is it?’ does not bring about a hearty shout of ‘hero’ in nine out of ten your scenes, then something needs addressing.
All the best!