It is said that 99% of writers get it wrong in their scripts. Let’s talk. We’ve all been there, brimming with killer ideas—a mind-blowing premise, an action sequence so hot it’ll melt popcorn buckets. But here’s the thing, folks: those are just ingredients. A truly stellar script needs more than just a situation—it needs a story, a heart-pounding, tear-jerking, fist-pumping journey that leaves audiences feeling like they just ran a marathon (emotionally, of course).

The Problem with Situations:

  • Lack of Connection: A string of cool scenes doesn’t make a story. Audiences need to connect with the characters and care about their struggles. Situations might be entertaining, but they lack the emotional core that keeps viewers invested.
  • Predictability: You can predict the flow of a situation-based script. There’s a starting point, a series of events, and an ending, often tied directly to the initial premise. This predictability makes for a forgettable experience.
  • Shallow Characters: Situations don’t naturally develop characters. They simply react to the events unfolding. Without exploration of motivations, desires, and flaws, characters become one-dimensional, hindering audience connection.

The Power of Story:

  • Emotional Depth: A strong story taps into emotions. It makes us laugh, cry, feel fear, and celebrate triumphs with the characters. This emotional engagement keeps us glued to the screen long after the credits roll.
  • Character Growth: A good story isn’t just about what happens; it’s about how it changes the characters. Through their challenges, characters learn, evolve, and, hopefully, overcome. This growth keeps us invested in their journey.
  • Universal Themes: While the specifics of your story may be unique, great stories explore universal themes that resonate with everyone. These themes can be about love, loss, redemption, or the human spirit. They add depth and meaning to the narrative.

So, How Do We Shift Focus?

  1. Start with Character: Before diving into the situation, develop your characters. Who are they? What do they desire? What are their fears? Let their motivations drive the story forward. Learn more about creating characters.
  2. Raise the Stakes: Every scene should have something at stake. This could be a personal goal, a physical threat, or a looming deadline. Stakes raise tension and keep the audience engaged.
  3. Create Conflict: Conflict is the engine of a story. It pushes characters to their limits and forces them to make choices. Internal and external conflicts are essential for creating drama and growth.
  4. Think in Terms of Journeys: Every character is on a journey, both external (plot) and internal (emotional). Map out this journey for each character, ensuring they change and learn something by the end.

As Jill Chamberlain said – if you can swap your protagonist and nothing changes, you don’t have a good movie. Situations are building blocks, but a story is the architecture. Focus on crafting a narrative with depth, emotional resonance, and well-developed characters. That’s how you’ll write scripts that truly captivate audiences.

Contact me if you need a professional look at your script or story.

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