Yesterday I participated in a conference call presentation concerning the keys to writing what was termed the ‘profound’ screenplay.
The importance of having a profound impact is not only the intrinsic value to the writer, insofar as unveiling a more layered, and thus impactful story, but also the enhanced marketability to the screenplay reader, then to the potential project producer.
Here are the suggested basics mechanics of the model for writers to follow:
- Identify the significant change which is going to affect one or more major characters
- Open the story with characteristics which connect with audiences, such as relatability to the protagonists by showing their everyday, identifiable foibles and problems
- Establish early on the elements illustrating how characters can be transformable
- Develop journeys of transformation for characters undergoing change, which includes their arcs but raised more to life-changing issues
- Have one or more characters who are the catalytic agents of change, but who themselves may be good, bad, or in between
- Have the evolution of characters occur in a gradual way, more reflective of life reality, including not only action but also emotional and psychological episodes
- Ensure the plot includes challenges to behaviour as well as ways of thinking, keeping forces of oppression in the picture, maintaining and raising the stakes of tension, ultimately resulting in profound moments for characters to experience
- Don’t forget the importance of being entertaining, unless one is going for a documentary effect
- Bring the story all together in delivering the ‘profound truth’, which may reflect multiple layers of meaning and message
- Have a profoundly inspiring ending
Recommended films to re-watch which have displayed these characteristics include 12 Angry Men, The Matrix, and Groundhog Day.