Friday, June 01, 2012

The Best Note part 2

I didn't set out to write romantic comedies. I don't even really like most romantic comedies. The closest thing to a romantic comedy that I have in my DVD collection is Grosse Pointe Blank. Oh and I guess Shakespeare in Love counts.

But for some reason, when I write my little action movies, I love to explore a romantic comedy style relationship. I have a sort of fascination with a woman who has secrets and a man who loves her anyway.

Writing the female characters is easy for me, obviously, because they are all me. As a Gemini, I can switch back and forth from hero to villain to meek little girl to angry evil bitch pretty easily. What I cannot do is have a penis, so I have to work a lot harder at writing interesting dudes. I can do it, but it requires more of my brain.

And that's where this next note comes in. I'm afraid I can't remember who it came from - someone in an online writers group, I believe - but it was a good one. It's a common sense note, but something I had been ignoring up to that point.

I was working on a script that had my usual dynamic - a girl who's got a secret and a boy who thinks she's the bees knees because he doesn't know he's being lied to - and they are held captive by some bad guys. He's mad at her because he's sure she's hiding something from him, so they just sort of grumble at each other until she gets away from the bad guys.

The note I got was, why don't they work together here? This way we can see them as a team, despite the problems they're having, and really get why they love each other. Plus it makes your male lead cooler. He needs to be cooler.

My male lead was okay, you see, but when you write a relationship you need to really establish why these two people love each other. And that means the boy has to be AWESOME.

Enter the scene of my leads working together. If in this moment, even through their mutual enmity, they can work together to get the bad guys, the audience can see why they like each other, and can get a moment to fall in love with the male lead.

I took the note, and one of the first comments I always get on that script now is how much everybody loves my male lead. That's not the only scene where I made him cool, but it's the most important.

So to sum up, the second-best note I ever received was to make my male lead unmistakably likable by having him work TOGETHER with my female lead to solve a problem.

I've been doing it ever since.

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