looking for screenplays with...

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looking for screenplays with...

Postby Gabby » Oct 01, 2010 11:07 am

If anyone is familiar with Syd Field's approach to screenwriting, I'm looking for screenplays with a definite "Plot Point 1" (where everything changes) and then have several scenes before they confront nonstop obstacles ("Act 2"). When I say "screenplays," I mean films that are out and viewable. Thanks.

1. Someone's life is going one way
2. Their life changes in one definitive moment
3. There are several scenes that take place after their life changes ... and before (see below)
4. ...and before ...nonstop obstacles start occuring

There is one example I have found but it's not quite right for what I'm looking for. In "Meet the Parents," Greg DECIDES not to propose to Pam just yet once she receives a phone call from her sister (so that his intention is definately changed) and then there are about 7 scenes that take place before he meets the parents, which is Plot Point 1. So it doesn't have to be that there are several scenes AFTER PP1 but if it's not PP1, it has to be some type of definitive change, where the intention of the main character is changed BEFORE nonstop obstacles begin.

I hope I'm wording this well. THANKS...

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Re: looking for screenplays with...

Postby drutgat » Oct 01, 2010 4:58 pm

Field mentions several screenplays as examples of what he is talking about.

Would those not be suitable for you to seek out?

I have just leafed through two (older) editions of two of Fields books and see references to 'Last Year at Marienbad', 'Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid', 'Body Heat', 'Chinatown' (actually, extracts and a huge amount of illustrations from the screenplay), and quite a few others.

Although various screenplays are available free on the net, they are not (in my experience) in screenplay format, so if you actually want to see a plot point, say, on page 10, you will have to seek out the 'correct' presentation of the screenplay, and that probably means being prepared to pay for a screenplay, although libraries or film colleges may have scripts that you can study.

I think that it's also worth taking any kind of suggestions about structure as just that - suggestions - rather than as hard and fast rules, because you will find exceptions to the rule, and although some kind of structure is necessary for most forms of story-telling, 'rules' about structure are probably best used as guidelines or potential ways of approaching writing.

Hope this helps.


Re: looking for screenplays with...

Postby Gabby » Oct 01, 2010 6:50 pm

Hi, thanks for your response. Yes, I'm familiar with some of the screenplays he uses as examples, not every single one, but I'm asking for something very specific. I want examples of films that have the obstacles in Act 2 not take place for several scenes until AFTER PP1. I'm looking for a transition.

Two from Syd Field, for example...

Jack saves Rose is PP1
The obstacles of their relationship happen right away b/c of their different financial status.

Andy asks Red for the rock hammer is PP1
The confrontation/obstacles happen in the prison [before and] after that.

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Joined: Oct 26, 2010 12:23 pm

Re: looking for screenplays with...

Postby AlabasterCole » Oct 26, 2010 12:58 pm

Well, I wrote this out long and eloquent like, but here's just a list:

Lord of the Rings
Greystoke, Legend of Tarzan
Star Wars, Episode 4 - A New Hope
The Hulk
Ghost Rider

The hero is living in his little world, faced with his ordinary obstacles, and he handles them barely, or not at all. Then, there's a transforming event, usually marked by the arrival of a Guardian to help him through it. Then, off to the races, and he faces much larger obstacles that won't tolerate his initial fears/flaws anymore. The crisis mounts until he's forced to make that one crucial change or fail, and of course, he's up to it after all, he just needed to grow.

I think Highlander is particularly interesting, because they start near the end of Act 2 and fill us in with flashbacks that explain everything as the final battle approaches.

I tend to think of the backbone of even a realistic story like 'Meet the Parents' in epic, Fantasy terms. There the parents are the dragons, that's all, and words and emotions are the swords they fight with.

In Joseph Campbell terms, yours sounds like a Promthean 'Fire Theft' story, where a big transformative event actually happens near the beginning of the story and the rest is a race to 'escape' with this newfound fire, as all the world tries to push the hero back or punish him for his audacity.

Dunno. Hope that is some food for though, anyways.

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