Crisis Marks the Spot

With the help of Indiana Jones, we hopefully understand the importance of a well-defined character and how these definitions help to link together the rest of our 6 C’s.  The next one, crisis, is going to further fortify your script.  Any movie should take place at the most important moment in your characters life.  The character has some burden as all of us do, that must be  addressed.  He may even be avoiding it which can make things more interesting.

The crisis your character faces does not need to be some extreme tragedy, or trauma.  It can be, but bigger isn’t necessarily better.  The best crisis is one that stems naturally from your character that has the potential to greatly impact, or cripple, or ruin him if not dealt with.

A lot of times crisis will be depicted in the form of a flashback to some terrible incident that has caused the character some grief, but this isn’t necessary or even recommended, really.  It’s an easy choice and easy choices noy make things harder down the road.  Say your protagonist is a rock star and he’s at odds with his band because he’s a glory hog.  if that behavior that is tearing his band apart comes from some fear that suddenly everything will be lost and everyone will realize he’s a total fake, that’s a crisis.  You can work with that inner conflict and try to draw it out through external drama.

You could have his girlfriend killed by a drunk driver and “surprise” the driver turns out to be him, or you could have a scene showing him living out of dumpsters, prior to being miraculously “discovered” in an alley near Sunset and Glower.  You could have either of those things and they might be fine, but they are also the types of things that get branded with the negative expression “formulaic.”  The crisis should be obvious to you and it needs to inform the decisions of your character, but it’s important not to be too on the nose or seem artificial.

The crisis of my current protagonist is that he is walking on the crater rim that divides a unique personality and a particular disorder.  The events that follow will explore and exploit that fact.  Indiana had fallen from the true faith (of Archeology) and is running from his dark “treasure hunter” side represented by his nemesis Belloq.

The character doesn’t have to indicate it, or even be completely aware of it, but there must be some sort of turmoil in their life that needs a resolution.  You find the crisis and then you dig.  You dig?

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2 thoughts on “Crisis Marks the Spot

  1. Pingback: Indiana Jones and Character Building | cinetactical

  2. Pingback: The Importance of Quest: From Sandler to Tarantino | cinetactical

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