ACTOR BAIT

There’s a great anecdote in the book “Your Screenplay Sucks: 100 Ways to Make It Great.”

It’s the year 2000 and William Akers, the author, is standing in line at a movie theater to see Finding Forrester. Two guys are in front of him and one says, “What’s it about?” And the other says, “Sean Connery.”

Let that sink in.

Akers says scripts are “actor bait.” He’s not wrong. Someone, hopefully a movie star people will show up to see, must want to play your protagonist. Or, no movie.

Take your protagonist’s dialogue in the first fifteen pages of the script and lay it alone on a page. No action, no scene description, no other dialogue. Just the protagonist’s dialogue.

That’s your main character. His or her introduction to the world. In those words.

What’s hot about that dialogue?

About that character?

What’s interesting?

That’s your “actor bait.”

Does an actor want to play that?

Don’t just knee jerk say “Yes!” and scamper off doing the same old same old. Go find at least three scripts with particularly strong lead characters and read those characters’ dialogue in the first 15 pages of the script, alone.

Then read your lead’s dialogue in the first 15 pages of the script, alone.

Compare.

 

~ max 

FIVE KICK ASS FEMALE CHARACTER INTRODUCTIONS

FIVE KICK ASS FEMALE CHARACTER INTRODUCTIONS

DANCES WITH WOLVES, MICHAEL BLAKE EXT. INDIAN CAMP – DUSK Several travois are parked in a clearing. It’s a scene of terrible woe. On the travois are dead bodies. Women members of several families are grieving as they collect the dead men. Some are shrieking, some are...

The Logline; Or, Contortions of the Modern Day Screenwriter

The Logline; Or, Contortions of the Modern Day Screenwriter

THE LOGLINE; OR, CONTORTIONS OF THE MODERN DAY SCREENWRITER   So I am talking to my students about pitching.  And I’m talking about pulling information for a short one liner describing story. And someone gets stuck. In every pitch, the short pitch, the medium...

HIGH CONCEPT WRITING: THE CRICHTON MODEL

HIGH CONCEPT WRITING: THE CRICHTON MODEL

HIGH CONCEPT WRITING: THE CRICHTON MODEL   If there is one writer who regularly nailed high concept [and did it over and over again] it was Michael Crichton. Crichton was one of the first writers to write a story about a scientific and military response to a...