Gerald Hanks Filmography

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Screenwriting with the VOTE Method: Getting Emotional

One of the difficulties that rookie writers encounter when using the VOTE Method comes when they try to differentiate the character's Victory from the Emotion that drives them to pursue it.

In the original Rocky, Rocky states his Victory - to stay on his feet for fifteen rounds against heavyweight champion Apollo Creed.

The Emotion that drives him is his need to prove himself worthy of love and respect, especially from Adrian.

In 1917, Corporal Blake's Victory is to deliver the General's orders before the attack starts.

The Emotion that drives him is his need to save his brother from dying in a doomed attack.

Lists of Emotional Needs

If you're having trouble finding the Emotion that drives your character, several experts on human behavior have compiled lists from which you can choose the need that fits your character.

In 1943, psychologist A.H. Maslow introduced a "hierarchy of human needs" in his paper, "A Theory Of Human Motivation".

Maslow's Nine Needs, in decreasing order of importance, are:

  • Security
  • Autonomy
  • Attention
  • Emotional Connection
  • Community
  • Privacy
  • Sense of Self
  • Sense of Achievement
  • Meaning

Maslow's hierarchy breaks these and other needs into five categories, also in decreasing order of importance.

  • Physiological
  • Safety
  • Love and belonging
  • Esteem
  • Self-actualization

Motivational speaker Tony Robbins listed six core human needs:

  • Certainty
  • Variety
  • Significance
  • Connection
  • Contribution
  • Growth

The deeper the Emotional need, the deeper the connection to the audience will be.

Audiences can relate to a character in search of food or water on a more immediate level than one looking for intellectual insight.

Victory vs Emotion

Here are some ways that you can find the difference between your characters Victory and their Emotional need.

  • The Victory is unique and personal. The Emotion is universal.
  • The Victory is the "what" of the story. The Emotion is the "why".
  • The Victory is the destination. The Emotion is the fuel for the journey.
  • The Victory shows the audience what they can expect to see. The Emotion shows the audience what they can expect to feel.

Since these needs are universal, they can apply to any type of character - any nationality, any gender, any species, from any time, any planet, or any mythical realm.

Delivering On Emotion

Your primary mission as a storyteller is not to deliver a message.
It is not to present a point of view.
It's not to teach or preach.

Your main Victory is to provoke an emotional response in your audience.

When you find the Emotional needs of your characters, you'll find the emotions you want to provoke in your audience.

Contact Story Into Screenplay

If you need help with character development, plot structure, or any other aspect of screenwriting, contact Story Into Screenplay.

Story Into Screenplay offers one-on-one consultations, coverage reports, script writing and rewriting services, and professional screenwriting advice.

You can reach us by filling in the email form on this page, by sending a direct message through our Facebook page, or by emailing us directly at storyintoscreenplayblog [at] gmail [dot] com.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Post-Oscars Advice for Screenwriters: Embrace The Suck

Many aspiring screenwriters watched last night's Academy Award ceremonies.

They imagined themselves standing on that stage, in front of hundreds of industry leaders and millions of viewers around the world.

They dreamt of thanking the Academy, their agent, their family, and their writer's group as they held the Little Gold Man.

For nearly everyone reading this, and for Your Humble Author, watching and dreaming will be as close as they ever get to that moment.

When the ceremony ends and the after-party winds down, these dreamers must face the harsh light of reality.

When the dreamers realize that they'll never achieve those levels of fame and fortune, they'll start making excuses.

"I don't write scripts for 'Hollywood'."

"All they want are comic book movies and brainless big-budget action scripts. My intimate little family drama doesn't stand a chance of getting made."

"Success in screenwriting is about who you know, not what you know."

All of these excuses show an unwillingness to engage in the work that a real career requires.

Not a dream. Not a fantasy. Not a lottery ticket. A career.

If you want to achieve "success" in any field, especially screenwriting, you need to remember this:

"Success" starts with "Suck".

Your ideas will suck.

Your characters will suck.

Your scripts will suck.

Your first drafts will absolutely suck.

The amount of rejection you'll encounter will definitely suck.

The only way to achieve "success" is to embrace the "suck".

If you've been applying the VOTE Method to your scripts, you know that your characters must persevere through numerous Obstacles and apply different Tactics to achieve their Victory and fulfill their Emotional need.

(Victory. Obstacles. Tactics. Emotion. Get it?)

Why should it be any different for you as a writer?

If you want to lose weight, you have to learn to embrace "rabbit food" and early morning workouts, both of which suck.

If you want to stop bad habits, such as smoking or excessive drinking, you have to learn to embrace the cravings for those things and ride through them, which can truly suck.

If you really want to be a screenwriter, you have to embrace the putrid first draft, the thin-as-water characters, the inane dialogue, and the nonsensical plot machinations and work to improve them.

Let's face it. Rewriting sucks. It's not nearly as fun as the first draft, when you get to discover your story, your world, and your characters.

As much as it sucks, rewriting is also a vital part of creating a story that engages an audience other than yourself.

The "suck" of rewriting lets you see your story with fresh eyes. It lets you learn how to create more tension, how to drive the story forward, and how to make your characters more engaging to the reader.

When you have your heart set on achieving a goal, one action you can take to make the process easier is to seek out professional help.

If you want to lose weight, you can work with your doctor, a personal trainer, and a nutritionist.

If you want to quit bad habits, you can work with a professional counselor who can give you advice on how to manage your cravings.

If you want to make more money, you can work with a financial professional on how to save, invest, and channel your income.

If you want to write a professional-level screenplay, you can work with a professional writer to coach you through the process.

At Story Into Screenplay, we offer professional script consulting, script coverage reports, screenplay adaptations, and more.

We'll work with you to develop a script that has the main element that agents, actors, and audiences look for: strong, powerful characters with clear motivations and high-stakes conflicts.

While we can't guarantee you an Oscar, we can help to make your road to "success" suck less.

You can contact Story Into Screenplay by using the form on this page, or by emailing StoryIntoScreenplayBlog[at]gmail[dot]com.

You can also send a direct message through our Facebook page.

Let's get your script in Oscar shape!