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.

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