Happy Wednesday! So… I compared screenwriting to God last week. How could I possibly top that this week? Did I simply just “jump the shark” because it’s going to be all downhill from here? That phrase in quotes was always used when a TV show needed to do something to distract that it was on its last legs.
I certainly hope not for I have only just begun. And I pointed last week’s theory based on the idea of an escalation that my teacher Corey Mandell (www.coreymandell.net) once talked about in one of my classes from him. He explained the difference between an inconvenience and an escalation. His idea of an inconvenience was the idea of something small like a cold cup of coffee. Would that be enough to destroy your entire day? Some people may say yes except imagine…
What if an entire piano dropped on your coffeemaker thereby not even allowing you to make the coffee in the first place? However, those are still pretty small if you compare them to someone with a weapon of mass destruction (WMD) pointed at your head. And that person would kill you if you tried to leave the room for any reason. That would be called an escalation for sure. You would not always have to go to such an extreme to get one. It’s just that you would certainly want to make life more interesting for your characters beyond making them only have to face the day with a cold cup of coffee.
We’re actually going to keep coming back to these for escalations are the lifeblood of good drama. One would even go so far as to call them the cornerstone of any conflict. It’s because they make things worse for characters if they do what was called “land.” This meant that one character can throw what they think as an escalation at another character. But it would only be an inconvenience if the character blew it off. It would need to have teeth in order to be an escalation. An example would if a character flipped his/her hair and sauntered past the person with the WMD. That would test the person with the weapon. Would s/he actually pull the trigger, or give up based on the mere hair flip? The person’s reaction with the WMD would decide if it were an escalation or an inconvenience…
And the ideal would be to put something big like that at the beginning of story instead of waiting until the end for the big reveal. It’s because it could push your story to a much higher level of intrigue and excitement than if the biggest problem your character faced was a cold cup of coffee.
Have a great night!
One thought on “Escalation vs. Inconvenience…”
Your example reminds me of the begining of the first Dirty Harry movie. Thanks for the idea!
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