Emotional Structure: Creating the Story Beneath the Plot: A Guide for Screenwriters
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unmoving. ""Emotional Structure,"" by Emmy- and Peabody-Award winning producer, writer, and teacher, Peter Dunne, is for these times, when the plot fits nicely into place like pieces in a puzzle, yet an elemental, terribly important something remains missing.
rescue Midge before he can go after his sister. His emotions are conflicting and on fire. DEVLIN He fucked a ten-year-old. Served his time in Raliegh State. Released last August. Then split. Probation officer hasn’t heard from him since. SCOTT Jesusgod. DEVLIN Listen. I need to talk to Midge. SCOTT So do I. But first I have to find her and her friend Rico. DEVLIN Rico? SCOTT (reads note) Rico. Habana Town. South Philly. She had it written down on a piece of paper. DEVLIN Oh,
dollar question. INT. FARM HOUSE—BEDROOM—DAY Midge sits on the bed looking out the window at Red and Scott. There’s a gentle knock on the door. AMANDA Dr. Willam says lots of liquids. Amanda joins her, offering her a glass of juice. She carries a simple white blouse with her. AMANDA And here’s a clean blouse for you. MIDGE Thank you. Amanda studies Midge as she sips the juice. AMANDA Is he your boyfriend? MIDGE No. I was just helping him out. AMANDA That’s very nice. Amanda
not enough. Settle in for a long look at its very clear and powerful use of the structure we’ve studied. Our deepest fears create our outer beings and none are more profound creations than Humphrey Bogart’s Charlie or Katharine Hepburn’s Rose. The wars they fight against the Germans and against the treacherous environment are nothing compared to the war they fight against the stuff they’ve stuffed down all their lives. The events of the plot force the revelations of the story. Little by little,
reveal courage or fear? Does Rachel’s response to his courage cause an emotional response in her? These are the intimate issues they will deal with, as your characters will deal with the ones you devise. But it takes guts on their part. Intimacy is bravery. I say this because there is great risk in intimacy. We open ourselves up to all kinds of criticism and judgment when we let our guard down. One reason we always find that a protagonist hasn’t revealed what he reveals in this story
Willis’ crappy, old car. But it is a powerful statement and it tells us all we need to know about Willis and the state of his affairs. It’s a wonderful idea. Clothes make the woman. Clothes are an extension of the home, socially speaking. How you dress your protagonist can tell us a lot about her. If you describe your beautiful heroine brushing her hair off her forehead as she chops firewood on her ranch early one autumn morning wearing old jeans and her favorite flannel shirt, I get a