(500) DAYS OF… what would a boy REALLY do…?

In the same vein as my earlier post today… you must KNOW your subject, so you can have them do things they would REALLY do… not what the script needs them to do, or you want them to do…

Just came back from a campout. Some adults and a bunch of boys ages 11 – 17…

It’s winter here. Snow on the ground. This was a backpacking campout, with a two mile pack in. At the very end of the hike, just before we reached the campsite, there was a creek. A foot deep with a log bridge and rope strung so you could cross (carefully!) and stay dry. Remember, I mentioned “snow on the ground.”

Story movement is based on the decisions a character makes. Generally, poor ones. If he makes the right decision, the story ends right there.

One child (12) decided instead of using the log bridge to get across the creek, he’d just wade across. So he crossed in the creek. Water to his shins. Soaked his boots.

I watched him sit by the fire that the adults got going and POUR water out of his boots. I asked if he had any dry socks, and he said he had one pair. He also had this really stupid backpacking tripod chair and as he was waiting, barefoot, for his boots and socks to dry (about an hour and a half, maybe more), he fell out of it six times. It was not a normal tripod chair, but had “an extra element of cool design” that made it non-fuctional.

Anyway, the boy did not melt his boots. That was amazing. But he did sit there with them the whole time, except for ONCE… when, and this is my favorite part.. this is where you have to know your character, and how he or she would REALLY behave…

and he made his next, story-shoving-forward decision…

he got up, walked barefoot through the snowy leaves to his tent. There, he put on his pair of dry socks and WALKED BACK to the fire, through the snow and leaves and arrived with his socks soaking wet.

Talk about the story not ending! Follow him around for a week, this guy could be a mini series.

Of course, when I told the story to my son, he asked the key question… “Was the kid having a good time?” The answer was, naturally, YES!

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1 Comment

Filed under Details, Scenes, Screenwriting

One response to “(500) DAYS OF… what would a boy REALLY do…?

  1. Love it. Boys will be boys. And people do what they’re gonna do. Life keeps repeating those lessons for us… 🙂 Wonderful story.

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