In his play “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead” Tom Stoppard took two minor characters from “Hamlet” and used their every exit from that play as an entrance into their own play. When asked, after the premiere, what his play was about, he said, “It’s about to make me rich.” I’ve always liked that story.
I am currently working with a client on his story outline. He has several minor characters who play a crucial part in the overall plot. It occurred to me that they weren’t quite tracking correctly. That why they were doing what they were doing wasn’t clear. Or wholly logical.
I suggested he write a one-line outline of what they are doing when they are off screen… i.e., not in his his movie. This turned out to be a fantastic idea, so good that I wanted to share it.
He wrote down what they did during the life we did not see and in doing so, discovered motivations and actions that really affected what they did in the scenes we did see. What they wanted became much more clear. Why they were doing ________ to the Hero became much more clear, once he figured out what their day was like when we weren’t watching.
If you’ve ever done this, or something like it, please let me know!