What Is He Feeling… ?

I’m working on a screenplay. What news is that? I’ve got a draft. It’s about ready to go to the producer. I am going through it “for the last time.” One of the questions I ask is, “What is the character feeling now?” At the beginning, middle, and end of a scene.

At the beginning… what was he doing before he walked into this bar? What had happened, what did it make he feel? How is he entering the bar and showing us what he’s feeling?

In the middle… he’s in the scene. It’s happening. How is it affecting him? Is it changing his (or her!) mood from the place he was when the scene opened?

And, at the end. The scene has happened. The events are just winding down. How does he feel NOW? And, where will he go next? What will he do, armed with this feeling / mood etc. that the scene engendered in him?

And.

After the end.. When the scene is over. And he’s walked out of the bar… what happens then? It’s a specific question, and it may not come up while you’re writing the scene. But, it’s a good question to ask, when you’re going through, trying to squeeze that last drop of emotion onto the page. If you go through the script and look only at the end of each scene and ask “What is he feeling?” it should be interesting to see what fresh, strong, wonderful emotional moments you will find, only because you asked the question.

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1 Comment

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One response to “What Is He Feeling… ?

  1. SA CARPENTER

    Hello,

    I find this tip to be very true, indeed. I think people can attach themselves to characters that are exposed emotionally. Examples are Rocky Balboa in the movie “Rocky” and Michael Ohr in the “Blind Side.” These characters were not confident in themselves. They felt inferior and not respected by others.

    As a viewer we could see, and feel, this about them. Ironically, there are a lot of people who can relate to this. Granted there are those who are narcissistic and will never feel inferior, but they’re a minority. People like stories that inspire. Protagonists who overcome their inferiority complex and doubts and gain others respect are inspirational.

    I think creating a protagonist who has this negative perception of themselves then writing a story which dispels it at the end is good formula.

    As screenwriters we experience what I’ve just described every day. I wrote a script and I still wonder if it’s any good. Who knows, but maybe my real life story will play out like the protagonist in my script and my feelings of doubt and inferiority will be dispelled.

    Confidence and respect, of oneself and from others, are truly powerful and universal emotions.

    SA CARPENTER

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