View Full Version : afraid of alienating the audience

02-22-2005, 09:34 AM
In my previous drafts, I had my heroine running out of time in the third act, trying to achieve her goal (standard hollywood films.) As I'm getting ready to film, I've now decided to have the audience see her lose the battle and instead, please her mother but then in the last scene, we see that she's been actually doing the former (achieving her goal.) My worry is, I don't want to piss off the audience. I've managed to make her a very sympathetic character but I'm a bit worried that the audience won't root for her in the final act because they'll want her to achieve her goal instead (which ofcourse she does, but they won't know until the end.) Hope this makes sense.

02-22-2005, 09:43 AM
Just go ahead with your idea. You can always shoot it a few ways and try out different scene orders in post. The approach should be to satisfy yourself 1st, then test it on non-friends who don't know you're connected with the project. Use a scoring system for you audience or some way of gathering objective valid data. Once you have this data then you can start talking about what the audience is liking or not, until then it's speculation. You'll be amazed at how audiences interpret very differently than you suspect. Take chances.

02-22-2005, 09:55 AM
i've been struggling with this same thing. i think you can have you character fail the task, but grow as a person. I've watched the original Rocky a few times with this in mind. What I always forgot is that he loses the fight. But the story is set up so the main theme is Self-Respect and the last act sets up that he can lose the task, but still achieve the level of respect he wants because 'no one has ever gone the distance before.' i would be nervous to write that scene where rocky comes home and tells adriene that he just wants to go the distance because it would feel too expository for me - but it works.

I'm currently shooting a film exploring how a divorce effects kids - even grown ones. At first I had the son propose to his girl at the end of the film. Everyone who read it loved the ended. BUt it nagged me because I knew so many people struggling in relationships after their parents' split. So I changed it - it took many drafts but I think I finally have an end that I like where the character grows, but doesn't overcome.

02-22-2005, 10:09 AM
Thanks much 10s and stationhouse for reassurance. I'll be bold and go route.

02-22-2005, 05:36 PM
Rocky won, because at the end of the day, it's not about beating someone else, it's about beating yourself. Seem like that's applicable to you Victorian...

02-23-2005, 05:44 AM
rocky is also very carefully laid out. You have paulie and rocky both representing two halves of the coin - the blue colar guy who values self respect and that of others and works for it - and the one who puts people down to create a false sense of greatness and drinks his sorrows away. Everything about Paulie balances Rocky thematically - from his dirty mouth, to his $200 date at the end of the movie.

From the begining we see Rocky as over the hill - and in the neighborhood he is seen as a lug. The girl he walks home has no respect for him, his boss uses him for his brute strength, and he loses his locker to the new up and coming boxer. In the first fifteen pages he is set up as a Terry Malloy for a new age. He's alone, his apartment sucks, he has no respect. Then he gets a chance to change all of that. So the stakes are very high.

Then, right at the end of act II, he says: If I can go that distance with Creed, I'll know for the first time in my life that I'm not another bum from the neighborhood.

As soon as the fight starts we see he is outmatched and then he throws that awesome shot at the end of round one. That is set up so perfectly - in the background the announcers set up that he is not expected to last 3 rounds, etc. And we are shown how the neighborhood bar reponds to him on screen - his neighborhood image changing.

So if you plan carefully, you can have a smaller achievement with greater meaning.

He and adreiene saying I love you for the first time is just icing.

02-24-2005, 09:37 PM
I think you have to go with your creative feeling. Perhaps it will allow you to make something more "real" with your film. I think real people don't achieve a lot of their goals. People fail, they get sidetracked and they lose their way in life. Good people become jaded or bad and bad people stay bad or sort themselves out.

My point is that Rocky is a good example where it is the journey and not the goal that makes him a hero. The fact that he had the courage to dream about change even if it wasn't likely to be achieved. Failing along the way makes him more real and the individual triumph of achieving his moral goal all the more sweet.

IMHO I think a lot of movie fans want something that they can't see coming so clearly. And maybe something that reflects an aspect of life that Hollywood is often afraid to explore. The aspect where things don't go as planned and where people fail. If your character is real, and she is sympathetic, then you already have the foundation to make her failure mean something and to make her success in the end all the more important and real.

Good luck!!!

Jim Brennan
02-25-2005, 10:18 AM
One of the keys to a good story turn is that it should seem unexpected before it happens, yet inevitable once it has. My stories tend to be character driven. I always question everything any character does to see if they are staying true to who they are. If the audience can see that the character is being who they are, and not deviating from that for the sake of a convenient plot twist, they will accept it. Even if they don't like it.