Inner vs. Outer Motivation
- The inner motivation gives depth to the story because it explores
character and theme. It is, however, slow moving and depends heavily upon
the outer motivation to hook the audience with exciting action. For
this reason, the outer motivation is called the spine of the script.
Conflict is opposition between
characters. When faced with conflict, the protagonist is forced
to take action. As the story progresses, each new conflict must become
seemingly more insurmountable and provocative than the last.
Ultimately, the protagonist must develop a plan of action to succeed.
Both the inner and outer
stories must contain conflict. The outer story involves conflict with an
opponent who prevents the protagonist from achieving his goal. The inner
story involves conflict with an ally, such as a love interest or friend, who
is trying to help the protagonist. The inner story deals with personal
struggle so it gives the protagonist depth and realism.
Conflict can be in the form of
a dispute, challenge, deficiency, decision, threat, or an obstacle. It
creates tension in the audience and curiosity about the outcome. This makes
for a quick moving, interesting story. Conflict, therefore, is the
single most effective story element for keeping the audience involved.
It is the essence of drama!
the opposition of characters
the story forward
the audience interested
Theme is an idea presented in a story about the meaning of life or the human condition. By its nature,
theme embodies the writer's opinions about the issues dealt with in the
screenplay. All great movies explore one or more themes.
Theme is developed through the inner story line, which
deals with character growth and interpersonal relationships. In a properly
structured story, action converges as the protagonist encounters
increasing conflict. At the same time, theme expands as values of the
protagonist are revealed and tested.
If theme is too obvious it will dominate the story and
seem pretentious. It must, therefore, be implicit in the action. Any use of
symbols, metaphors, and motifs must be woven subtly into the fabric of the
story. The least effective way to convey theme is through direct dialogue.
a statement about life
developed though the inner story
be implicit in the action