heath-ledger-dark-knight-production-stills-warner-bros-10054
There’s a reason I’m busting out The Dark Knight for this week’s Ten Tips. This weekend I experienced a super-human catastrophe in Man of Steel. And I want to look at an actual well-made superhero film to see how to do it right. What’s interesting here is that two of the major players are the same in both projects (Christopher Nolan and David Goyer). The big flashy addition is Zack Snyder, which tells me that his paws may have been the ones that dirtied up the Man of Steel waters. With that said, I’m not going to pretend like The Dark Knight is some tour de force in screenwriting. I’ve battled many a time with this screenplay and feel that it has just as many weaknesses as it does strengths. With that said, it’s a far superior screenplay to Man of Steel, particularly in the area of character. So let’s see what we can find when we compare the two behemoths.  I suspect some some nifty tips!

1) Give us a main character who’s active – It’s one of the simplest and often-stated screenwriting rules there is, and yet us screenwriters constantly forget it, finding ourselves 60 pages into our screenplays and wondering why they’re so boring. One only needs to watch Man of Steel to see how an inactive main character can destroy a movie. It makes them (the main character) bland, which forces the story/plot to work overtime to overcome this issue. That’s likely why we had so much overplotting in Man of Steel. The writers sensed something was wrong but couldn’t figure out what, so they just kept ADDING MORE PLOT. The simplicity of having an active main character is that they forge forward, carving out the story on their terms. Look at Bruce Wayne. The guy wants to make a difference so he creates Batman to do so. He WANTS to fight crime and clean up the streets, so he’s always out there actively pursuing that.  Superman in Man of Steel is the opposite.

2) Beware the reluctant protagonist – Building on that, Man of Steel made me take a hard look at the reluctant protagonist. By “reluctant,” I mean a character who’s reluctant to engage in the central conflict of the film. That’s Clark Kent. He’s reluctant to get involved in the world’s problems. A big reason this doesn’t work is because by being “reluctant,” you’re basing the entirety of your hero on a negative trait – avoidance – which pretty much goes against everything that’s fun about movies (our hero ENGAGING in the adventure). There are movies where it works (Michael Corleone in The Godfather) but it usually doesn’t, especially in action movies. The word “reluctant protagonist” now scares me. It should probably scare you too.

3) Just tell us what’s happening dammit – I’ve read a few amateur screenplays recently where the writer tries to do way too much with their action description. They write stuff like, “Sweat glistens off Joe’s knuckles as he wrestles the gun out of his pocket.” There are times where you want to add a little flair to your writing, but for the most part, just tell us what’s happening. Here’s how Jonathan and Christopher Nolan write an early scene before the bank robbery in The Dark Knight: “A man on the corner, back to us, holding a CLOWN MASK. An SUV pulls up. The man gets in, puts on his mask. Inside the car – two other men wearing CLOWN MASKS.” These are two of the top writers in the business and every word in that description is something a third grader would understand.

4) “A&P” (An Active main character with Personality) – The character type who’s typically the most fun to watch is ACTIVE (making his own decisions and pushing the story forward himself) with PERSONALITY (is charming or funny or clever or smart or a combination of all these things). Look no further than one of the most beloved characters of all time, Indiana Jones, to see how that combination works. Or Iron Man. Or Sherlock Holmes. While I wouldn’t say Bruce Wayne is going to open at The Laugh Factory anytime soon, he does have a personality, likes to have fun with his money, and has a sense of humor. Combined with his desire to fight crime (being active), he’s got the coveted A&P. Superman in Man of Steel has neither the A or the P, which is why he’s so forgettable. As a rule, try to have the A and the P for your protag. If you can’t, give him the A or the P. If you can’t give him either, I guarantee you you have a boring protag.

5) Backstory is the enemy – Remember that superhero origin stories are by definition required to show us the backstory that led to our hero becoming who he is. In the real world of spec screenwriting, backstory is the enemy. Unless there’s some really unique or traumatic or shocking thing that happened in our character’s past, don’t show us. And if you do, show us only the bare minimum of it. It can even be boiled down to a quick expositional sentence if you do it right. Batman Begins handled its backstory a lot better than Man of Steel, but in both cases, the main plot (taking down the Scarecrow and Zod respectively) had to be pushed to the second half of the script, something that will never be accepted in the spec arena.

6) Invisible Backstory is your friend - You may not tell us a single thing about your main character’s past, yet you – the WRITER – should know everything that happened to your hero since the day he was born.  This knowledge leads to SPECIFICITY OF CHARACTER, a character who is unique because of the extensive “real” life he’s lived in your imagination.  The less you know about your hero, the less specificity you’ll be able to infuse him with, which leads to genericness.  This is one of the quickest ways I can differentiate the boys from the men in screenwriting.

man-of-steel-flag2

7) Conflict is your weapon against exposition – One of the earlier scenes in The Dark Knight has Bruce talking to Alfred about needing improvements to the Bat Suit as well as getting info on the new District Attorney (who’s dating Rachel). It’s a straight forward exposition scene and, for that reason, one of the more forgettable of the film. Contrast this with when Bruce meets Harvey Dent (the District Attorney) out for dinner. Harvey’s with the love of Bruce’s life, Rachel, and Bruce has brought along a hot ballerina. There’s a lot of exposition in this scene, mostly in regards to Harvey trying to save the city, but the scene is fun because of the conflict: Wayne sizing up Harvey and the jealousy between Bruce and Rachel. Conflcit is your weapon against exposition. Use it whenever the evil EXPO rears its head (Nolan forgot this simple rule in Inception, which is why so many of his early scenes are boring. They’re pure exposition with zero conflict).

8) Brains over brawn – I think one of the reasons Batman is more popular than Superman is because he can’t just fly away. He can’t just use his heat vision to burn a hole through a guy. He’s gotta use his brains. Granted, he’s got a lot of money and that money has created a lot of gadgets, but Batman’s way more dependent on his wits than his powers. I bring this up because I read so many scripts where the writer gets his hero out of a battle with a gun or a roundhouse kick or a superpower. The thing is, it’s always more rewarding when the hero uses his wits (his INTELLIGENCE) to get out of that situation. So always look to your hero’s mind to solve his problems, first.  Only use physical force as a last resort.

9) Have your bad guy earn his keep – Whenever I re-read The Dark Knight, I’m always studying the villain, since the Joker is one of the most famous villains of all time. He’s lasted decades, whereas most villains last the two hours that make up the film (Die Hard With a Vengeance anyone?). Upon reading The Dark Knight, I realized that for truly timeless villains, you gotta like them a little bit. And I think one of the reasons we like watching The Joker is because the guy earned his keep. He wasn’t handed anything. He had to rob a bank and infliterate and intimidate the biggest baddest nastiest dudes in town. As crazy as it sounds, we kind of respect him for that, and it makes us sorta like him. So make your bad guy earn his keep. We’ll respect him (and actually like him) more.

10) Rational vs. Irrational Villains – Something I noticed while comparing The Dark Knight to Man of Steel, is that they have two polar opposite villains. General Zod is rational and calculated and has strong reasoning for doing what he’s doing. The Joker, on the other hand, is irrational and unpredictable and confusing. No doubt The Joker is the much scarier of the two. Through this, I learned the value of bad guys who are a bit unpredictable, a bit out of control. When you think about it, those are the scariest people in life because they don’t have that “rational” button you can push. I was never scared of General Zod cause the guy was just so darn rational.

These are 10 tips from the movies “The Dark Knight” and “Man of Steel.” To get 500 more tips from movies as varied as “Aliens,” “Pulp Fiction,” and “The Hangover,” check out my book, Scriptshadow Secrets, on Amazon!

  • Panos Tsapanidis

    I don’t know if you intend to write another book, but if you do, I suggest writing its tips the way they are in this article. Identify Errors in a movie -> Point out great solutions from other movies.

    • Jonathan Soens

      I agree. I think comparing two specific movies is interesting in that way.

      As I said in the “Man of Steel” review the other day, I liked the movie. Obviously it can’t compete with “Dark Knight” because a sequel doesn’t have the “origin story” baggage weighing it down. I think “Batman Begins” is the better comparison.

      Still, I like seeing smart screenwriting minds look at two similar movies (in this case, super hero stuff) and breaking down why one worked while the other didn’t.

      I bought Carson’s first book and enjoyed it, and I’d be interested in a 2nd one that uses more of these comparisons.

      • Panos Tsapanidis

        Exactly.

        Also, in my case, I get to make a lot of mistakes (as an inexperienced writer) and when I see my mistake written on Carson’s book/article it hits me right in the face. I say “damn, I did that too!” And when the solution for that mistake follows right after, is godsend!

        It’s easier to identify immediately my mistake when Carson mentions it in his writing than reading good tips and try to find a way to incorporate them in my script.

  • Chris Leonard

    Interesting points but I think you were stretching it a bit to suggest the Dark Knight was that much better than Man of Steel (Joker aside). I think yesterday’s review could easily be applied to any of the Batman films (especially the first two with their long episodes of origin story and exposition), and in the third Batman film we had the ultimate passive protagonist – he seemed to spend most of the film lying on his back at the bottom of a hole!

    • Ken

      Not only does Batman spend a lot of the time in a hole, he was also RETIRED at the start of the movie!

  • martin_basrawy

    Carson – I haven’t read this article yet but I just want to applaud you for getting more and more articles out earlier in the day. Keep it up! :)

  • leitskev

    Maybe this is sacrilege to say in some corners, but the Joker is literally the only good thing about Dark Night. And the Joker character is brilliantly written and acted, so that does elevate the story. But if you take that away, and put in a more bland villain, Dark Night is just not a good story at all. Bruce Wayne is a very difficult hero to relate to, and the plot is muddled and inconsistent. It’s funny how a few memorable moments have such an impact on how we perceive a story overall. The Joker’s brilliance has so enhanced our perception of the film, that many of us end up overestimating the other choices made in constructing the story.

    • Panos Tsapanidis

      Ledger’s Joker is my favorite all-time villain. But I think moments like the one with the two boats carrying civilians and prisoners (one of the few times a cheesy resolution didn’t bother me) or the opening scene with the bank, could be put in an other movie with an other villain and they would still work brilliantly. They are smart and very well written.

      The bank robbery introduces a villain that is incredibly smart and it does it very simply. I think this scene could become a great introduction to any villain in almost any movie. And because of its simplicity it makes say “why didn’t I think of this?”

      • leitskev

        Yes, and again, it’s the Joker or the Joker’s work that most engages us.

        I’m not trying to bash the movie, because I will go see any Nolan production, because I totally condone the intelligent plots he tries to create.

        I personally think exposition sometimes has more value than many screen gurus allow. But here’s the thing: it should be exposition that either builds an interesting world, an important part of the theater experience…or it should be exposition which builds the character in such a way that the audience bonds with him.

        So while I have not seen Man of Steel, I am not bothered by the world building opening. In fact, that helps sell the movie to me.

        And consider the Joker relating the story about his mother. That does not move the story forward at all. But it’s brilliant! It draws us to the Joker even as we root for Batman to defeat him. Compelling stuff.

        The problem with much of Nolan’s expo is that so much of it is just complicated plot stuff. You have to work hard to follow it, and when you do, there is really no reward for it.

        Also, as far as Superman, I like the idea of the reluctant hero. It makes him a sympathetic character, which is hard to do when a guy can do pretty much anything. I think as a general rule it’s helpful to have an active protag, but like most “rules” in the screenwriting world, this gets overemphasized. The important thing is that we care what happens to the character. We often feel more strongly toward an active character, thus the “rule”, but it’s not always the case. The anti-hero has always had a strong appeal, and this gets lost when people try to break screenwriting down into rules.

        I like Carson’s approach…as a ‘rule’…because it’s more practical than theoretical, and because he adapts over time. He has his rules too, though!

        • Panos Tsapanidis

          leitskev, don’t worry, I never assumed from your previous comment that you were trying to bash the movie.

          I think Dark Knight showed what happens when a cleverly written scenes are elevated by one of the best performances. It’s that chemistry that makes a scene… classic.

          I honestly can’t speak without having seen the movie. Not sure when it opens in Sweden.

          I think if the world-building and the characters in it are closely related to what’s going to happen in the main plot of the movie then I embrace the idea. If they show me 30 minutes of exposition and in the end they just show to us that Superman’s father sent him to Earth because their planet was dying (for whatever reason) then I’ll be bored.

          I’ve always liked anti-heroes and that’s why I never liked Superman. He’s too perfect, too squeaky clean and WAY TOO powerful. But that doesn’t mean that I like a melancholic whiner. I hope the new Superman is not one.

          I just read and then watched Training Day. I loved how the movie moves. Alonzo is ALWAYS on the move and with him our hero who although doesn’t have any say on the direction the two are moving to he still doesn’t come out as passive. Also, the one time that he’s taking initiative (when he saves the girl) becomes a major plot point. And… I think I’m off subject. What were we talking about?

          Up, up and away!

          • leitskev

            Great point on Superman! I hated the first Superman film because of the time reversal ending. I mean, why not do that all the time? It’s cheating! You lose, you get a do-over?

            Batman has to work for it. And the bat works at night, which makes him mysterious, almost invisible. And the very fact that he does so suggests some deep flaw that he is struggling with.

            True, no one wants a whining hero, but a brooding one, who as an outsider is reluctant to get involved, but who in the end responds to the call for the hero…that has appeal.

          • Panos Tsapanidis

            Good point about Batman being a creature of the night. Superman on the other hand appears whenever wherever. And the lamest of all? He just wears glasses and a suit and no one connects the dots. At least the got rid of that.

            Good point on the brooding hero but kind of dangerous. Reminds of me of Rocky. Was it the second movie that Apollo wanted a rematch and he avoided it? Anyhoo, I guess we have to see the movie to see how they executed it.

          • GeneralChaos

            Batman – “My parents were killed. Waah!”
            Superman – “So were mine, and my foster dad died. Get over it.”

          • Panos Tsapanidis

            I think Batman got over it pretty smoothly by getting that feline chick in the end. ;)

  • Poe_Serling

    You dirty dog, Carson… I was all revved up for your top ten screenwriting tips from the film Pitch Black and writer/director David Twohy. :-(

    But I must admit that today’s article ties in nicely with yesterday’s post. My favorite tips from above: have your bad guy earn his keep and just tell us what is happening.

    Just had a quick thought here: it would’ve been kind of fun to see what kind of script a writer like Twohy would’ve churned out if he had written the Man of Steel script. I’ve always found him to be a smart and imaginative screenwriter.

    Though Twohy nowadays has his stake firmly planted in the B-movie territory (The Arrival, Pitch Black, Below, A Perfect Getaway), he had the opportunity to pen a couple of big-budget studio films back in the day – namely The Fugitive and Waterworld.

  • ThomasBrownen

    This has already been discussed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FywMOuMqNuI

    • Poe_Serling

      This is perfect. Carson is into cartoons of late.

  • JakeBarnes12

    A corollary to the advice about having an active protagonist is understanding what being active means.

    It’s not a protagonist who acts.

    It’s a protagonist who has a clear goal and has a clear PLAN to achieve that goal, and acts to put that plan into operation.

    Why the heck am I splitting hairs about this?

    Because you can have a protagonist who’s running, jumping, shooting, etc. and it’s all in REACTION to the villain. At some point, and seems to me the sooner the better, the protagonist needs to formulate his or her plan and act on it.

    • JakeMLB

      You could boil this advice down to being active without direction is no better than being passive.

      I know Carson is still on the passivity of Superman in MOS but for that character, given his powers and their potential for misuse, it actually makes sense — particularly in Superman’s origin story. In fact, I have trouble imagining it any other way. And Superman is somewhat active once the main conflict presents himself (albeit far too late into the story). However…

      I’ve been mulling over the difference between an active and passive protagonist and I’ve settled on this:

      CHOICES.

      A strong, active character is one who makes CHOICES. Because making a choice is the definitive form of action. It’s not just being active for the sake of being active. It’s choosing a course of action — even one that might be wrong (hello FLAW).

      How many choices did MOS actually make? One. To turn himself in. The rest of his hand was forced. And therein lies the problem.

      And this actually speaks to the weakness of the Andre character from PATISSERIE. He made no CHOICES. Only one. 

      So to build on Jake’s point, a PLAN is what enables our character to make CHOICES. But we actually have to see them make those choices. And it can’t just be one. It can’t just be that major choice that defines the climax of the film. We have to see choices leading up to that moment, some or most of which turn out to be bad. Because that’s what makes that final choice so difficult.

      This even gets to the basics of screenwriting structure. THE INCITING INCIDENT and the REFUSAL TO THE CALL TO ACTION. Our character has to make a choice to set out on their journey. If their hand is forced, as it is in MOS, it’s far less dramatic.

      So what prevents a character from making choices? Poor or contrived plotting and not enough character depth. If the writer doesn’t know their character then they can’t possibly know the choices they make. And of course, strong conflict, secondary characters and plotting are necessary to place the protagonist in a position to make difficult choices. No small feat.

    • filmklassik

      Jake, please see my post below about CASABLANCA which is THE quintessential Hollywood melodrama and arguably the most popular motion picture ever made. How long since you’ve seen it, by the way? Watch it again. TCM plays it every two or three months or so and it just keeps getting better with age. (Maybe because Hollywood movies are getting worse!)

      And keep in mind that Rick Blaine, the reluctant hero of that movie, has a core of nobility but doesn’t have a PLAN per se, and doesn’t really take direct action, until twenty minutes from the end.

      I’m going to say that again. It bears repeating. HE DOESN’T TAKE ACTION UNTIL 20 MINUTES FROM THE END.

      And it all works like gangbusters.

      George Stevens’ SHANE is the same way.

      And so is THE ROAD WARRIOR.

      Would love to hear your thoughts about all this, because the stories we tell one another haven’t changed dramatically or exotically over the years. They never will. Only the means by which we tell them.

      • http://actfourscreenplays.com/ StoryMapsDan

        I agree that some of our greatest movie protagonists have been reluctant heroes. If you’re talking about a superhero movie or a thriller, the best thing about the reluctant hero is building up to that moment when they finally decide to kick ass and they have their “Declaration of War” or “Assumption of Power” moment. If done right, it should be exhilarating for the audience/reader. I think Man of Steel could have done a better job in executing this, but that was definitely how they structured it.

        • filmklassik

          Agreed — although I do think MAN OF STEEL did it pretty well, actually.

          But yeah, I don’t understand all the criticism over the idea of a passive character reacting to events until his “big turn.” This objection is crazy and historically doesn’t hold water, but you’ll notice we aren’t seeing any apostles of the Church of the Active Protagonist shooting down my argument about CASABLANCA. Because they can’t.

          Bring up Rick in CASABLANCA and they’ll pretend they didn’t hear you… or stammer something about how CASABLANCA is an “old” movie and therefore irrelevant to the demands of modern storytelling, despite it being one of those movies that continues to mesmerize new audiences 70 years after it first came out.

          So again, this rule (or even guideline) about the protagonist always having to be active is absurd to me, and I don’t know why it is being promoted so much.

  • Jonathan Soens

    Number 9 is a great point about how refreshing the Joker character was.

    Ordinarily,in the hands of most writers, they’d have a guy like the Joker acting as a supervisor during that opening scene bank robbery. They’d have him spouting catch phrases and acting threatening while his “goons” do his work for him.

    And if they did decide to have the villain roll up their sleeves and do anything, it probably would’ve just been to hurt a civilian (or hurt one of their “goons” as punishment for screwing something up) just to show their willingness or inclination to hurt people.

    Instead, he orchestrates the deaths of his entire team of robbers. That shows how dangerous he is, but also how smart and calculating he is to cut out all his partners so nobody else gets a cut of the money. It shows those things in a really fresh way.

  • gazrow

    Some great tips here, Carson! I particularly liked: 2) Beware the reluctant protagonist. And 5) Backstory is the enemy.

    OFF-TOPIC – Have to say I was overwhelmed by the fantastic response I got following my plea for help with the logline for my contained supernatural thriller. See: Understand What Agents Want – June 6, 2013.

    There was lots of great input and suggestions, for which I’m truly grateful. SS really is the best!

    I owe a special thanks to: wlubake, Citizen M, Kay Bryen and Linkthis83 who went that extra mile and crafted a logline for the script. I can honestly say, each and everyone one of their loglines was better than mine.

    After careful consideration, I decided to go with wlubake’s because I feel it best encapsulates the script and is also a pretty damn good logline imo:

    When a bed-ridden teen discovers his online crush is a ghost, he enlists the help of a psychic to investigate her death, leading him on a hunt to stop her killer before he strikes again.

    Some folks have asked to read the script, which is pretty cool, particularly as Carson is encouraging us to provide a link to our work.

    However, before I post the link and purely for fun, I’m going to issue a CHALLENGE.

    I defy anyone to see the twists coming! – Particularly, the mid-point twist and double-twist ending!

    Anyone who claims they did, has to e-mail me saying when (what page?) and HOW they saw the twist coming?! (my e-mail is on the title page)

    http://www.sendspace.com/file/6wzscx

    Thanks guys!

    • Poe_Serling

      I’ve had the opportunity to read a couple of drafts of this script, and I must say I found it to be a nifty contained thriller with some inventive twists and turns.

      • gazrow

        Thanks, Poe! Means a lot!

    • Jonathan Soens

      I remember that thread where everyone got to talking about the premise. And I remember thinking that I wasn’t sure how the online, computer stuff would play on-screen.

      But I just saw a commercial for the upcoming second season of “Catfish,” the TV show about people who meet online. And it reminded me that that show (and the movie it was spun off from) constantly uses shots of things that are said/written over text or on those kind of social media sites, and it can work perfectly fine.

    • Maggie Clancy

      Definitely going to read this – it’s cool that you were able to get feedback – Scriptshadow is such a cool community.

      And thanks for the tips, Carson! If anyone wants to give me pointers on this bad boy, I wouldn’t mind!
      THE OVEN – When a death obsessed 11-year-old discovers that his funeral director of a father is burning bodies for extra cash, he can’t help but be sucked into the adult criminal world and its consequences. http://bit.ly/12Hm7yQ

      • gazrow

        Will try and check your script out later. Busy writing my zombie masterpiece!l lol

      • Malibo Jackk

        Could be just me — but I think the following detracts from your logline:
        ’11-year-old’ (unnecessarily specific)
        ‘his funeral director of a father’ (awkward)
        ‘adult criminal world’ (we assume his father is an adult)

        My suggestions:
        ‘a death obsessed young boy’
        ‘his funeral director father’
        ‘the criminal world’

        (It’s only one person’s opinion.)

    • Linkthis83

      Thanks for sharing your script, gazrow. I can’t wait to read it!!

      • gazrow

        Thanks! It’s great so many people have responded to it. That’s what makes SS the best!

    • jaehkim

      I will read it.

      • gazrow

        Cool. Hope you like it!

    • JakeBarnes12

      He’s a ghost.

      She’s a dude.

      It’s a sled.

      I demand my iPad 3.

      • gazrow

        Hmmm. You obviously haven’t read it. Sorry, no iPad 3 for you. lol :-)

  • MayfieldLake

    A fascinating bad guy. One of the greatest rules of storytelling in any medium is that we want to spend time with characters we want to spend time with. It’s so obvious it’s hard to see. Whether it be the hero or an antagonist. If we don’t enjoy watching/reading about them, the story suffers. The Joker was so fascinating and interesting and clever and unique that when we cut to his scenes in TDK we as viewers don’t suffer through them just so we can get back to Batman’s scenes.

    • Jonathan Soens

      That’s an interesting point, that we want to spend time with the characters we want to spend time with. And there’s no denying people would have been clamoring for more of him if the actor playing him hadn’t died.

      I wonder, if Heath Ledger hadn’t died, how they would have handled things. If I recall, I don’t think Joker died at the end of the 2nd movie. And I’ve read a piece or two online speculating about where the Joker’s character was (hypothetically) during the action in the 3rd movie.

      If they’d had the option to bring back the Joker for the 3rd movie, would they have done that? Would he have been the main villain and had the whole movie built around him, or would he have just gotten a brief appearance like the Scarecrow character got during the chaos of the city being run by the criminals?

      • DrMatt

        I think it would’ve been a completely different (and better) film than the one we got. Nolan said in many interviews at the time that he was profoundly affected by Ledger’s death and the plan was always to have the Joker come back since he’s Batman’s arch nemesis. If anything, I think they would’ve had him escape Arkham halfway through the film and that would be the mid-point turn to ratchet up the tension and action.

      • Panos Tsapanidis

        I think after Ledger’s performance, the studio would push REALLY hard his return in the 3rd one. For them it would mean tons of sold tickets with no marketing expenses.
        The big questions is, would he get the oscar if he didn’t die?

  • ElectricDreamer

    Off-topic…

    Was wondering if there’s an ETA on that TV Pilot Week scheduled for May?

    Good to see more posts here lately.

    Methinks that TV week will garner similar results.

    • wlubake

      Early article = more comments. Carson’s been on his game recently.

    • AJ

      Just post a link to your pilot and people will give you strong feedback. If it’s great, word of mouth will do the rest!

  • MWire

    Nice article. While I agree with #10, Rational vs. Irrational Villains, Hans Gruber (Die Hard) is often identified as one of the all time great movie villains. And he’s nothing if not rational. I always thought that Hans, as written, wasn’t all that great but it was just Alan Rickman’s performance that elevated the character.

    But your mileage may vary.

    • jaehkim

      I agree about the performance. if someone else played the joker and sucked, we wouldn’t remember him as well. I wonder how much of a villian’s memorability is script vs the actor’s interpretation.

      • Jonathan Soens

        I think it’s a pretty even split.

        Because God knows I’ve seen plenty of movies where you just know they wrote the villain part pretty thinly while thinking, “Well, we’ll just bring in a Gary Sinise type to play it really intense and shout a lot, and people will totally understand that he’s a scary bad guy.”

        And I’ve seen plenty of movies where I came out thinking, “Huh. I don’t know how they blew that villain role, because I thought the writing was there, but I just couldn’t bring myself to be afraid of him the way that actor played him.”

        • J.R. Kinnard

          I think the introduction of the villain is the most critical thing for me. If he gets off to a great start, I will stick with him (even if he fades in the end).

          Silva, from “Skyfall,” isn’t the greatest villain, but his introduction scene is a classic. That slow walk toward camera while telling the story about the rats… he was set for the entire movie because of that one brilliant scene.

  • Jerry Salvaderi

    Isn’t the reluctant hero a classic archetype? Luke Skywalker comes immediately to mind; he only engages the central conflict when he is left without any other options (he even rebuffs Obi Wan’s initial offer to travel to Alderan and learn the Force). Of course, Luke is an active protagonist after that – which, I believe, underlies the point you were making – but the initial reluctance does offer a bit of intrigue in the storytelling.

    • grendl

      Yes.

      They start out reluctant often moving to a proactive stance as their defensive mechanisms, running away, seeking allies fails them and it becomes more and more clear they have to stand up and face their deepest fears.

      Where’s the moderator today?

      • Ken

        Which is what happens in MOS.

  • DD

    oooh I like that EARN YOUR KEEP tip. That’s money in the bank upon which our villain shall rob. Good stuff.

    As for Batman v Superman (can we see this movie finally??) Batman just has MORE STUFF GOING ON as a character. He’s dynamic. Superman is, and always will be, a flat character until someone does something radically different with him. Personally, I’d like to see an OLDER superman who is feeling his powers wear down. He’s always in the peak of his existence and it’s just unrelatable to see a hero who just cannot be defeated. Make him struggle and maybe, we as an audience, we connect a bit more.

    • wlubake

      Still think the fair comparison is Batman Begins vs. Man of Steel. Those two are actually rather comparable. Wayne wasn’t super active in the first 60 minutes of that movie. He was wandering to understand the criminal element (much like Kent is wandering to understand where he comes from). Then he is dragged into action by the League of Shadows, only taking true action when he burns the place down through the end. I think that is very comparable to Superman turning himself in, then taking action from the point Zod tries to recruit him to destroy earth for a new Krypton.
      Holy crap, they are actually the same freaking beats throughout, the closer I look at it.
      I think the difference in character is very much an issue here (Batman is just more interesting). Also, Bale is a more accomplished actor than Cavill, and is genreally more interesting to watch on screen.

      • Panos Tsapanidis

        It’s not about fairness. It’s about pointing out errors and providing good solutions. It’s not a matter of which movie was better. The article is about us LEARNING.

        • wlubake

          Well, here’s the thing. Origin stories in a series have constraints that the Dark Knight doesn’t. To take it to an extreme, we could compare Die Hard and When Harry Met Sally and try to determine how When Harry Met Sally could improve on its villian. I think there is alot to learn from each film, but comparing the two provides minimal benefit because they have two very different sets of goals and writing responsibilities.

          • Panos Tsapanidis

            Indeed. But does Carson give you good solutions on the problems mentioned? I don’t care if the solution is coming from Candy Candy, if it’s SOLID I’ll be a happy man.

            By the way, I love your “idea” of suggesting SOLID solutions from totally different movies. This is how we can develop a different style and kick ass.

            Anyway, I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree. :)

  • GeneralChaos

    Ellen Ripley. She seems less heroic with the name “Helen”.

    • grendl

      Yeah, I knew I should change that, but figured you’d come along.

      • GeneralChaos

        You must have me mistaken with GeneralHavoc.

  • GeneralChaos

    I can agree with your point. Han Solo is reluctant as hell to join the rebellion, while Luke Skywalker is anxious to fight from the start. Not easy to guess who’s the more interesting character (though every kid wants to be a Jedi).

    • leitskev

      Grendle should get some chapters in Carson’s next book. Outstanding!

  • Occasional Guest

    So if my character isn’t active or if my character doesn’t have personality, then my character is boring? What if my character has wicked dialogue?

    If I can’t give my character the A or the P, can I give my character the D?

    Can someone tell me if the result will be the same if I give my characters the D, because I find that giving them the D is much easier.

    • carsonreeves1

      The D is the P!

  • Jonathan Soens

    “What’s the point of having two trickster characters in a movie? None.”

    It’s funny, because I read an interview with Goyer the other day where he said one of Nolan’s pieces of advice was to not hold anything back. He basically told him (paraphrasing here), “If you’ve got some tangential idea, don’t hold it back for the sequel. There might not be a sequel. Throw it all into the current movie, or risk not ever having the chance to tell that story.”

    Which totally explains how much was stuffed into the 2nd and 3rd Batman flicks.

  • carsonreeves1

    Luke is a tricky character. He’s actually desperate to go out and fight the Empire when we first meet him. Then, for some reason, when he’s given the opportunity, he says “No.” Honestly, it felt like Lucas was trying too strictly to follow the Hero’s Journey, getting that “refusal of the call” in there, without realizing that it went against how he’d set the character up.

  • Ken

    I feel I need to stand up for Man of Steel. I’m a Marvel Comics fan and have always found Superman to be pretty bland (he’s too powerful and too good) – so it wasn’t as if I went into this movie expecting to like it much (I really didn’t like Superman Returns, for instance.)

    But I did enjoy MOS: I liked the new depiction of Krypton, I liked the way the mid section was constructed as flashbacks intermixed with what’s happening at the present time. I think that you have, Carson, exaggerated Clark’s passivity: he does start off attempting to keep out of the way (because of what his Earth dad taught him) but Clark becomes active when he goes in search of the crashed spaceship in the Canadian ice – and then he makes the choice to hand himself in to the Earth authorities. The third act, of course, has him really being proactive as he fights the invading villains.
    Should there be a rule etched into stone that states protagonists must always be active? I think rules are made to be broken: having Clark trying NOT to do stuff really helps build up to the point when he finally DOES take action (like in many other movies where the protagonist is trying to turn the other cheek.)

    After watching movies in which the villain’s plan/motivation is confused/vague/convoluted/incoherent/contradictory (Star Trek into Darkness, Iron Man 3, The Dark Knight Rises, Trance) I liked the fact that Zod’s motivation was actually pretty coherent for once!

    Also – and I think this isn’t something that can necessarily be taught as part of a script writing article – I thought the action in MOS was just very exciting. As much as I like Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, I don’t find the way Nolan shoots action particularly thrilling to watch (and the action is very sluggish & poor in The Dark Knight Rises.)

    I appreciate good script writing but I’m starting to despair at the way so many movies are bending over backwards to show how ‘clever’ and twisty their plots are when, in fact, they are becoming so convoluted that they start to make no sense at all (I’m talking about you, Prometheus.)

    All in all, I really, really enjoyed Man of Steel.

    • Linkthis83

      I don’t think the issue here is about to follow a rule or not to follow a rule regarding a protagonist. I don’t think that applies here because the protag is SUPERMAN. We already KNOW he’s going to rise up and fight before we ever buy the ticket. I think that’s what MIGHT be frustrating people. I think that makes it tough for some to believe this character’s internal dilemma, because we’ve already met him and we know what he’s going to become. I think the split comes down to those who want to see his personal path to Superman and those who already feel familiar enough to “get to the good stuff.”

      In regards to Prometheus = http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GpEx7pdp2-Q

      I don’t know if I feel anything about Prometheus because I don’t think the movie made me feel anything about the characters. I did feel like I had a lot of questions. And apparently, had i been way more invested, there was a fake website set up for the company in Prometheus where some answers are located.

      • Ken

        If Prometheus requires a website to explain the plot…

        • Linkthis83

          I thought the same thing. Plus, I wasn’t provided the memo that I was required to do some pre-movie research if I wanted a chance to understand certain motives for the plot.

  • JakeMLB

    I agree that “reluctance” does not make for a dramatically weak protagonist but perhaps Carson means “reluctance” in a subtle but different way.

    For me it comes down to CHOICES.

    A strong, active character is one who makes CHOICES. Because making a choice is the definitive form of action. It’s not just being active for the sake of being active. It’s choosing a course of action among alternatives — even if that option proves to be wrong (FLAW).

    As you point out, reluctance is often manifested in THE REFUSAL TO THE CALL TO ACTION. But this is in itself a choice. Our character makes a choice to refuse the call and then must choose again to set out of on their journey. If their hand is forced, as it was consistently in MOS, it’s far less dramatic. Superman is sent to earth. He’s then told by papa Kent to avoid using his powers. Zod then shows up and Superman has no choice but to turn himself in. At no point is the adult Superman guiding the narrative through HIS choices — and that at least explains some of the difference between the characters you cited above. He literally doesn’t make a single choice in the film that wasn’t entirely forced.

    Building on Jake’s point below, a clear PLAN and GOAL enable our protagonists to make CHOICES. But we actually have to see them make those choices. And it can’t just be one. It can’t just be that major choice that defines the climax of the film. We have to see difficult choices leading up to that moment, some or most of which turn out to be bad (FLAW).

    So what prevents a character from making choices? Poor or contrived plotting and a lack of character depth. If the writer doesn’t know their character then they can’t possibly know the choices they’d make. And of course, strong conflict, secondary characters and plotting are necessary to place the protagonist in a position to make difficult choices. No small feat. And while not all stories are predicated on choices, it becomes pretty obvious when this simple ingredient is missing.

    Maybe I’m off on this but that seems to explain why I had trouble with Superman’s character in MOS. I connected with his struggle for identity but at no point did he himself make the choice to overcome this flaw. It was literally forced upon him by Zod. As others pointed out in yesterday’s thread, had Zod been somewhat of a mentor, or had Superman developed a stronger connection to Krypton, perhaps we could have had a dramatic choice: does humanity die or does Krypton? Instead the decision was made before the question posed and any drama was sapped.

    • sheebshag

      “A strong, active character is one who makes CHOICES.”

      What if he chooses not to act?

  • Linkthis83

    OFF TOPIC = “Inception”

    So I read a lot about how exposition heavy this film is in the beginning and my first reaction is “What?!?!?! It is!?!?!” And then I realized why I didn’t notice or care = that exposition was/is fascinating to me. Uber fascinating. Just wanted to put that out there.

    • sheebshag

      Agreed. Shows that exposition can be entertaining in and of itself.

      Not to mention Inception would’ve been a mess without its exposition.

  • Maggie Clancy

    gah! guess four people proofing it wasn’t enough! thanks for the heads up, Weekend Read. Hope it didn’t deter you from reading the rest.

  • Writer451

    “Sweat glistens off Joe’s knuckles as he wrestles the gun out of his pocket.”

    HAHA. I know Carson was being facetious but I’m trying to think how you would shoot that without it being anticlimactic. I mean, it sounds dramatic, but I can’t think of how you would make wet knuckles look dramatic.

  • sheebshag

    Maybe they thought they would get both.

  • carsonreeves1

    I think about Braveheart a lot when it comes to the “reluctant” hero. His character is unique in that he claims he doesn’t want to fight, yet he actively goes after the enemy relentlessly throughout the film.

    • JakeBarnes12

      Not sure why I bother.

  • JakeBarnes12

    I’m afraid you’re confusing two separate concepts, grendl.

    Refusal of the Call in the classic model happens in the first act. By the end of Act 1 the protagonist will have accepted the call to action and the adventure will have begun.

    What Carson’s talking about is reluctance to act AS A CHARACTER FLAW. Character flaws are typically resolved in the third act, so if a writer chooses passiveness as a character’s flaw, it means having a reactive character for most of the script.

    Naturally the two elements may interact, as in the case of a selfish character who initially refuses the call to action because he is self-interested, but then by the end of Act I accepts the call to action, but still for selfish reasons. In that case the character still need to resolve his/her flaw through their Act 2 experiences resulting in an Act 3 change.

    It’s important for writers to understand that these two concepts function differently within a script.

    • grendl

      And its nice that you try to bend Carson’s words to your liking Jake.

      Beware the reluctant protagonist was what Carson said. I am telling you, if you tell that to a bunch of writers they;re going to tell you you’re nuts.

      The best protagonists have been reluctant ones,

      And you can try to worm “passivity” into the debate, but we’re not talking about passivity.Because Carson used Michael Corleone as an example of a reluctant protagonist, not as a passive one.

      Don’t start adding your own little spin to this argument. Concentrate on what Carson wrote and you won’t be so confused.

      • JakeBarnes12

        If a protagonist is reluctant to act, that is his flaw which is typically resolved in the third act. And, yes, reluctance to engage most certainly does lead to passivity.

        Part of your confusion stems from the fact that you don’t understand what passivity means in a screen story.

        See my explanation of an active hero in another post on this thread.

        Your Bowie quote is nice, though.

  • filmklassik

    Carson you are an incredibly smart guy giving out incredibly bad advice — this time. Because the Reluctant Hero is not only an ancient and successful literary archetype, he’s a terrific one.

    Even Joseph Campbell talks about the Hero with a Thousand Faces initially “rejecting the call” to adventure.

    And it’s been a successful archetype in motion pictures, too. I refer you to the hero of what is arguably the greatest and most popular Hollywood melodrama ever made.

    Rick Blaine has a motto in CASABLANCA: “I stick my neck out for nobody.”‘ He repeats this line more than once and is true to it… until being forced to take action LESS THAN 20 MINUTES FROM THE END.

    Now, are there signs along the way that there is a fine, noble heart beating within that cold, sardonic breast? Of course there are. A few of them.

    But there are many more such signs in MAN OF STEEL.

    So please watch CASABLANCA again, Carson. Then watch SHANE (the quintessential Hollywood western; it’s knight errantry in the old west). Then check out THE ROAD WARRIOR again. Then rethink your premise. If you’re not too reluctant .

    • JakeBarnes12

      “INITIALLY”

      See my latest post.

  • G.S.

    I think Man of Steel bears more comparison to Batman Begins and in more ways than simply because they are both superhero origin stories.

    In both movies, the main protagonist goal is NOT save Gotham/save the world. Goyer makes it about the character finding the full expressions of who they are in their superheroic personae. If it weren’t for the big action set pieces and awesome costumes, these movies would be more akin to an indie flick about broken men finding themselves.

    In Batman Begins, we’re confronted with an aimless Bruce Wayne traveling the world and eventually finding some measure of purpose as the student of Ra’s al Ghul. It isn’t until the second half of the movie that we’re confronted with the plot to poison the city. As Carson put it in his 2010 review, “When you think about it, Batman Begins is two completely independent movies. The first 1 hour movie is Bruce Wayne becoming Batman. The second 1 hour movie is Batman trying to take down Scarecrow and save the city.” While I could have written the first half off as the protagonist being mostly goal-less and inactive, I took the goal to be his search for himself and followed as he actively searched around the world.

    Similarly, the first part of Man of Steel has an aimless Clark Kent bouncing from job to job (being superhero-ey on occasion) while trying to find clues to his otherworldly identity. Again, I took the self-discovery theme as the goal and watched as he actively searched out information on what eventually turned out to be a Kryptonian ship at the top of the world. If you were paying attention, you would have caught him overhearing something about the northern expedition finding something in the ice. And by the time Lois showed up, he was already part of the crew that was working there. He even took her bag off the helicopter.

    In fact, it was his activation of the ship that set up the second half of the movie where his Kryptonian brethren show up and he’s forced to reconcile the two aspects of his identity. I found a certain bit of beauty in the way Goyer executed that search. It presented the Superman we all know as the best expression of his human and Kryptonian heritage.

    I enjoyed both movies specifically because they took characters I’m extremely familiar with (I’m something of a comic nerd) and showed them from very unique perspectives. While Carson found Batman Begins to be a “flawed but fun film,” I assume that by now, with Man of Steel, that he’s no longer on board with Goyer’s superhero stylings.

    I’m just excited for what Man of Steel 2 will bring if The Dark Knight is any indication of future success.

  • GeneralChaos

    They actually did makeup tests for the Goblin for Spiderman – very creepy makeup that showed Dafoe’s transformation instead of the mask. Looked great but I guess they decided it was a little too scary for kids or that it prevented them from doing the split personality/Jekyl and Hyde thing.

  • GeneralChaos

    I remember Luke arguing with his uncle about wanting to leave the farm and join the Academy so he could fight in the war against the Empire.

    • grendl

      So are you saying he said yes to Obi Wan Kenobi at first?

      Because he clearly meant what he said.

  • John Bradley

    Thanks for the great articles the past 2 days. I’ve enjoyed the reads in-between my writing
    !

  • JakeBarnes12

    I’m afraid you’re still confused, grendl.

    A reluctant protagonist IS a passive protagonist, which should be avoided.

    • Ken

      Reluctant protagonists can work really well. Haven’t you seen Ip Man? That’s a great movie and the lead does all he can to NOT fight.

  • Alan Burnett

    “Harvey Dent becoming Two Face or Joker-Lite as I like to think of him. What’s the point of having two trickster characters in a movie? None.”

    I genuinely do not know what you perceive a ‘trickster’ to be. What do you think a ‘trickster’ is? In my mind (and, you know, according to most definitions), he or she lacks both the ‘masculine’ (physical prowess, egotism) and ‘feminine’ (emotional sensitivity, compassion) qualities that a protagonist needs to accumulate in order to fulfill the hero’s journey, so he or she needs to revert to deception or other forms of manipulation. THAT is a trickster, so I have NO IDEA how you could qualify Two Face to be a trickster: were the scenes in which he threatens people with a gun a sign of his MASTER MANIPULATION?

  • JakeBarnes12

    I’d like to make a couple of points in the hope that this will maybe clarify what I see as a central confusion about the “reluctant protagonist” idea.

    1. a. A common screenwriting trope is to have the hero initially refuse the call to action before then committing to the adventure. We’ve all seen this a million times in scripts and movies.

    1. b. Typically the hero’s reluctance to act is overcome relatively early in the script/movie, usually by the end of the First Act. After all, the story can’t really “begin” until the hero commits him/herself to the adventure.

    1. c. It often makes psychological sense that the hero initially refuses the call to action. Well-written protagonists are often living lives with which they are unhappy or unsatisfied, usually because the protagonist’s belief system is out of balance. Huh? What? Belief system? “Character flaw” may refer not simply to a character trait but a belief that needs to be changed for the character to be fulfilled. Since as human beings we’d often rather just keep going doing what we’re doing even though we’re unhappy, it’s not so surprising that protagonists often need to be pushed into adventures that will challenge them.

    1. d. You’ll notice that in the case of a character refusing the call to action, reluctance to act is not a character flaw per se, and more importantly, it’s not helpful for a screenwriter to think of it as a flaw. It’s a natural human reaction to being put into a situation where that character flaw (which could also be a belief system) will be challenged.

    1. e. Like any other screenwriting trope, the refusal of the call can be handled in a dull, rote way, or it can be dramatized with imagination.

    A protagonists initial reluctance to act, to accept the call to action, however, should not be confused with…

    2. a) A story where the protagonist’s refusal to act is his main character flaw. This is something that I would avoid like the plague anyway, but particularly as a spec writer.

    2. b) Remember that the “refusal to act” is usually resolved early in the story. Something happens to cause the hero to change their mind or force them into the adventure. From that point on, typically by the end of the First Act, the protagonist is now active.

    2. c) The problem with “reluctance to act” as a character flaw is that typically character flaws are resolved in the third act. The protagonist keeps trying to solve the main script problem using his/her old belief system or old way of doing things and it’s just not working. It’s only by the third act when all else is failed that often the protagonist is forced to let go of the flaw, to try something new, to take a risk. When this happens, we feel that the protagonist’s transformation is earned and we take pleasure from this.

    2. d) If the protagonist is reluctant to act, which is to say to develop and try to put into practice a plan to get what he/she wants, if the protagonist acts to avoid the story problem for most of the story, this typically results in stories with much less narrative drive. There may be a lot of “stuff” happening, but reacting to a villain’s plans is not acting, running away from a villain is not acting. A lot of inexperienced writers think “passive” means “doing nothing.” “Passive” in screenwriting terms means not directly executing your plan to get what you want. Yeah, that’s a really strict definition of “passive.”

    2. e) Scripts where the flaw is “reluctance to act” make the protagonist more or less passive, not always in the everyday sense, but in the dramatic sense. Enough’s been said about the boring nature of passive protagonists.

    Of course, as with every other area of artistic endeavor, there are exceptions, some of them brilliant. There are also genre-particular variations such as some horror movies.

    Regardless, this can all be boiled down to “refusing the call” is fine, but using “reluctance to act” as a character flaw is usually a bad idea, especially for a spec writer.

    • filmklassik

      I wish someone here would examine the cases of Rick Blaine in CASABLANCA and the title characters in SHANE and THE ROAD WARRIOR and explain to me how they fit into the “active protagonist” paradigm.

  • JakeBarnes12

    You simply aren’t using the terms “active” and “passive” as they’re used in screenwriting, grendl. You keep falling back on the everyday meanings of the words. Are you under the impression that words only have one meaning or that specialized usage of common words doesn’t exist?

    At least to your credit, grendl, when you write “you can be a reluctant hero and be active” you realized that you couldn’t stop there, that you needed to add “reactive” after it in brackets, otherwise your statement would make no sense at all.

    Too bad for you that being reactive is not the same as being active, which is precisely the problem that I’ve flagged up. If your protagonist is REACTING to plot problems, then he/she is not being ACTIVE in driving the plot forward.

    Your misunderstanding of “active” and “passive” allows you to persist in your claim that “reluctance to act” doesn’t result in a passive character. If you used the terms correctly, well, your claim would fall apart.

    You also don’t address the central problem with your main post, which is that you didn’t distinguish between refusal to heed the call as a trope that usually resolves itself at the end of Act 1 and reluctance to act as a character flaw; as you should know, characters flaws are usually only resolved in Act 3, which would result in a, oops, there’s that word again, passive protagonist throughout most of the script.

    Very few inexperienced writers set out to write passive protagonists who don’t drive the plot forward, grendl, yet it’s one of the most common amateur script problems.

    They do so because they make your mistake of equating acting with reacting. False equivalency indeed.

  • Todd Walker

    5 and 6: Although I do believe you have a point here I don’t believe you should keep it ENTIRELY in your hero’s head. In Jaws you learned a bit of the back story but not a whole lot. You didn’t learn what was the straw that broke the camel’s back that made him and his family want to move from NYC to Amity but you just know that they hated it and wanted peace and quiet. And we don’t ever learn what led him to be afraid of water, but he is.

    Of course this is not pertinent to the larger issue of the story, but it’s used to a minimalist degree. It’s there but not the driving force of the script, since the shark is his main problem his backstory takes a back seat. Alot of movies are like this, it’s a part of the character, but you don’t learn a whole slew about it. It almost is just a personality trait.

    9. Now explain Die Hard: With A Vengeance, I’m not quite sure what you mean in regard to that. Is it because Jeremy Irons was pretty much on top of the world by the time the movie started?

  • Todd Walker

    You can resolve that reluctance in Act I without having to make it the bulk of the movie: First half of Act I he is reluctant, 2nd half of Act I he accepts.

    That’s if you as a writer want to use the reluctance at all. Bottom line about reluctance is: Don’t let it screw up Act II.

  • Todd Walker

    Well, there is no way on this green earth that he’ll easily get over his being afraid of the water, that’s pretty much impossible. At the end he says “I used to be afraid of the water”, so is that to say he’s afraid of the water until he actually is in the big blue ocean bobbing around in it right before he shoots the shark? The city to country aspect is not that big of a deal, to him it is, but it doesn’t have much bearing when he goes out into the ocean. So they dropped that issue when time came, which was pretty smart.

  • JakeBarnes12

    Wow, grendl, really?

    “Physical actions that we can witness on-screen” is what constitutes active for you?

    That’s pretty much everything that happened on-screen in a movie, dude. Ever.

    And you want to find that “reluctance” (note how you drop “to act,” but, hey, whatever) and “passivity” are, and I quote here, “direct synonyms” in a dictionary, otherwise it makes no sense to you that in screenwriting a protagonist’s “reluctance to act” makes him passive?

    You already burned yourself by saying “reactive characters are active,” but seeing as what you understand by “active” is that the actor isn’t actually dead on set, then why you think there’s a connection comes horrifyingly into focus.

    Okay, man. Sorry I was messing with you. You have a good afternoon.

  • Panos Tsapanidis

    Y SO ANGRY?

  • fragglewriter

    #3 is so funny.
    #5 & #6 – work well together.