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The Unsympathetic Protagonist

by:HKKYO     2020-07-13
It looks a lot easier than it is always. You don't want a boring, paint-by-numbers protagonist leading the charge in your screenplay, regardless of genre, so you decide to interchange things up, create a character with some edge, someone flawed. Not a bad thought, points for ladies. But beware of the inherent dangers here. A simple veritable minefield of mistakes awaiting those who are thinking about creating the next great anti-hero (especially when there is often a desire to keep craze commercially appealing to producers, agents and actors). Mcdougal must skate a little difference between damaged and unsympathetic. Execute things properly as well as get the former, get carried away and you're stuck associated with latter, and the latter means one thing - PASS. Flawed protagonists are definitely the most interesting leads in any flick. Why? Because none of us are perfect. We've all made mistakes both big and small, and lived to regret them and face the outcomes. So, watching someone up on and also the screen stumble makes him or her instantly relatable. Look at the movie 'Jaws'. Sheriff Brody fails to seal down the beach to the public despite knowing of a shark's presence and the danger it features. A boy dies because of it and Brody is called out for his mistake and slapped by the boy's mother. He literally shrinks on screen before us however the audience doesn't hate Brody in this scene, just the opposite in fact, we feel awful for him because we can sense the regret and guilt weighing heavily on his soul. Brody in order to change things around now and make amends and we root him on every step of methods until he takes down the beast ('Smile you son of a girl!). For another example look at the Jason Bourne trilogy. Here we possess a man who was trained as a government assassin and went on several missions while working for the C.I.A., executing when orders needed it, even if innocents were harmed in the process. This is a potential deathblow for any lead in relation to audience sympathy. So, why do we root him on to? Because like Brody in the example above, Jason Bourne regrets his actions and decides to steer clear of his previous acts and even use his skills against his former interviewers. Now we have a sympathetic lead truly worth redemption (always great thematically), and more important, worthy personal respect and time. However for every 'Bourne' and 'Jaws' there are a million misses. Writers create lead characters which have gangsters, killers, ex-cons, and thieves. Differentiate most of period is that the author gets so caught up in the 'cool' factor that he or she neglects to create the protagonist sympathetic so we're left using a degenerate who is happy to stay method. Who is supposed to care about this lead? This crosses genre lines to comedy as in reality. The success of a film like 'Wedding Crashers' has inspired many scribes to take a seat in front within their computers and punch out stories about immature men without including any of this key elements discussed above. The characters played by Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson both learn using their experiences and they mature accordingly, in order to an ending where both are that has us convinced the women they love (far from the fast talking womanizers they were the particular beginning). See the transformation? The growth? The problem with most of the clones spawned by these movies is that the writers are missing the big world. Creating an edgy, flawed character is only half the thwart. There needs to be an arc present as well this is pivotal that we care enough about charge as an audience to follow them through the important transformation and root for them to be released on the other side better for it again. Do it right and you'll have a protagonist the audience won't soon avoid. Miss the mark and most readers will grow indifferent before act two and toss the script onto the slush pile.
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