My Screenwriting Journey #2: Patterns, Goals, and Obstacles


For the second lesson in my screenwriting class we learned about what makes a story.  The reading dealt with patterns, the heroic journey, character goals, and the obstacles characters face.

The focus of the lesson seems to be this idea:

A story follows a character as he or she tries to overcome obstacles in order to achieve a goal.

One of the exercises was to put your iPod on shuffle and form a story from the first ten song titles that pop up.  This was mine:

Sad 2

I’ll Be Faithful To You

Fall Behind Me

I’ll Fly Away



This Old House

The Money Will Roll Right In

One Of Us

Sharks Can’t Sleep

This is the story I came up with based on these titles:

Two sad pilots both believe they are being cheated on by their wives and have fallen behind in their mortgage payments.  A french criminal named Denis offers them money to fly him under the ocean with an experimental submarine plane in order to steal a treasure from an old undersea house that is guarded by a gang of sharks.  A shark named Sweetie eats Denis and the plane.  One of the pilots decides to stay behind and fight the sharks, sacrificing himself and distracting the sharks long enough to give the other pilot a chance to escape to the surface with the treasure.

The other assignment was to come up with a character and show what their goal, obstacles, and stakes were.  So this is what I came up with:

It’s 1950’s Hollywood and a feral cat must overcome her fear of humans so she can get help rescuing her kitten from a group of Satan worshippers.

This idea evolved from my original idea to write a movie about James Dean having to spend the night in a demon haunted house.  I decided to make the main character be a feral cat, and the cat will have to enlist the aid of James Dean to save her kitten from the Satan worshippers and also fight a demon.  I’m sure this idea will continue to change as I progress through the course.

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