Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Write On: Part 2 of a Character Arc Video Essay Double-Header

At the end of last week’s post, I alluded to the fact that I always found the idea of character arcs a bit confusing. It’s not that I don’t understand them – I understand the hero’s journey and all that.

It goes to Mary Poppins, y'all!
No, it’s that my head goes here:
  • Sam Spade
  • Wonder Woman
  • James Bond
  • Marty McFly
  • Mary Poppins
  • Dr. Richard Kimble
  • Hercule Poirot
  • Katniss Everdeen
  • Mr. Bean

None of these characters have character arcs. At all. 

(Okay, you might argue that Marty McFly has a bit of an arc shoehorned into the sequels with his perplexing reaction to being called a chicken in the sequels. But stay with me.)

But if character arcs are supposed to be a really-really big deal, how do these characters work? Well, it turns out they have flat character arcs.

Yes, that’s an actual thing. And here to tell us all about it in the second half of this Character Arc Video Essay Double-Header is Sage from Just Write on “Writing Characters without Character Arcs.”

This is a great breakdown of how those characters work – and given the list above, they clearly work. The DCEU dig at the end is just gravy.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Write On: Part 1 of a Character Arc Video Essay Double-Header


Sorry, I’m very excited. You see, when I started cobbling together this blog one of the ideas I had was to feature videos essays I’d found that, even though on the surface they’re about movies or screenwriting, were illuminating when I was working through the first draft of my manuscript. And the most illuminating of them, the one that felt like a beam of sunshine coming down on my from the heavens, the one where I could hear the Reverend James Brown asking “DO YOU SEE THE LIGHT?” and I responded with “YES! YES! JESUS H. TAP-DANCING CHRIST, I HAVE SEEN THE LIGHT!” before doing back-flips? 

And I couldn’t find it. At all.

Time goes by, I’m listening to video essays while washing dishes and it gets referenced. Happy days. So we’re going to have ourselves a good ol’ two-parter about character arcs, and we’ll be addressing all the hard questions: What are they? What makes them so arc-y? What do they want from us?

Today we have Michael from Lessons from the Screenplay examining two absolute gems of movies.

If you’re like me, you’re thinking, “But what do Logan and Children of Men have in comm—oh, they’re virtually the same story, never mind.” More to the point, this video covers what I believe to be the secret behind a good character arc, starting at 1:41. Seriously, it will take literally 20 seconds of your life.

I have to admit that I was always a bit confounded by character arcs, because my head would immediately go to dozens of examples where the protagonist does not have an arc. What’s the deal with that? 

Find out next week in the second-half of this Character Arc Video Essay Double-Header.

First Post: The Story So Far

Hallo. I’m Scot Nolan, though you might know me from reviewing and discussing bad movies over the past ten years as “Nolahn.” But this ...