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The best villains actually have a noble purpose. Like the Bond-villain that wants to kill millions of people - but he’s only doing it because humans are over-populating the world, and that will lead to even larger numbers of deaths. Try to see things from their side to. Make their actions reasonable and logical for someone in their position.

Antagonists usually get introduced late, like around the first turning-point, if they aren’t introduced right away, in the inciting-incident or a cold-open. That’s because so many other characters have to be introduced, not least of which is the main character, that there’s very little time to do much of anything else in the first act. But, of course, the problem or quest needs to present itself by the end of the first act.

When choosing your antagonist, make him/her/it not just nearly-unbeatable, but interesting as well. That’s the Number 1 most-common flaw I see in young screenwriter’s screenplays. The characters are mere cardboard cut-outs. Put effort into your antagonist too. Don’t neglect him. Some movies literally hinge on the quality of their antagonist (Silence of the Lambs, Full Metal Jacket, The Dark Knight, Darth Vader, Nurse Rached, Keyser Soze, Michael Meyers).

The Antagonist!

You don’t have to have one antagonist either. Take Breaking Away, for example, at first you’re led to believe that the Italian Cycling Team are the antagonists, but you later realize that the college kids are the real antagonists of the story. Both serve as antagonists at different points in the screenplay.

Antagonists can be individuals or groups. There can be one antagonist or many. The only requirement is that they work directly (or indirectly) against your protagonist. They are one of the things standing in the way of your protagonist finally achieving his goal or succeeding in his quest. They should expose flaws in your protagonist too. Wherever he is weak, the antagonist should be strong. Beating him should be nearly unthinkable.

Try and make your antagonist’s introduction exciting, jaw-dropping and memorable.

Take the opening scene of Utopia, for instance (above). It’s a UK limited television series that lasted for two series of six episodes each.

A thousand shows have antagonists that use guns, how many gas-canister-wielding psychopaths have you seen? One other one, right? In No Country for Old Men. Memorable, when it isn’t what you expect, isn’t it?

Any antagonist can just shoot somebody - it’s far more dramatic if the killer gets the person to lean into the poison-gas themselves. If he is so scary that people are willing to kill themselves peacefully, instead of risking the violent option.

Introducing Your Antagonist:

Once your main-character has overcome his character-flaw, he’s ready to face the antagonist in the final battle.

Usually this is at the end of a much-larger battle, after the antagonist and protagonist have separated themselves (so they can talk incessantly before actually fighting).

Overcoming this internal-conflict allows the main-character to finally beat the antagonist and claim victory over the quest or goal he’s been working towards since the first turning-point.

Think of your final battle as a screenplay or short-film in its own right. Don’t just have them duke it out. Elongate it. Draw it out. Give the battle ups and downs, just like you give your screenplay. You can even give your battle a story-structure like a three act structure. Have a false-victory or a false-defeat (before the actual victory/defeat). Give them time to talk, in order for the antagonist to explain his motivations.

And, as always, make it interesting and exciting and fun!

The Star Wars movies always take this advice to heart - and have an epic final battle to end all final battles.

Or, take the final-fight in Serenity for example. It’s got highs and lows, it’s funny, exciting, new and unique, an actual external-character-flaw (a medical issue) saves the protagonist’s life and allows him to win the battle, etc…

The Epic Final Battle Between the Protagonist and the Antagonist! FORWARD

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PROPER SCREENPLAY FORMAT

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SCREENPLAY TEMPLATE

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BEGINNER SCREENWRITERS

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HOW LONG SHOULD EACH ACT BE?

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THE FIRST TURNING POINT

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PROTAGONIST’S CHARACTER-ARC

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The First Act of your Three-Act Structure. This is where you introduce your main characters to the audience and get the plot rolling. The end of your 1st Act comes with the First Turning Point, the point at which your protagonist chooses his quest The 2nd Act - Where the bulk of your plot goes. Confrontation - this is where your protagonist confronts the status quo and attempts to change it for the better Your 2nd Act can't end without your Second Turning Point! Things may seem bleak for your protagonist, but all is not lost yet! There is still hope!... Backstory - what happened in the past. Exposition, expository dialogue, etc... It all comes down to this - your climax! The end of your story. The conclusion. The one thing everyone in the audience wants to know: does the protagonist win? The 3rd Act - the final act in your three-act structure, where everything is decided, the climax, the conclusion, the end. Your Film's Theme - what your movie is really about. The undercurrent. The second act of your screenplay should be filled with ups and downs, dramatically speaking of course. Like a roller-coaster. It's all about creating conflict and drama. BACK Welcome to SCREENPLAY.today - your free online screen-writing program - learn how to write a screenplay for free! Free Online Screenplay Writing Course from SCREENPLAY.today - screenwriting advice, help, information, hints, tips & tricks