SCREENPLAY.today How to Write a Screenplay
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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.

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.

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!

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.


Screenwriting 101:

PROPER SCREENPLAY FORMAT

SCREENWRITING SOFTWARE

SCREENPLAY TEMPLATE

SAMPLE SCREENPLAY PAGES

BEGINNER SCREENWRITERS

FILM SCHOOLS

SCREENWRITING DEGREES

SCREENPLAY STORY STRUCTURE

HOW LONG SHOULD EACH ACT BE?

THREE ACT STRUCTURE

START WRITING NOW

STORY-STRUCTURE TEMPLATE

THE FIRST TURNING POINT

THE SECOND TURNING POINT

PROTAGONIST’S CHARACTER-ARC

GET COVERAGE


FORWARD Introducing Your Antagonist:

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.

The Epic Final Battle Between the Protagonist and the 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…

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