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Lecture #2 Backstory Pinch Showdown Realization. Backstory The backstory is the event that generally occurs before the movie begins. On occasion, writers.

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Presentation on theme: "Lecture #2 Backstory Pinch Showdown Realization. Backstory The backstory is the event that generally occurs before the movie begins. On occasion, writers."— Presentation transcript:

1 Lecture #2 Backstory Pinch Showdown Realization

2 Backstory The backstory is the event that generally occurs before the movie begins. On occasion, writers present the backstory as the first scene and then cut to years later when the present-day story begins. Sometimes it is revealed in a flashback. Most often, it emerges in dialogue.

3 Act II Act I of the screenplay contains with the catalyst and big event. The middle focuses on conflict and complications. The central character emerges from Act I with a desire to do something about the difficult situation created by the big event. Their action will likely fail, forcing them to take new actions. There will be many setbacks in Act II, as well as some breakthroughs or temporary triumphs.

4 Act II Cont. The long middle section of Act II usually focuses on a rising conflict. Your reader will lose interest in a conflict that is merely repetitive-think ‘Man of Steel.’ The never ending battles between Superman and General Zod get quite banal and trite. Strong subplots that crisscross with the main plot will help you avoid repetitive conflict because they will create more interesting complications.

5 Vertigo Part III OK. We have reached the point in Vertigo when the mystery has been revealed about Carlota and Madeline Elster, but some very important questions remain. 1.) If Act II is about bringing complications into the mix for the central character. How does apply to John? How does he fail? How does he respond to her death?

6 Analysis 1.) If Act II is about bringing complications into the mix for the central character. How does apply to John? How does he fail? How does he respond to her death? John starts to fall in deep love for his subject. Both John and Madeline have obsessive personalities. This is an apparent connective fault for both the central character and oppositional character. This is what we call the unity of opposites. They are connected with their obsessions. When John fails to protect her, he falls into a very deep catatonic state. Hitchcock makes the subplot interesting because he adds Midge. Midge is the third wheel. She keeps the story fresh.

7 The Midpoint The Midpoint of the story is the point of no return for the main character. This occurs halfway through the story most of the time. As the story gets more intense, the pace gets very quick. This is the Crisis. All seems lost for the main character. The main character has to make a fateful decision. What is the worst possible thing that could happen to the central character?

8 Vertigo Part IV John starts to notice something very strange about Judy Barton. They is a quaint similarity about Judy to Madeline. We start to catch on very quick about Judy. John’s obsessive nature comes back, maybe it didn’t go away at all. He wants Judy to change her hair and manner of dress. Once the true identity is revealed about Judy we enter the Showdown.

9 The Showdown The showdown follows on the heels of the Crisis. Often, someone or something spurs the character on to the showdown. Think of ‘Vertigo.’ The goal is on the line, including the theme or film message and/or some important value. Remember, easy solutions, like it’s a dream or problem solved with a fairy, are not dramatic. Better that your central character does their own rescuing at the end.

10 Vertigo Part V There is such thing in life as the ‘careless crime.’ Judy was quite careless indeed. The necklace….the dang necklace. John in seeing Judy’s necklace confirms that Madeline is indeed Judy. Then, he start to piece together how he’d been played a fool by both Judy and Mr. Elster. He starts to take control of his situation for the first time in the movie. Recall how at the beginning of the film, Madeline led John around like a lost puppy. John seemed very emasculated at this point. The loss of Madeline destroyed him. He built up his confidence again because of his encounter with Judy, but Judy was careless. In the final act, John is indeed the predator and Judy is his prey. He control her and she does his every whim against her will. Once he sees the necklace, it sets up the the final showdown. This is the moment of ‘realization.’ The moment where John must shine.

11 The Denoument This is the final point in the story when everything comes together. All loose ends must be concluded. The only exception to this rule is if one is writing a series of films like ‘Star Wars.’

12 Vertigo: The Final Act Irony something is the greatest tool for a film maker. The manner in which Vertigo ends is quite Ironic indeed. We find out the motive of the crime. John escapes his fear of heights or Vertigo. Judy falls to her death, but what of Mr. Elster. Because of the Hays Code of Production, all criminals must be brought to justice. Vertigo breaks this rule indeed. I challenge to look for the added ending. Compare it to the original ending and tell me how it ruins he original tone of the film. Application- I would like you to take the that I sent back to you and make some additions based on my notes. Create the backstory, midpoint, showdown, realization and denoument Then, organize it into a logical and detailed two- page plot identifying each step. This is due by midnight on Monday. Send it to


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