Thursday, August 28, 2008

Football... back, in the states. And as a tribute I want to give you a metaphor about writing a screenplay.

To set it up, a football drive consists of a series of plays that are all designed with the end goal of scoring a touchdown. However, in that there are many smaller battles to score first downs. Every four downs, the offense has the opportunity to move the ball ten yards. If they make it ten yards, they have another set of downs, and thus another chance to score. This is truly what sets football above and beyond a sport like soccer. In soccer, the goal is to drive the ball down the field in one play and score. The conflict comes in the end of the game with the final score.

So, what makes football so much more dramatic than soccer on a minute by minute basis? IMHO, it's the drives. See, if football was set up to have to score a touchdown on 4 plays, much of the conflict would be gone.

Instead, we are riveted to EVERY ten yards. Every play could get another set of downs, every down could be an interception, every down could be a touchdown. Which is what keeps us coming back.

And now, to tie it back to filmmaking...think of your script as a scoring drive. If you scored on a hail mary pass on the first play, yes it would be interesting for a moment, but the true drama comes from the conflict and after the initial exhilaration is gone, the audience asks WHAT NEXT. The drama comes from every mistake, every failure, that leads to the players lining up and running it again. Football players are truly dramatic figures, great heroes, because they constantly fail, but they get up and find a way to do it again.

So, you see, with the GOAL in mind of a touchdown, your characters need to focus on the drive, getting the next play a little further down the gridiron. And, when they get sacked for a loss, have them pick themselves off and get back in the huddle.

God, I LOVE football. Anyone else?

1 comment:

Flipstar said...

I like football... CFL and NFL. CFL is a little faster paced, but I'm still a Redskins and somewhat of a Bills fan.