Chapter 2 - Plot


Major Dramatic Question: Will Charlie write his screenplay adaptation?

Inciting Incident – Charlie is hired to write a screenplay adaptation of a book, The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean. We don’t actually see Charlie hired, but it comes as a result of a lunch meeting with a film producer. (The lunch ends 6 minutes in.)

Plot point 1 – Charlie begins writing his script. (It happens 14 minutes in, making for a very short Act I.)

Midpoint – There really isn’t one. Once Charlie begins writing his script, it’s just a steady stream of conflict until…

Plot point 2 – Totally stuck, Charlie invites his brother to collaborate on the script with him. (It happens 73 minutes in, an early plot point 2, allowing a long third act.)

Climax – Just as John Laroche is about to shoot Charlie, Laroche is devoured by an alligator. (This happens 103 minutes in. It flagrantly, and intentionally, breaks the rule saying a protagonist must resolve the story for him or herself.)

Interesting feature: Act III is mostly a movie within a movie, showing the movie that Charlie is writing in collaboration with his brother. While the first two acts break conventional screenwriting norms right and left, the third act is a cliché of conventional movie storytelling. Which, of course, causes a violent shift in tone, breaking another movie norm.

<< Back