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Erwin Defeats The Elephant — Screenwriting Tips — Blog Post #1 By Erwin Alistar

By:
mrhnter@gmail.com
@matt_hunter_16

After the phenomenal success of my hit screenwriting book, Erwin Defeats the Elephant (based on my tip that your movie’s hero should face a challenge the size of an elephant), I’ve decided to start this blog to continue educating screenwriters. It has been a humbling pleasure to see that burgeoning and veteran screenwriters for every major blockbuster film have utilized the lessons in my book to successfully tell a well-structured three-act story — especially humbling after my recent divorce, not to editorialize (however, like I say, make your writing personal!).

TIPS:

• Make Your Main Character The Best He Can Be

The main character is the center, the focal point of your screenplay — our hero. For the sake of this article, we’ll name our hero after me, Erwin! (Like I say, always put yourself into your work!) Now, every emotional and plot conflict in the story revolves around the hero, Erwin. So in that case, it’s best that your hero is a cool guy, who is well liked and super awesome at playing the real guitar – not the Guitar Hero one.

• Every Movie Should Have A Leading Lady

It’s important that our Erwin have a leading lady — a total knockout to chase after. Sticking to my previously taught three-act structure, this heroine — who, let’s say is named Emma Blonski, from, I don’t know, Peoria, IL, 5’6″, with piercing blue eyes like a stoic doe — will first be noticed by your Erwin in high school, will not be attracted to him, and then will fall madly in love with Erwin when he does something awesome in Act III, like stop a terrorist plot, save the Earth from annihilation, or get unanimously voted Prom King by his peers / score the winning touchdown at the big homecoming game (if you go this route, make sure you show Erwin working out at the gym and getting ripped — it’s super important that he’s ripped).

• “Erwin Defeats The Elephant” — Addendum

As I’ve taught, Erwin must face a problem as big as an elephant. But make sure Emma is there to see him do it.

Addendum: Erwin’s antagonist, or “elephant,” is a large, negative force in his life — like a foreigner with a gun, a giant lizard monster, or an ex-wife – and must be called something like, say, Patricia. This enemy will try to get the best of your Erwin in Act II by belittling him, bringing up his absolutely platonic relationship with his mother, taking all his money and eventually divorcing him. But Erwin will prevail in Act III. He always does. And anyone who thinks differently should say it to my face!

Note: Make sure Patricia is there to see Erwin succeeding and doing just fine without her.

Things to avoid:

— Your main character shouldn’t be so self-involved with his goal that he utterly forgets about his loved ones and dog (because putting down a beloved friend of 13 years costs a lot of unnecessary screen time that he just can’t afford right now, especially after the divorce and moving into an apartment).

— If your Erwin starts to gain a “pop tart” belly, a phrase his former leading lady might coin regarding his sudden weight gain, force your character to go work out.

— Your Erwin should not mix alcohol and antidepressants. It’s a cliché sign of depression.

— If Erwin doesn’t want to wake up every day and work on his main goal, like writing a marketable screenplay, MAKE HIM. This can be done in a montage.

— Remember: Show. Don’t tell. For example, instead of a therapist telling Erwin that he needs to get over the divorce, show your Erwin going out and having a one-night stand.

There you go, everyone! Brand new tips that I guarantee will help you sell that screenplay and get your movie made by a big studio. I can’t wait to see these tips implemented into today’s silver screen blockbusters the next time I — or a certain woman of Illinois who’s in her mid-fifties, is hopefully single, and knows how to use the Internet — goes to the theater.

Unrelated note: Please leave a comment below if you went to West Peoria High School Class of ’75 for a chance to win a FREE TRIP to Hollywood, CA!

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The Humble Sports Car Owner

By:
mrhnter@gmail.com

2014 Ferrari F12 Berlinetta

Pedestrian: Nice car, buddy. The one percent must be fun.

Henry [leaning against car]: What? Oh thanks. Yeah, I won this at a casino. You see, I have a gambling problem and this car, unfortunately, is a manifested symbol of this problem. I know what you’re thinking — “Oh what a terrible problem to have. You get a Ferrari F12 Berlinetta with an eight-cylinder V12 engine and super-frame chassis out of this deal.” Well, my problem got out of hand, so my wife divorced me, took the kids, and seized our house in the settlement. Now this car is all I have, and it’s a constant reminder of my horrible addiction. Yes, I’ve gained a nice car, but I’ve lost the true prize — my family…and love [tears up].

Pedestrian: …oh.

Henry: Do you know how hard it is to sleep sitting upright in Italian leather?

1965 Aston Martin DB5

Acquaintance: Wow, Michael. Can someone say midlife crisis? Ha ha!

Michael: [looking down] Huh? Oh, this thing. I just got it from my deceased father. He passed away last week from carbon monoxide poisoning, and it’s what he left me in his will. Did I want his riches? No. Because he didn’t have any. He put all his money in this damn car. He couldn’t even afford to put me through college! I spent years competing with this thing — while my Dad dropped another five grand to fix the gearbox, I was struggling to maintain my job to pay for community college. So is a 48-year-old who still works at Home Depot allowed to have a midlife crisis?! I wouldn’t know. I can’t afford one.

2014 Bugatti Veyron

A beautiful girl pulls up to the stoplight next to Anthony. He accidentally revs his engine.

Girl: [yells out her window] What are you compensating for, asshole?!

Anthony: [Looks at her] Oh, this. This was my one wish from the Make-A-Wish Foundation. I’m dying from a rare disease that I got at birth and I only have a few weeks left to live. My family’s never had a lot of money, so my wish was to drive a nice car for a week. The Bugatti Company was kind enough to loan out this car before I pass [coughs].

The light turns green. Anthony drives the speed limit.

2014 Corvette Stingray

Jack walks slowly from the parking lot to the restaurant where his co-worker waits outside.

Co-worker: [overly sarcastic] Boy, Jack, could you park any farther away? I can barely see your car from here! Ha ha! Ah, I get it — you don’t want some knucklehead parking next to ya’ and scratching that beauty.

Jack: [sighs] Actually, I park far away cause my physical therapist says I need to do as much walking as possible to get my legs rehabilitated. Ever since my battalion’s Humvee came in contact with that IED outside of Baghdad and that shrapnel ripped through my calf, I haven’t been able to walk normal.

Co-worker: Well, pretty coolio that you bought yourself such a suh-weet ride when you returned to the States.

Jack: No. It’s from the American government. Some sort of sick consolation prize, I guess, for being a wounded vet. I could have used money instead for my family, but no, the government wanted to put me in an “American-made machine” to support the country. Disgusting. America’s the real machine. A war machine.

Co-worker: …Okie doke. Well, at least this warm weather’s nice for walkin’.

Jack: The heat that rises off that arid parking lot only reminds me of the brutal temperatures I faced every day in the Iraqi desert.

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