“Nobody knows anything...... Not one person in the entire motion picture field knows for a certainty what's going to work. Every time out it's a guess and, if you're lucky, an educated one.” - William Goldman.
Here's a breakdown of THE BIG EIGHT questions to ask when you're watching a film::
1) What's the Genre? (how is the audience feeling? laugh, cry, fear, dread, indignation?) Most films (esp. for kids) are cross genre. List them in order of importance.
2) Who is the protagonist?
3) What is his/her status quo? (back story prior to inciting incident)
4) What is the event that breaks the status quo?
5) Now that status quo is broken, what is his/her goal? (What does he want? What is unconscious goal? What does he need?)
6) Who or what stands in his way? What are the forces of antagonism? TIME? Satre - 'the beginning of stories is scarcity' - time running out is the essence of drama. Geography, the elements, internal fear.
7) What is at stake? (What is the best thing that could happen? What is the worst thing that could happen? How could the worst thing turn out to be the best thing?)
8) When does the climactic sequence begin and end?
First step on a road I'm going to be walking for the next year, by the end of which I'll have a completed screenplay, a bunch of new contacts, and a good chance of getting a film made in the near future. Plus, I'm watching cartoons at 11am on a Wednesday morning. Things could be worse.