An excerpt from my script review for Operation Finale which will be available 09/10/18:
2.) Plot Stability
Whether this is the first review you’ve read here, or one of many, one thing’s certain as a screenwriter…
We ain’t writing children’s stories!
Tom finds a ball.
Tom plays with a ball.
Tom shares ball with John.
Tom and ball live happily ever after.
That could have easily been one of the many books my kids brought home from school when they were learning to read, but it doesn’t make for an interesting movie.
Audiences. Crave. Drama.
So it’s our job to inject a little tension!
Tom hides from the school bully, and finds a mysterious, lost ball behind a tree.
Consumed by his enjoyment of bouncing the ball, Tom doesn’t hear the bully talking around the corner.
Tom sees John and the two share the ball, but wanting it for himself, John calls to the bully, saying Tom stole his ball.
Fighting over the ball, Tom, John, and the bully lose it, and the ball bounces into the street only to be run over by a truck.
Tension can be bad for our character, yet good for the audience, because we want to know what happens next.
Purely happy stories are boring, so remember to run your characters through a ringer, or two. (Or three, or four!) Just don’t overdo it making their ultimate task seem impossible.
Operation Finale did a good job with that, making both Adolf Eichmann a clever villain, and giving our team obstacles they had to overcome.
Page 35 – Aharoni sends in a young and novice Sylvia to try and lure Eichmann out to confirm his identity. Not only is she new to this, she calls him by his real name, and less than convincingly explains how she found out where they live.
The result? Eichmann now has a strong suspicion his cover’s been blown (especially when Eichmann sees the sun flash off a camera lens in Aharoni’s car). It’s time to consider moving his family.
Page 59 – While Uzi tries to inconspicuously change the license plate on a new car for the team, an explosion happens nearby.
The result? Uzi fails to secure the license plate and he and Yaakov become prime suspects for the second in command of the local police force. (Made even worse by Yaakov’s use of a Jewish nickname for Uzi.)
Page 71 – During a rushed timeline to abduct Eichmann, Malkin stumbles over his Spanish phrase, notifying Eichmann of the attempt and allowing him to leave clues of his abduction.
The result? Adolf’s son Klaus finds his father’s broken glasses, the damaged Chrysler, sign of a struggle, and manages to cut off Malkin’s team’s means of escape through the city harbor. Now they’re forced to sit and wait in their safe house for an alternate plan.
Page 80 – Not able to control his lustful desires, Dani gives a local cleaning woman some forged pesos in exchange for a roll in the hay. The cleaning woman discovers Eichmann on her way out.
The result? Eichmann stays put, but has her tell the police where he’s being held, forcing the team to make a hasty getaway.
See the pattern here? Things go wrong. Characters adapt.
When things go wrong, our characters must improvise, which in theory should lead to interesting storytelling.
With all screenwriting techniques, however, the trick is to balance these obstacles, so your plot is both interesting and believable.
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