Screenwriting : Characters Deep Core Wound. by Jorge J Prieto

Jorge J Prieto

Characters Deep Core Wound.

As screenwriters how much emphasis do we put into our characters "core wound?" How much of OUR OWN core wounds do we as writers are courageous enough to give our characters and are willing to share? Because as screenwriter coach, Peter Russell, says in this Film Courage interview, audiences are smart and they know when a character's core wound is fake. I've said this many times before, if we as writers can't connect in some way with our characters or more importantly with our protagonists' pain, needs, goal, our audience will never connect or identity. They will tune out after the first ten minutes. Do you all agree? Don't agree and why? Partially agree? Do any of you dare to apply your own wound to your characters? Link to Peter's interview below. Please watch . Come back and comment. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Xh_hPEGX7_w

Great Stories Use This Key Component Early And Often by Peter Russell
Great Stories Use This Key Component Early And Often by Peter Russell
MORE VIDEOS WITH PETER RUSSELL http://bit.ly/28NzKaG CONNECT WITH PETER RUSSELL https://peterrussellscriptdoctor.com https://www.facebook.com/peterrussellscriptdoctor https://twitter.com/lastorydoc ht…
Jorge J Prieto

Jim: Thanks for your comments. The wounded hero, others call it as well. Btw in film, Peter says, the hero bleed's for a short time and in TV it goes on for years. Something to that effect, can't remember his exact words, but I agree. It's what keeps us tuned in or now streaming for hours and hours. I can't do it for more than 2 hrs at a time. But I digressed. Thanks again, buddy.

Bill Costantini

JJ...that's funny....I just got off the phone with David. He's such a great teacher.

Regina Lee

I haven't watched the video. If I may, I'll say that not every protagonist needs a "core wound." It depends on the story. Some protags have a wound, some merely a flaw, or others an area in need of growth/change/evolution. In more "plot-driven" stories (which are less character-driven), the protag's journey is not chiefly in service to addressing his internal need. For example, in my S32 class, I use JAWS as an example. The movie is not about Chief Brody having to defeat a shark in order to heal an internal wound/flaw/area in need of change. It's an externalized, plot-driven journey. (THE MARTIAN is the same way.) Some stories really, really need a character-driven journey; others movies are different - just as good and valid on their own terms, but they are plot-driven. As long as a writer understands the difference, he can make an informed decision about how to execute his own story.

Jorge J Prieto

Regina: Can honestly say, that as an audience member, we connect with the characters of the movies you cited? I DON'T think so. Now, the topic was, CORE wound in characters and the question was how much of OUR OWN core wounds do we as writers are courageous enough to (I rephrase) cast upon our own characters ? And I we willing to share it with an Exec? It seems, NO writers here at least, are courageous enough to share. I gotta tell you, this Stage 32, April Network Challenge, is really, for me at least, a real waist of my time. Because to have someone, come here and say: " I haven't watched the ( it's only 5 minutes for crying out loud) video. Then totally ignored the questions posted AT the TOP of the thread , tells me, you Regina came here with your own agenda, your own mind made up and totally DISREGARDED the questions I asked, as well as what presentation ( the video which you couldn't watch) I cited as a reference to the topic I presented!!! I'm but, to say I haven't watched the video, then cite films that have nothing to do with the topic at hand, I really find it, very disrespectful.

Regina Lee

Sorry to disrespect your post, Jorge. You have every right to criticize me. My intention was to help make the writers who are writing plot-driven movies feel like their stories as just as valid as writers who are writing character-driven movies. That is how I feel. But I understand why you feel I shouldn't have made that comment under your thread, and I promise you I will never again comment when you're the OP. I don't want to waste your time again! I mean that sincerely.

Jorge J Prieto

JAWS is about a chief of police on a beach Island, who's afraid of the water and now has to fight a giant shark in the Island he works in. Brody, is forced to overcome his fear of the water after the shark tries to kill his older son. Simple plot, no complicated core wounded character. John Williams score saved that film from flopping.

Cherie Grant

Jesus Jorge lay off. Totally over the top response to Regina. And Regina, geez, stand your ground sometimes.

Mark Vincent Kelly

Jorge, too much, too aggressive. Capitals = shouting Your post reads as rude which I assume was not intentional because we've all come here to support and learn from each other, right?

Owen Mowatt

When a poster is right, they're right. And Regina is 100% correct. (Keep up the excellent posts) Vinny, from My Cousin Vinny, has no internal conflict (is there even an antagonist in that story?), neither does Marge from Fargo and many others. As Regina said, this advice is relative to your story and can In fact, be destructive if taken as literally as you claim. I know I was on my way to becoming a better writer, the day I stopped giving "rules" such importance.

Beth Fox Heisinger

Jorge, as Regina stated—THANKS REGINA!—not all characters/plots/stories have or revolve around a "core wound." Some are plot-driven. "The audience knows when a core wound is fake?"—I'm not exactly sure what that means? Do "wounds" seem contrived? Yes, sometimes. It depends. What I find more relevant to ask is: Is a character compelling? Having a "core wound" can certainly make a story very compelling, but it is not absolute. With these insightful tips given by gurus/coaches/etc, I've found it is often best to not accept them as gospel but rather as possibilities. Videos, like the one you posted of Peter Russell, talk in generalizations. One size does not fit all. :)

Bill Costantini

"Well chief....once a great white has tasted the blood of a writer...he's a changed shark, chief. That big old shark ain't gonna want no tuna any more. Writer blood is too hot....too tasty...for that big old shark now. Ain't that right, Hooper? He'll sit there and wait...and wait...for that writer. Sharks have all the time in the world, chief. All the time in the world. And once he takes that first bite...and opens that core wound, chief....farewell and adieu to you fair Spanish ladies....farewell and adieu you ladies of Spain...."

Beth Fox Heisinger

Jorge, you also asked: How much of our own core wound do we give our characters? While our own life experiences/emotions can drive us to write a particular story or enable us to create deeply affecting, authentic characters, we must accept that the story is not about "us," per se. Ego-driven motivations or catharsis pursuits can be a slippery slope. We must be able to be objective about our work. As intimate as your script is to you, once you put it "out there" it is no longer "yours." It has to stand on its own. It's personal, but not personal. :)

Beth Fox Heisinger

New standard? That smells like "rules." Lol! A script should be measured by its own intent. How 'bout... These days, there's a much higher expectation of storytelling, craft and entertainment value. :)

Beth Fox Heisinger

Well, there was mention of blood. HehHeh ...No, no, not shooting anyone in particular, just saying. :)

Bill Costantini

JJ - messengers get shot with regularity. Maybe some people found Jorge's original post to be a bit too obstreperous. We've all agreed in the past about the importance of well-rounded characters with flaws, and how those inner flaws sometimes prevent a protagonist (and antagonist) from getting what they desire. That's a pretty basic element of most dramas and conflict. In Jaws, Brody's flaw (fear of water) didn't do him in, but Quint's flaw (stubbornness) sure did him in. Was that a bad behavior trait, or a "core wound"? I don't know, since it wasn't explored in the film, nor in Peter Benchley's book that was the basis for the film. Flaws and core wounds are pretty important elements to character development and storytelling to me as a writer, and I pretty much agree with the premise and examples given by Peter Russell in his youtube video. Deep, deep hurts caused by others, society or oneself are great ways to create empathy; are great ways for an audience to connect with a character because they are similiar in those ways; and are great ways to set up obstacles to overcome and to achieve salvation and redemption. Maybe they are not always necessary, like Regina said, but I think they sure add depths to stories in the ways that I mentioned above.

David Taylor

WOW. The shark in JAWS knew about the Chief of Police fear of water? I missed that.

Bill Costantini

I could watch Jaws every week. It's one of my favorite films. Every scene is perfectly crafted and has some type of conflict in it. In the action...in the dialogues...in the characterizations....conflict, conflict, conflict. What a masterpiece.

James Murray

As I have more training as an actor than a writer, I'm going with Jorge on this one. If my character isn't in pain, if my heart isn't wide open to that character's pain and letting that pain colour what I do, I will bore you. @ Owen, Vinny has no internal conflict? The man failed his bar exam 3 times, you don't think that he thinks he is an idiot? Everything he does in the movie is to prove that he is as intelligent as everyone else. I've done Quint's monologue about his ship being sunk during the war in acting class. The monologue doesn't come alive until I can see my shipmates being ripped apart by sharks. Is that not a core wound? Granted there is no formula but if my stories don't have characters with wounds and flaws then I better hope that the actors who portray those characters are more sensitive than I am and create those wounds and flaws with no help from me.

Jorge J Prieto

James, Bill , Beth and anyone who had the courtesy and courage to answer the questions I posted. JAMES: You get it and if I helped just one writer here, my job is done. I'm a passionate writer , not a passive or a head writer. I write from the heart, from a place of pain, rage, anger. Every character I create is a piece of me: The hero, the villain, the lover, the predator, the smart ass, the rapist --all of them. From FADE IN to FADE OUT. So, any of us post a question, because we/I feel I'm alone on this one, the least someone can do is, simple answers the question posted or disagree and cite your reasons. I try to give my fellow writers tools that work for me and if they can benefit, great, if not they can continue using what works for them. So, if my passionate honesty in asking, Regina, who you and I know has lots of experience in consulting, to answer my question, watch the material I cited, offended anyone, I'm sorry. Again I say, my passion was more powerful than my reasoning. Regina, in some small way, was more understanding than some of you who judge her own respond to my discontentment to her first post. Thanks Regina. Lastly, put yourselves in my shoes. I always try my best to help and be a positive influence of every member who has questions, I stick to their concerned to their???. I try to pay it forward like, RB, is always encouraging us to do, because I have found very giving people here, all of them, don't participate in the lounges anymore. I wonder why?? But, I'm in touch with them privately . For now, I'll continue down "my slippery road" writing core wounded, flawed characters because that is the type of writer that I am,. You don't need to agree with me. What ever works for all of you, I respect and I expect the same from all you. This is who I am. Nobody said you had to like it. I can't remember who said that, but I like it. Don't worry, you'll see me in the lounges, giving my humble opinion if a question is asked and always welcoming new members, all in the spirit of this site. FADE OUT.

Bill Costantini

James - great points. Quint's core wound is open and exposed in that great monologue. His last words were "anyway...we delivered the bomb." It's probably not a mere coincidence that Brody ends up killing Jaws by bombing him, wouldn't you agree? I guess it's fair to say that Brody's core wound was created when Jaws almost got his son. It became pretty personal there, too. And in the next scene (or two), the man who was afraid of water decided to go with Quint and Hooper to battle the beast. What a great story. Hooper had a core wound, too. Sometimes what some people call a plot-driven movie, and what some people call a character-driven movie...are really a bit of both. But that's another conversation. Great points about My Cousin Vinny, too. That core wound is pretty clear, at least to me. I think he actually failed the bar five times, not three, and he was there to prove to everyone that he was no dummy. An interesting anecdote, if I recall correctly....in the original script, the screenwriter, Dale Laudner, also had Vinny as being dyslexic. When the judge gave Vinny the Alabama law book to read over the weekend, and he stumbled with it (there were even visuals that showed how words appeared differently to people with dyslexia), his girlfriend asked him, "do you want me to read it to you?" He said, "no, I'm not an f*cking child." The director of the film cut the scene because he didn't know how to handle dyslexia in the context of the film, and felt more comfortable portraying Vinny as a guy who was just a bit dumb. And the antagonist in My Cousin Vinny was clearly the system and the scoundrels that Vinny was trying to beat.

Bill Costantini

David - no, the shark didn't know about Brody's fear of water, but more importantly, the audience knew about it. That was a nice piece of writing, wouldn't you say?

Bill Costantini

Jorge - you know how the whole "rules" issue with regards to screenwriting plays out. You really can't expect everyone to agree with a belief like with what you were conveying in your core sentence ("if we as writers can't connect....our audience will never connect or identify.") Regina's opinion differed with yours. You kinda blew up after that. I'm not defending her because she's in the business, or because she's my ex-wife....(heh-heh...no she's not...just an attempt at some levity here)....but everyone is entitled to their opinions, regardless of stature. In my opinion, you kinda undermined your own thoughts when you presented your view as a rule etched in stone, and used the word "we" (meaning...."us writers"), and derailed your thoughts when you blew up after that. Writers, as you know, usually dont like it when other writers try to speak for them with regards to.....oh...everything.....and you should have just kept it to "I". It is a good element that I incorporate in my writings....deep hurts/wounds/deep core wounds for my main characters....and I even agreed with that in this forum topic. You really can't expect everyone else to feel that way, though, and shouldn't get so upset if some don't.

Jorge J Prieto

BILL: I asked a question and the answer from your wife, sorry ex wife, was not answered. Then again I realize that, Regina is not speaking as a writer and my main question which Beth answered, was , how much of OUR OWN core wound do we as writers give to our characters? Look, just because I came across harsh to Regina, which was not my intention, although she along with others is citing and discussing what happened here in her own OP, I simply try to state my opinion, that my question was even answered, nor the source I cited was even considered, as she herself said, she didn't watch. But, then again, I'm not a new writer, what do I know. One last thing: I must say, controversy does sell. Look all that I created here, just for passionately calling someone out? Oops, I forget, one has to be careful who that person is. I thought RB created this platform for ALL of US? Or am I wrong? Was I disrespectful, by stating my feelings, not about the person , but about what was said? Are not entitled to opined, when one feels something? The good news is, I see a story developing here. Don't laugh, I really do. Love you, Billy. REGINA, peace and love. Again if I was offensive, PLEASE accept my APOLOGIES. Would appreciate if someone here delivers my message to, Regina.

Bill Costantini

Jorge - I feel the sooner that you both let it slide, the better. You're both valuable contributors to the forums.

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