"Hollywood Formula" on Writing Excuses

So I was listening to this podcast, which is only 20 minutes, and I was intrigued by the Protagonist, Antagonist, Relationship character.

I’d really like to know what y’all think particularly when it comes to his take on Dark Knight.

Give it a listen, and let me know what you think.

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Was there a link you wanted to share with us?

Good gods, I’m tired…it’s been a long weekend of the SiWC.

Yes, yes here’s the link

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I already disagree with his definition of “Protagonist” as the “star of the show”.

(I’m also always a bit annoyed when non-Hollywood people are chosen to talk about how films are structured.)

(around 14:30) This might not be relevant, but he doesn’t accurately name the “Protagonist” of Casablanca according to Dramatica, so he’s on a different path and whatever he says is unlikely to align with Dramatica.

I am actually having trouble understanding what this guy means by the Relationship character—it’s so broad that it seems like it could encompass a sidekick, though I think it generally seems like it would point to the IC. Also annoying: it implies change is a must. Ugh.

Is your question about Dent being the Antagonist? It’s clearly the Joker, but obviously Dent isn’t a traditional character because of his arc. I think this guy is getting confused because Dent is alive longer than the Joker.

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Definitely. The thing causing conflict for everyone is not Bruce Wayne not wanting to be Batman. It’s been a while since I’ve seen it, but does that even come up in this film or is the guy in the podcast carrying that sentiment over from Begins?

Could this cry out any harder for a need to split the MC and the Protagonist?

I don’t know if it comes up, but I think it must because the drive of the movie pushes him into a more extreme version of Batman, so you’d want the irony of that. Plus he loses Gyllenhaal, right? Can’t date because he’s Batman?

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Does Dramatica define Lazlo or Ilsa as the protagonist? Presuming here that “obtaining” the letters of transit is the goal. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen Casablanca and I wanna say it’s Ilsa trying to get them, I think she even has a line like he didn’t/wouldn’t send me. (for the letters of transit).

Lazlo, I think. The papers are the objective certainly

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Looking at the analysis, is that his Universe problem? That he’s stuck being Batman? I haven’t watched this one since I’ve been mildly competent with Dramatica. May be time for a rewatch.


I can’t remember how Universe is illustrated, and I can’t find my write-up.

But it’s worth re-watching now that you know Dramatica to see how a partial storyform is used to build conflict in the Wayne/Dent/Rachel Dawes love triangle at the beginning. Not everything needs to be complete to have an effect!


I love this podcast. I’ve been listening to it for years. Its anchored by my favorite author- Brandon Sanderson- and his buddies. Lots of awesome nuggets for authors.


They combined SIWC with WXR. Listening to everyone’s story advice is really hard for me now. I always wanna step in go “…Well, not exactly…”


I just started listening to Writing Excuses from the beginning, I’m up to Season 2 – Nov 2008. It’s great. What I like about them is that (so far at least) whenever they talk about structure someone will step in and say “but don’t let that box you in”. Which is about the best anyone can expect from folks who don’t know Dramatica.

I really liked it when one of the guys gave his take on 3-act structure, and then Sanderson stepped in and said, “okay but don’t let that constrain you because in my 500,000 word books I generally have about 12 or 15 acts”. And started describing how some of the characters had 3 acts “of their own” which I’m sure is his way of conceptualizing substories.

What does this mean, two podcasts got combined? I don’t know the acronyms. :slight_smile:

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Surrey International Writers Conference combined with the Writing Excuses Retreat (normally a cruise, I believe). Two of my favorites from over the week(end) were from Dan Wells from Writing Excuses.

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There was a conference ( Jordan Con, I think) where Brandon said he usually wrote in 4 Acts. I had an “aha” moment instantly, especially because I was still green in my understanding of Dramatica.

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