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Learn & Become A Better Screenwriter


Other Aspects of the Goal

The goal should be incredibly important to the Protagonist – otherwise why pursue it?

The goal should be sufficiently difficult to achieve – if it’s too easy for the Protagonist to get what they want, the story will lack conflict and will not be very exciting for the audience.  Remember, we are creating stories that are “larger than life” and need to be full of conflict and difficulty for the Protagonist.

The goal should be appropriate to the genre and/or character growth – is it the most satisfying choice given what entertainment you’re promising the audience? 

For example, in many romantic comedies the goal is to win over a love interest.  This is appropriate to the genre because the genre is intended to be about love and relationships and the potential heartbreak of not being with the right person.  In There’s Something About Mary, Ted takes many steps to try to win Mary over but in the end learns to be honest with her, not pursue her using ploys or dishonesty, and to sacrifice his desires for her happiness. 

Tips for Developing Your Protagonist’s Goal

    • First, identify what your Protagonist wants or is trying to achieve – and be specific.  Is it something active and visible?
    • What distinct steps do they take to achieve it?
    • What or who stands in their way?  (Opponent and obstacles)
    • Does the Goal change at any point?
    • Does the Protagonist achieve the Goal in the battle?  Is this result positive, negative, or ironic?

Now go give your characters great things to achieve!