Oftentimes, when we’re developing the story of a film, developing the plot of the film, we’re afraid that we’re going to run out of story, that we’re going to run out of the right story. We worry that we don’t have enough story, or a good enough story, that our idea doesn’t work, that we don’t have the right ending, that we don’t know what we’re building, and we get scared.
We start to look outside of ourselves for structure. We start to look outside of ourselves for plot. We start to look outside of ourselves to figure out what happens. Maybe we look at another movie. Maybe we look at a screenwriting book. Maybe we look at a hero’s journey archetype. Maybe, heavens forbid, we look at a software program that pretends it can tell us what happens in our story. Maybe we look to our friends for advice, but none of these places are where we really want to be looking.
Where we want to be looking is inside the content of the screenplay itself. We want to be looking inside of what we’ve already written to figure out where we need to go.
All of the answers for where we need to go in your story already exist in the initial pages of your screenplay. The structure of your movie can grow organically simply by looking at the things that exist in your story, and saying, “If this is true, what else must also be true? And if this is true, what else must also be true? And if this is true, what else must also be true?”
In this context, by the time we make it to the end of the movie, in some way, everything possible must happen..."