If you're like me and you've studied screenwriting for what seems like forever, you've read Save The Cat, Story by Syd Field, you've been to Robert McKee's seminars, or you've consulted with the great like Michael Hauge, Jen Grisanti, or John Truby. You've heard it all in terms of how to write a script, and you've noticed that terms and practices have become cliché. They've become cliché because of not only how often they're used, but because of how true they are. There are so many tropes, lessons, tools, and vocabulary words that after a while, it's overwhelming. We're inundated with people saying, "here's how ya do it!" But really, folks, understanding what audiences want doesn't take a team of consultants. It doesn't take years worth of classes. You don't need an MFA in screenwriting in order to hook your audience.
According to Moira Kirland, and I happen to whole-heartedly agree with her, it's all about character. It's all about setting a character within a situation that will continually allow for fun, conflict, and drama. That's really all it is, folks, and if we over think this, we're going to just sit and stare at the wall for hours and eventually give up.
Moira Kirland is currently the Co-Executive Producer on the CBS show, Madam Secretary, but she has served as a writer, producer, and Co-Executive Producer on a number of other hugely popular and successful shows such as Medium, Castle, and Arrow. Moira knows how to hook an audience, and I couldn't agree more that she says it's as simple as defining a character who is in an extraordinary situation, but while balancing relatable and real-life circumstances.