[quote type=”center”]“My hero is awesome, I don’t want to make him look stupid or weak enough to suffer a failed plan.”[/quote] WRONG!
Failed plans don’t make your hero look stupid or weak. They are a chance to show the difficulty of the quest they are on, how strong their opponent is and also, the opportunity to show just how determined the hero is to succeed.
So what is a failed plan?
Take a look at Raiders of the Lost Arc, one of the best sequences in the film is the chase scene when Indy goes after the truck carrying the Arc and after fighting all the soldiers, getting dragged behind the truck he eventually makes it to the ship and escapes with Marion. Only to loose the Arc and Marion when the Sub threatens to blow the ship out of the water.
It’s a failed plan – save the Arc from the Germans but they end up with it anyway. In fact the whole story of Raiders is one big failed plan, nothing he attempts to do actually works out. Even recover the Arc, is a fail because the US government dumps it in a warehouse.
Finding Nemo, one of the best films of all time, has a failed plan. The fish in the tank decide they are going to escape by damaging the filter so the water turns yucky and they get removed from the tank while its getting cleaned and escape. Nemo attempts a very dangerous move to put a stone in the filter, all the more harder because of his lucky fin.
But the escape plan fails because the dentist buys a new electronic filter and the tank is clean. So Nemo has to adapt and attempt a completely different type of escape.
[quote]Failed plans are good for another very important reason – they give you scenes.[/quote]
The writers may have had it in their minds all the time how Nemo was going to escape or have Indy cling onto a periscope. But you can’t just jump to that moment, you have to put the hero through Hell first.
You can have a scene to establish the need for a plan, plan is difficult but working, plan fails, Hero has to adapt to the new situation. These are good scenes and will help you flesh out a story.
See also Irony and then relate that to a failed plan.
Lets Talk About It
Let’s discuss failed plans, which movies have them, how and why they work and of course, why they fail. Start the conversation in the comments box below.