Development and Pitching Homework Due Oct. 15th, 2015: Egri's Premise Tool
To help you with your homework for Oct. 15th (write an Egri statement for a film) please read this post about Lajos Egri's premise tool:
As we discussed, Egri's "premise" statement is just one of several tools that we will employ - as we discuss how producers and screenwriters develop scripts.
According to Lajos Egri, a well-defined character will drive the plot. (And not the other way around.)
Egri’s approach suggests that the conflict in the best dramas comes from a character’s strongest trait (great love, jealousy, ambition, etc.) encountering an obstacle. In Egri’s model - the struggle that ensues when a character’s defining trait encounters opposition will lead to a resolution that reflects the “premise” (i.e., theme, big idea, central organizing principle, moral, etc.) of the drama.
Perhaps you’re familiar with the German philosopher Hegel? Is it possible that Hegel's ideas about progress have influenced Egri’s model? Specifically, that a character starts with a thesis, that encounters an antithesis, and that leads to a resolution or synthesis?
Egri seems to suggest that a protagonist’s defining character trait, organized around a thematic truth, will suggest a conflict that can be organized as a drama with a beginning, middle and end.
For example, a character’s stinginess (thesis), will meet with inevitable opposition (antithesis) and then a resolution (synthesis) – which might be that character’s ruin or a new relationship with stinginess (see Scrooge) depending on the message the author hopes to convey.
Who is your protagonist?
What is your protagonist’s strongest trait (great love, jealousy, ambition, etc.)?
What obstacle(s) are encountered by her or him?
What is the struggle that leads to a resolution for her or him?
What is the resolution?
Is your protagonist's struggle organized as a mounting series of conflicts?
Does a protagonist's defining trait lead to a clear conflict that concludes in a final Act 3 struggle?