Day Three at eQuinoxe
I met with my first two writers today. Both had very interesting scripts. A general lesson to be drawn from these projects and the others I am working on has to do with the story’s antagonist–
Your antagonist is your protagonist’s main adversary. This person is not necessarily evil or bad, but he or she is a significant obstacle to your main character’s goal. The antagonist actively stands in your main character’s way.
The antagonist must provide a formidable challenge. His or her actions force your character to change or grow in some significant way.
In life and in film we choose our enemies as surely as we choose our friends. We choose the antagonist who will teach us the most.
Create an antagonist who will test and push your protagonist to the limit of his or her character. Force your character to make a defining choice about his or her most important values.
Create an antagonist who is smart enough to use and play upon your character’s fears. Who is your worst enemy? Yourself. A truly formidable antagonist attacks the character from within.
Create an antagonist who uses the weapon of fear to tempt, push, prod or entice your character into making bad choices and falling into the traps of self-defeat, insecurity or self-destruction.
The best antagonists aren’t evil. They are deeply afraid. They live in a state of constant heart-stopping dread. They feel they simply can’t afford to allow themselves to have empathy or concern for others. Or they may be deeply afraid for the protagonist. They try to manipulate and control out of obsessive or crushing concern. These antagonists also limit or destroy the character out of fear, perhaps not consciously but destructively all the same.