So after taking a Sunday off, we got back to working on the outline. We’ve completed the outline for Act I, and we’ve locked our main character, Jinx, into a difficult situation. Our resident bad guy, Hunter, was forming a plan to exact revenge on Jinx. You can see the previous outline blog notes in previous posts.
Now as we go into Act II, we need to start creating obstacles for Jinx and begin raising the stakes for him. That can be in the form of human obstacles, or in many cases, moral ambiguities. Both create the dramatic tension we’re looking for. But it can’t all be emotional conflicts and head-butting, and you can’t get right to the dramatic showdown between Jinx and Hunter — you have to build to that point, constantly pulling the rubber band until it can’t stretch anymore, then let it snap into place. And hope that you don’t stretch it too far and break it.
Starting with Act II, Jinx leaves the dock and wants to leave the party. He’s looking for Tate, and goes to the lake house to find him. Not seeing him, he goes in the house, where students parade in and out. Inside, he’s nowhere to be seen. Students are situated around the house – it’s not a wild scene, but people are enjoying themselves.
One of the things we want to try and do with Jinx is show how he has had an effect on others, even when he doesn’t realize it. Why do this? Because one of the themes of this script will be that Jinx has had an impact on the lives of others, even when he can’t see it, especially in this world after the accident where he has built up this belief in his mind of how he’s now a pariah in this small Texas town. So we’ll show small things that begin to add up as we go.
One girl, Savannah, stops Jinx, asks him where he’s going to college. University of Texas, he says. Me, too, she responds. She’s excited because she’ll be able to get help on her freshman history classes. “You saved my ass on a half dozen exams junior year.” Another student with her pipes in. “Saved me too.” Jinx isn’t sure how to respond, but before he can figure it out, the girls are off to chat with someone else.
In addition, we’re going to drop in a little subtext. In this instance, Jinx stops in front of a mantle above the fireplace, where there are various framed pictures. Several of them are of Lucas and Maggie, some with Lucas’ parents. It’s obvious the house belongs to Lucas’ family. We finally land on one important picture: It happens to be Jinx with four other people: one is Lucas. The others are Ellie, Maggie and a guy we haven’t seen yet (Nick). They look happy in the picture. Not a care in the world. Jinx is transfixed by the picture.
From behind Jinx a voice arises: “Remember where that pic was taken?.” Jinx turns, and it’s Lucas. “San Antonio,” says Jinx. “I remember you were surprised by how small the Alamo actually was,” replies Lucas. Jinx agrees. “I imagined it being larger than life.” Lucas follows up with: “I miss hanging out with you. Let’s get together this summer, okay?” Jinx mumbles a half-hearted, “sure.”
The subtext, of course, is that we tend to make things bigger than they tend to be, and in particular, Jinx has made the accident bigger in his mind than it is in others. But Jinx of course can’t see that — yet.
We need to bring Hunter back for another appearance to offset the good feelings we just got from Jinx and Lucas. So Lucas leaves the house and runs into Hunter and his goons. There is an argument over whose side Lucas is on. Lucas makes it clear where he stands and moves on. Hunter mentions to his guys to watch out for Lucas. He might get in the way of their plans, and if they have to, they’ll take care of him as well.
We’ll continue working on this and post the next part of our outline (and other random thoughts) soon. In addition, because of some of you may want to see the continuing outline as we go so we’ll create a page that has our progress. If there is anything else you’d like to see, please let us know!
The further adventures of the screenwriting and marketing process of Lake Regret wherein Gary Howell documents his and Rick Hansberry's screenwriting adventures from concept, to the writing, to how they handle disagreements, to marketing the script. Reproduced with permission