“I worship at the altar of intention and obstacle…When you’re talking about things like theme you have to be really careful because that’s not what’s going to make the car go. Okay? It’s what’s going to be what makes the car be good and give you a good ride. But that’s not what’s going to make the car go—at least not for me. You know, everybody writes different. But for me I have to stick—really closely, like it’s a life raft— to intention and obstacles. Just the basics of somebody wants something, something is standing in their way of getting it. Make sure you have that cemented in place. Themes will then become apparent to you and you can hang a lantern on the ones you like. Bring them into relief, you can get rid of the ones that aren’t doing you any good and you can paint the car and make it look really nice. But the car isn’t going to turn over unless you see to the basics of drama, and drama is intention and obstacles, somebody wants something, something is standing in their way of getting it.” -Aaron Sorkin, writer
For the writer writing the scene and the actor playing the scene (and come to think of it, anyone else’s who’s trying to do something great)…
What do you want? So much so that you’d die (literally and metaphorically) if you don’t get it.
What’s the obstacle? What’s standing in your way from getting what you want?
What are you gonna DO about it.
Bonus points actors, if you can conceal your want from everyone else. Say one thing, but inside, you desperately feel and want something else. (Just like we do in real life.)
P.S. – This scene.
4 thoughts on “Intention and Obstacle”
Not just a bonus for actors; that’s also what is buried into good writing (concealed desire).
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Yes! Awesome addition and 100% agree. Thanks Michael P!