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I'm writing a script for a short film so I'm trying to keep the things that are kind of dispendable, away.

The story of the script starts at a bar, with the friend of the main character, a boy, having a small talk with a random girl. Only after that, the main character, a girl, appears on the story. She's kidnapped not long after and now we barely see him until close to the end.

The main character is only introduced to the story after a couple of minutes and it's on a conversation with her friend so there's not much focus on her.

Does this mean that the audience might start to like him from the beginning and want to see him, but after she is kidnapped he clearly isn't going to appear much, leading to a less loved, or less appreciated, main character due to favoritism of a secondary character?

Any other useful advice is always welcome.

  • Are you writing a short story or a script? – Lew Jun 5 '17 at 20:04
  • It's a script for a short – Narok Jun 5 '17 at 20:14
  • I advise you to edit your question. The way it is written right now leaves too much guessing of who is the MC, who is in focus and who is the other, and why the audience does not like her. I am confused already. – Lew Jun 5 '17 at 20:20
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There is a long tradition of false starts and audience mind screws where the viewer thinks they know who the main character is only to realise that they were wrong. Think about Psyco, for example. That was certainly not where you thought the film was going (the first time you saw it).

There is nothing wrong with bringing the protagonist on stage some time into the story if, and only if, what went before is vital for the viewer to appreciate the story. If you could cut it to up the pace, what you have is the movie equivalent of an info dump, or worse, padding.

As long as the content prior to the "important" characters appearing is pertinent and the viewer can understand that it is that is fine. Otherwise, you have a time wasting prelude (in my opinion).

On the whole, the audience will connect with whichever characters are on the screen (or loose interest). They may expect this first character that they met to be important later on so if we never see them again they may feel cheated. Again, that depends on how you tell the story.

I would recommend that you focus on leaving the audience caring about what happens to the victim and everything else will fall into place.

Write it, then fix it. No good came of trying to fix something before it was written.

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It seems like you have no real point of showing the friend first before the MC, from what I can tell on what you've written here. The only time you should not show the MC first is if it's vital to the story. People are so used to seeing the MC's first, that usually the first person they see on screen is assumed to be the protagonist. I've watched a lot of things where this isn't the case and it gets confusing because you think "Oh, they're the MC." but wait- they're gone and it's now actually someone else. It seems the way you're setting it up with the friend being the opening shot, that he should play some sort of a bigger role. He doesn't have to be the MC, but people, in seeing him first, may begin to wonder about him throughout the film. If you don't want to have him until the end, it could work if you made it so that he had some big role in her kidnapping all along. It could surprise the audience and justify why he was seen in the beginning.

  • I forgot to mention that the that first scene was to ensure to the audience that the friend of the MC is in love with her. Over the script he will do what he can to save her – Narok Jun 9 '17 at 17:04
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It's a tricky ask because you are delaying the appearance of your protagonist in a short film. If you were writing a full length feature then by all Means, play around with the intro a bit and see how her introduction paces out. But depending on how short a script you're talking, you don't want to waste too long introducing her.

That said, it could be an interesting slant for you to hold back on her, but as she's the protagonist you'll need to find a way to involve her without her appearance. Perhaps messaging, so she can talk without being present on screen? Maybe said foil is telling a story about her or extolling the virtues that make her your viable lead.

The idea is we need to relate to her, and we can't do that if she isn't there in some capacity, be it physical or otherwise.

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