Focusing on the Villain

The villain is the most important character in your screenplay because your villain’s actions shape your hero’s destiny. Make your villain someone out to destroy the world and your hero has to save the world. Make your villain someone out to kidnap a baby and your hero must now be someone who must find and rescue that baby. Your villain is actually more important than your hero because your villain defines what type of hero your main character must be.

In most movies, the villain is easy to identify. Think of Darth Vader in “Star Wars” or the aliens in “Cowboys and Aliens.” However, sometimes the villain isn’t so easy to identify such as in “The Blind Side,” where the hero is a poor black student trying to survive against poverty, lack of education, and lack of opportunity.

In “The Blind Side,” there is no single person or organization trying to stop the hero, so what “The Blind Side” does is introduce the main problem right away, which is a woman investigating whether Sandra Bullock and her family violated NCAA rules in convincing the hero to attend Ole Miss for school and football.

By introducing this woman, representing the NCAA, right from the start, we can see the problem the hero will eventually face. Now we flashback to the main story and this NCAA woman never appears again until the end when all of the hero’s life suddenly comes into focus and we remember this NCAA woman threatening to tear the hero’s life apart.

Unlike most confrontation scenes in movies like “The Terminator” or “Die Hard,” the hero and villain have just a brief battle, and the hero succeeds in winning the villain over.

The villain in “The Blind Side” is simply a woman from the NCAA who poses a single threat to the hero at the end. As a result, the confrontation scene is fairly short. However, by showing us this confrontation scene at the start and then showing it again near the end, it reminds us of the consequences of losing since the hero worked so hard to get to a football scholarship and now it’s all threatened to be taken away from him.

If your villain isn’t an easily identifiable person who constantly threatens the hero, use “The Blind Side’s” technique of letting us know the consequences first and then reminding us of the significance later. This technique is unique but effective, and helps keep the villain moving the story from start to finish, even if the villain has no part of the bulk of the story.

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