The Importance of Emotional Change

There’s a huge difference between a good idea and good implementation. You can have a good idea but implement it poorly. That’s why certain bad movies get made because the idea is appealing, but the actual story floundered. Just look at the past month’s recent box office bombs and you can see good ideas that just didn’t turn into good stories.

On the other hand, you can also find seemingly boring stories turned into great movies. What premise sounds like am ore interesting movie? A man goes back in time to defeat a killer robot or five high school students spend a Saturday morning in detention? Initially, the first option sounds better until you realize it describes “Terminator Genisys,” which proved boring and unsatisfying while the second option describes “The Breakfast Club.”

A bad movie like “Terminator Gensys” shows you that an interesting idea combined with lots of action can’t make a good story by itself. “The Breakfast Club” shows that the lack of special effects and an interest premise can still be overcome with a strong emotional story, and that’s the key to making a good movie. Focus on the emotional impact your story will give to the audience.

Bad movies omit this emotional impact altogether. Watch “Terminator Genisys” or any other bad movie and you’ll see that when it ends, you won’t care one bit about the characters or how the story might have affected your own life because it hasn’t. When you see a great movie like “The Dead Poet’s Society” or “Schindler’s List,” you’re moved emotionally because the story also affects how you think and view the world afterwards.

In “The Breakfast Club,” five teenagers sit around and talk, often fighting with each other in the process. Yet by the end of the story, all five lives are changed and we as the audience are changed too. Compare that to any bad movie like “Terminator Genisys” where the plight of the characters means nothing emotionally because the characters don’t change or grow. In bad movies, characters essentially lack emotional change and that’s what makes bad movies so painful and dreary to watch.

The key to a good story is to make your hero change emotionally. Show the hero emotionally vulnerable. Without emotional change and vulnerability, you don’t have a story. Period.

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