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Tip #1745: How to Make Script Subplots Shine

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

We focus on the main plot, but subplots give a film life.

An example of a film script, from Tootsie.

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This article, written by Jason Hellerman, first appeared in NoFilmSchool.com. This is a summary.

So much of the time we spend writing is focusing on what happens in the main plot. As a result, we often forget other things have to happen as well. Writing movies and TV shows is not an easy thing to do. You have to juggle characters, their motivations, and make sure the audience cares about all of them.

In this article, Jason Hellerman goes over the stuff that happens outside of the main plot, the subplots, and the B-stories that make your movie or TV show feel whole.

In screenwriting for film and television, a subplot is one of the threads of the plot that is supporting the main plot.

There can be more than one subplot, and they can have crossover scenes with the main plot. Subplots usually have their own supporting characters besides the protagonist or antagonist. They have their own wants, desires, and arcs.

If you want to add a new dimension to your script to deepen your theme, a subplot can greatly help. Most scripts, whether film or television, have a few subplots. Now, you don’t want so many that they distract from the main story, but lots of time they can support what’s happening on the main pages.

The best subplots build out the world of the story. They help expand the universe, the themes, and the overall mission and intention of the story.


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