A story conflict is a gap between what the protagonist of the story wants or needs, and the forces that prevent him from getting it. To build a story conflict, you need two forces that will work against each other. It’s a primary tool in every story that creates tension. The conflict will result at the end of the movie.
The conflict is the most crucial part of writing a script. It is the tool you use to help your main characters face their fears and all other emotional issues. By seeing how they react to the conflicts, we learn more about them and get to know them better. If a conflict reveals different sides of the characters that we didn’t know before, then our character is a good three dimensional one. It is also a tool that will help us to understand our story’s premise better.
There are three levels of conflicts you can use in your movie:
Identifying the central conflict in a movie can sometimes be a little tricky, but you have to do it, or you won’t be able to get very far.
The central conflict should be summarized in one sentence:
“The central conflict is between ___ (the main character) and ____ (the opposing forces).
If You have trouble defining that, then you need to investigate your story better.
Here is how to do it:
Every conflict that the main character is dealing with, should also represent something bigger that is at risk for the character. For example, characters can have a moral conflict, but if they lose, the stakes are high that they might join to the evil army, so it make the conflict even stronger.
We now agree that every good story needs a conflict, but your conflict needs to grow and develop throughout the film. The sooner you’ll bring in the conflict (as a very small one at the start), the better it will be for your movie. If you don’t want to start the conflict right at the beginning, it can also be useful to insert some subtle clues and hints to the upcoming conflict. The conflict will grow with obstacles that get harder and harder to overcome into a point where everything that gained might be lost if the protagonist won’t win this last obstacle. That point is called the climax. The climax usually will reveal to us in what way the hero has changed.
Every scene needs to have a conflict in it, and every time you show a conflict in a scene, you need the audience to care about the outcome.
After you set the goal of your character, try to see what the character wants to achieve in every action it acts, in every scene. The character may say to its daughter not to go to the party because it’s dangerous, but what she wants might be for her daughter not to grow up, so she will not feel she is getting old.
Look for the main character goal in everything she does and says and then look for what is the force that works against this small goal.