Thursday, December 10, 2020

It’s All Built to This

UPDATED: I realized The Fugitive wasn’t on there!  And I added alternate colors for different sections of the checklist. 

Hi guys. Many years ago, I tried collating all my existing checklists into an Excel spreadsheet, but it was sort of slapdash. Since then I’ve shortened and finalized the checklist and analyzed a lot more movies, and I’ve needed a better resource for writing my book, so hoo-boy, folks, I finally did it for real. 

It’s all come to this. This things really works beautifully. Did our recent Head-Heart-Gut podcast leave you wondering how it works in more examples? Just download this checklist and scroll down to Head-Heart-Gut and you’ll have 29 examples all lined up in a row. It’s a beautiful thing. I know I’ll find it useful and I hope you do too.


Jehangir said...

Thanks for sharing this, Matt!

Carol White said...

Wonderful! Just finished your wonderful book and am ready to tackle my own mess of a novel using your 122 questions and this chart.

Nat said...

Wow, what a resource! It's already proving useful. I did have a question bubble up between reading this and listening to your recent head-heart-gut podcast: do you consider there to be a different or shorter checklist specifically for supporting or ensemble characters (as opposed to the singular hero)?

For example, if you were creating Star Wars, are you going to check all the boxes for Han, Leia, and Obi-Wan that you do for Luke, knowing that Luke is the audience's chosen hero? Or alternately, if you were creating 30 Rock, would you go down the entire list for each of Liz, Jack, Tracy, and Kenneth? How about Pete or Frank?

Using a different split, you talk about how in The Wizard of Oz we get Dorothy as a 3-D character and the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Lion as head/heart/gut aspects. (Same as House and his three assistants.) How does the work of creating Dorothy differ from the others?

I guess what I'm asking is, does/should the same level of depth and detail go into the many characters that aren't specifically designed for the audience to choose as their hero? If not, what might an abbreviated checklist look like?

Thanks for everything you do!

Matt Bird said...

So glad you find it useful!

The TV Pilot Checklist has an additional section (between the second and third sections) specifically about creating great ensembles around the hero: http://www.secretsofstory.com/2014/09/the-ultimate-pilot-story-checklist-v3.html

Whatever you do, don't drive yourself crazy doing a checklist for every character. Hopefully after you've answered all these questions about one hero, then you'll start automatically keeping them in mind for the other characters.

Nat said...

That’s what I get for not reading the TV posts yet! Thanks, Matt.