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What do Revenge of the Nerds and The Beastmaster have in common?

I recently looked at a couple Nineties films (Good Will Hunting and Saving Private Ryan) so I figured I’d hit the Eighties this week, when hair was big and love was real.

Two seminal films in the pantheon of cinematic history, Revenge of the Nerds and The Beastmaster, employ a scene archetype that we see in the climax of many a story — the beat that occurs when the friends that the hero made earlier in the movie, whom we’d forgotten about, return to help save the day, thus facilitating the hero’s triumph over evil. Sometimes, they are former enemies who have become allies out of respect for the protagonist’s actions since they first met. Read more

I Love You, Man | Setups and Payoffs Part 2

Excerpt from Story Maps: How to Write a GREAT Screenplay, Chapter 12: Scene Work:

“One could say that a screenplay is merely Setups and Payoffs, nothing more; I wouldn’t disagree. Often the strongest payoffs come in the third act and are set up in the first act.

A payoff is always best when WE get to recognize it, without it being explained to us. In Kill Bill Vol. 2, The Bride uses her hand technique to escape the buried coffin, which we just learned about in the flashback entitled, ‘The Cruel Tutelage of Pai Mei.’ Read more

Kill Bill | Setups and Payoffs Part One

Like Hannibal in The A-Team, I love it when a plan comes together, but especially when it happens in a screenplay in the form of a terrific, unforeseen Payoff to an earlier Setup. If you can call back to an earlier scene and reward me for remembering it, then surprise me with a clever way to use that knowledge, you’ve got me. Read more