1. redbaron
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    redbaron Member

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    Musical plot becoming a real head scratcher...

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by redbaron, Mar 19, 2009.

    I've spent the last year of my life writing a musical in my spare time...well, coming up with endless pages of brainstorming and possible synopses at least. I just don't seem to be able to come up with anything that worth writing a script about nor of any plot sense.
    Basically, about a year ago I was talking to my friends about writing a musical having just come off of doing Anything goes (Something which I had been so thrilled to be a part of it pushed my desire to write a musical tenfold) and had also watched the Producers around the same time. I decided I wanted to write something that was certainly a laugh out loud riot, an original plot that would further evoke the comedy, and ever so slightly balanced with a love story that actually had an interesting message. All I knew at the time was that I wanted it to be about a Strike, and including a comedy salesman.
    Coming up with the plot at first seemed fine. I took six months to flesh something out, come up with solid characters, and begin a script. It was only then that I realised that while the lyrics were fine, the plot was very one-note, which bored me (and following that possibly an audience) and didn't really have anything to do with a strike. I also realised that I didn't really want to do a typical company musical but I was (and still am) desperate to write something revolving around a strike.
    I still have some golden ideas, but most of my stuff is absolute bleurgh. I have convinced myself that I can write it alone but it's blatantly not so. I need help. Does anyone have any seeds of ideas that could help me make an even remotely madcap musical about a Strike? My mind needs unplugging somehow...
    BTW, when I say musical comedy, think along the lines of Gilbert and Sullivan meets Sondhiem meets Mel Brooks feel.
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    If the plot is thin, up the stakes on the main plot's conflict (if you aren;t clear on the connection between plot and conflict, see this post: What is Plot Creation and Development?).

    Then find or add additional subplots and conflicts. In a musical comedy, the conflicts might be based on misunderstandings, or different perspectives on the same facts. Also consider using love triangles to introduce tension.

    Comedy is difficult at best. Study the hest muisal comedies out there for ideas, and don't forget te importance of warmth. If the charact6er's aren't likeable on some level, your story will flop.
     
  3. redbaron
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    redbaron Member

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    I understand what you mean (there are some brillaint threads on here, BTW, as many other sites seem to fail to actually point out the full differences) but the thing is that every time I create conflict I'm dragging myself out of the strike concept, and without that I have no other original ideas to put any conflict into....
    I had some ideas involving many sub-plots: a well to do british pilot drops in and steals the main characters thunder, the strike was being manned by people who weren't very effective, and the idea that the salesman was originally a glorified boss of some kind. But (apart from the pilot idea) everything just didn't seem to connect or sounding too much like something else (rather than just parodying it). I just don't know how I can create anything good without the base of the strike plot.
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    What about the issues behind the strike? Assuming it's not simply about money, you may be able to add depth that way. Or is someone backing the strike as part of a harebrained scheme to perpetrate a scam that somehow goes awry (a la The Producers)?
     
  5. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    You said you wanted it to center around the strike, but you also wanted to have a loose love story in there. Why not combine those two ideas?

    Maybe the guy is working for a company that is trying to stop the strike. The female is involved in the strike, and perhaps she has a lot of influence in the striker's momentum. Or vice versa.

    Maybe the girl is a lawyer, or investigator trying to find loops holes, or dirt, or anything to stop the strike. She starts to fall for one of the people involved in the strike. The more she falls for him the more she starts to see the purpose for the strike.

    She finally finds dirt on the guy that could end the strike, but will she use it now that she cares for him?
     
  6. redbaron
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    redbaron Member

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    I like the idea of developing the issues behind the Strike- I'm mainly worried that I'll suggest something either not worth striking about or something simply unfeasible.
    Originally the female was indeed involved in the strike- the hero had come back to find his love only to discover she was leading the strike and that they were divided by policies. It still left out the role of my salesman, however, who I felt should really be at the center piece.
    One idea I was happy with was something I'm still not sure about working, so I'll ask: My villain was to have been a member of the strike who wanted to take it further and actually turn it into a hostile takeover, but the female leading it refused to act harshly. Eventually, she fell in love with the hero and the villain took over. So my question is, would that be too thin or could that really go somewhere?
    I also really like the idea about being a company involved in stopping the strike, so maybe that could work into one of the side stories...
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    red...
    i've written a musical book and lyrics, would be glad to give you a hand with this... drop me a line, if you'd like to discuss it...

    love and hugs, maia
    maia3maia@hotmail.com
     
  8. redbaron
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    redbaron Member

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    Fair enough, I shall.
    I'd still want to keep the thread open to see if anyone else thinks they can help, though...
     
  9. Neha
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    Neha Beyond Infinity. Contributor

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    hmm...you want a strike?? and a comedy salesman?? and a love story? and a villian?

    Well, I have an idea, it's kind of stupid, but still. The hero is a man who's recently done a take-over of the company where the woman is a worker. He's planning on laying off people to cut the expenditure and is bringing in some of his own men, including a salesman who's brilliant, but a bit, okay, a lot forgetful. The salesman completely keeps forgetting that he's supposed to be looking into the company's product tallies and the reason for their failure even though the estimated demand was high, and keeps getting into situations he shouldn't. Meanwhile the woman has gathered all employees of the company and declared a strike, stopping all the current WIP. The big man, irritated by this unforseen problem comes to check out this strike when, smack, he runs into the woman who's coming from the other side. It's love at first sight for him, only she sees him as the enemy. The secretary of the hero(who's been secretly in love with the boss) see this change in him, and hates the woman for him. She starts playing the evil witch, doing her best to sabotage everything in the company and making sure all evidences point at the woman, which makes the hero suspicious.

    Ok, I could write more, but my fingers hurt, and it's not all that great. Just an idea..;)
     
  10. redbaron
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    redbaron Member

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    Actually, there are some nice points in there (and certainly enough to help me start realising that further ingredients that I wanted previously are helping enhance the story ideas....)
    EDIT: I'll also try and update my status and thought trails when I can, too, as sometimes I'll have a quick burst of ideas only to see them all crumble on paper.)
     
  11. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    for comical results of a strike, pick up 'never on sunday' from your local video store...
     
  12. redbaron
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    redbaron Member

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    Ooh...I shall do so.
    Currently I've got the idea that the hero is the apprentice of the salseman, and that the first act is set in a small town and the second in the city (with the salseman having been captured by the police for a crime he actually didn't commit.) It gives all the chaacters excuses to head for the city, such as the hero going to save him and the others going in for the strike. I've also used the pilot as a rival for the main hero and said salesman. But getting all of the ideas in order is still proving difficult to produce something that could be fun for the audience and at the same time fit in the ideas that will make for nice little throwbacks to other musical comedies.
     
  13. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    sounds like you're going about this bass-ackwards... instead of letting all those disconnected scenes rattle around in your head, you first need to come up with a comprehensive plot, starting with a basic concept/premise... which is the reason i told you to come up with a 'logline' that will state the storyline premise in 25 words or less...

    then, you need to figure out what will get the mc from square one to the happy [or not] ending... what is his goal?... what are the obstacles that keep him from attaining it and/or have to be overcome to get there?...

    who is the antagonist?... what is his/her/its goal?... how far will they go to attain it, or to keep the protag from getting to his?...

    who's the love interest and what is her goal?... who stands in the way?...

    and how the heck does a strike connect all of the above?

    only after you have all of that figured out, will it make any sense to be thinking up scenes...
     

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