1. rktho

    rktho Contributor Contributor

    Feb 2, 2017
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    Trying to plot the musical idea my friend and I came up with

    Discussion in 'Scripts and screenplays' started by rktho, Jun 29, 2017.

    I was talking with a friend who wants to write a musical. He wants to write the music if I write the script. I got an idea about a singer's journey to fame. There would be numbers with the ensemble and supporting cast, but the thing that would set apart the musical from others is that many of the songs would be ones the lead writes and performs in the story. There would be one song that he's building on throughout the entire musical and it would close with the full live version. The hook of the song would be the musical's message.

    So what I have in terms of plot so far isn't much but it's something to go on. I need help creating supporting roles because so far the plot is only driven by two characters, and I want more people to have opportunities to have major roles.

    The main character is a singer named Gill, is a songwriter who dreams of making it big. He starts a livestream channel to perform online concerts in his room. A girl Gill knew in high school named Madysin, who had a crush on him, notices him again when Gill starts attracting attention on his livestreams. Madysin is a writer and she's just realized that Gill inspired her novel with one of his songs and she wants to contact him so she can thank him, but she can't get ahold of him.

    Eventually, in the second act, Gill would regularly perform onstage with the ensemble playing the concert audience. He would get the real audience to sing along too, but the ensemble members play the fans who have already heard the album versions of the song and know all the words. All the music he performs (i.e, the in-story ones) would be live, whereas the songs that tell the story (ones that the other characters sing) would be part of the musical. He would notice Madysin (though not in a romantic way, as neither are interested in each other at this point) and they would become actual friends like Madysin always wanted.

    So, I need to come up with an actual plot with a more or less even male-female cast and opportunities for the ensemble to shine (aside from the scenes where Gill performs live) and a proper antagonist or two. Suggestions?
  2. Lemie

    Lemie Contributor Contributor

    Nov 5, 2015
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    I love musicals - but I prefer those where people sing randomly and not because they're on a stage. Though there is one exception, which is my second favorite musical - Hedwig and the Angry Inch. The songs are mostly weaved in as the story of Hedwig, so they are not random songs, but they are still songs preformed in front of an audience, not in the street because you feel the need to sing. It's a must-watch if you somehow missed out on it.

    I don't think you should think of making characters to that people will get to play mains - make characters who will fit the story and then if it fits you can give those characters a bigger part. Isn't it most common that a musical have a few characters and that the rest of the ensemble are there to do the background singing and dancing? In the live performances I've seen the rest of the ensemble shine because of clever choreography, not because their part go bigger.

    For antagonists - boil down the plot. What is the musical about? A young man wants to be a rock star - what can come in his way? The writer wants to rejoin with her old friend - what comes in her way? Is there an evil record-producer (or whatever they are called) that tries to keep them apart to make more money (or something like that)? Or is there - okay, I recently woke up, I can't come up with anything good right now. Random titles that has to do with people trying to make it in the music-world: Rock of Ages, Phantom of the Paradise, Rent and of course Hedwig and the Angry Inch from above. Some of those might be a real stretch from your ideas, but all of them (except Rock of Ages) are well worth a watch! You can even call it research ;)

    I don't know your story with musicals, but if you're used to see them as movies, I'd suggest you look up stage performances on youtube. While musical movies might be good - stage performances are MAGICAL (I'd add some links here, but I can't find the clips I want, and they'd just be in Swedish anyway...)

    On a last note, while I don't know the first thing about writing a musical, I think it's best to keep the plot rather simple and have it come to life through the music and choreography.
  3. rktho

    rktho Contributor Contributor

    Feb 2, 2017
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    I'm going to have plenty of that. The "concert songs" are going to be between the musical storytelling songs.

    I'll check it out.

    That's true.

    I have an idea about a friend of Gill's who doesn't think Madysin deserves to be friends with Gill because of the stalkery methods she uses when she's desperate. And a studio executive who tries to get Gill to write something contrary to what he believes in. And a bully who torments Gill as a young boy. I don't think other the record producer has much of a vested interest in keeping them apart because at this point Madysin is a nobody. She gets her book published at the end of the musical. Maybe Gill could have a jealous girlfriend who thinks Madysin wants to steal her man, and Gill can dump her once he realizes what lengths she's gone to stop Madysin from reuniting with him.

    I had an idea where the build-on song-- the one Gill writes that reprises at points throughout the musical with new verses until there's an extended version performed at the finale-- has a title that sums up the message of the play, and the title of the song would also be the title of the musical.

    The reason me and my friend are writing this, actually, is because we're in a community theater group and they love to perform original musicals. We'll do musicals like Seussical and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat, but then we'll do originals like Melodies and Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder-- about the eponymous author, as an old woman, reflecting back on her youth from which she adapted her books, or Shakespeare 101: Passing the Bard, about a slacker student who has to get a good grade on a presentation for a subject he's learned nothing about because he hasn't paid attention. So I'm kind of writing this musical for them, and that's why I want a main cast of more than just two people. But I think I've come up with quite a few supporting characters now that I've thought about what people they need. Now I just need to give them names.

  4. Domino355

    Domino355 Senior Member

    May 11, 2014
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    The way I see it, is that unless you have a clear character concept idea, characters should come with the plot. Once you understand what is driving the story, where the main conflicts are, and who will be able to help with the resolutions, you may be avle to assign characters to their roles. Though, it's important that once you made a character to gilm a certain role in the story, to flesh them out as much as you can, even for side characters.

    Another way is to look up certain character archthypes, and give these types faces. You already have the hero and the love interest, an antagonist is almost a must, and so is a mentor.
    rktho likes this.
  5. rktho

    rktho Contributor Contributor

    Feb 2, 2017
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    I just came up with a new character, Gill's brother Ted the Trap, a rapper who gives him advice. There's the mentor character.


    For starters, how about a studio producer who wants Gill to compromise his work, and after Gill leaves he sings King George-like interludes about how Gill will come back eventually and beg for a label from his studio. He'd sing completely in auto tune. His name will be Mr. Stanton. His opposite will be Mr. Stanley, a mentor character.

    An antagonist for Mads... A fan of Gill's who is "closer" to him than Mads and thinks Mads doesn't deserve to know him. She could end up dating him and he'd dump her at the end of the play. I'll name her Rickie Spinoza.
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2017
  6. rktho

    rktho Contributor Contributor

    Feb 2, 2017
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    Here's what I got:

    Gilligan Cavan— Aspiring singer
    Madysin Beckett— Aspiring writer
    Jeremy “Flight” Concord— Aspiring singer, Gill’s best friend
    Theodore “Trapper” Cavan— Gill’s brother, skilled rapper
    May Angel— Gill’s first girlfriend
    Rickie Spinoza— Fan of Gill’s who ends up dating him and is jealous of Mads
    Autumn Clark— Gill’s third girlfriend
    Mr. Stanton— A producer who wants Gill to compromise his work
    Mr. Stanley— Mr. Stanton’s antithesis and a mentor to Gill
    Dylan Price— Mads’ best friend

    Act I
    A young teen named Gilligan Cavan aspires to be a singer-songwriter and pens a song he performs for his friends at school. Madysin Beckett, who harbors feelings for him, is inspired by him to write a novel about a singer’s journey to fame.
    Now a young adult, Madysin has outgrown her crush but wishes to let Gill know how he has inspired her. She discovers Gill does a livestream online to showcase his music.
    Gill performs a song entitled I Won’t Quit, newly written and diverting from his usual folk style. Madysin attempts to contact him to no avail.
    Gill solicits his brother Ted’s help in composing a rap and Ted spits a few verses. Gill incorporates some of them into the rap he is writing.
    Madysin finds Gill’s email on social media and sends him a message thanking him for inspiring her.
    Gill’s friend Jerry writes his first song and asks for advice on a stage name. Gill suggests “Flight”.
    Madysin confides in her friend Dylan that she has become discouraged in her efforts to contact Gill as he has given no sign of seeing the email. Dylan suggests trying to comment on his livestream. Madysin has already done this with no success but reasons it might work this time.
    Gill introduces his new girlfriend May and a new song he’s written. Madysin gets herself noticed and Gill reveals he saw her email and is proud of her.
    Madysin is ecstatic at this revelation and happy for Gill to have found a girlfriend.
    Gill unveils good news over social media: he has released his first EP. Madysin listens to the track version of I Won’t Quit, Can't Keep Me Down.
    Madysin realizes she desperately wants to talk with Gill in realtime since they haven't seen each other since high school and reaches out to fellow Gill fan Rickie Spinoza. Rickie passes on the message and Madysin finds Gill has blocked her. Rickie says she doesn't deserve Gill because she stalked his follower list to find Rickie and blocks her.
    Rickie joys that Gill has messaged her and condescendingly sneers at Madysin, saying someday Gill will notice her further while Madysin is doomed to obscurity.
    Madysin wonders where she went wrong. Gill reveals over livestream that he broke up with May because she was only using him to get closer to Jerry. Madysin realizes she used Rickie the same way and is ashamed.
    Gill unveils a new song about his breakup with May (performing it on his new loop pedal Ted gave him) and says he forgives her, and pitied her since Jerry rejected her when he found out what she’d done.
    Madysin talks to Dylan about what happened, and Dylan comforts her. He asks what she would say to Gill if she could. Madysin pours out an apology Gill will never hear.
    Flight sings a song that coincidentally describes Madysin’s situation.
    Dylan expresses his feelings for Madysin in a soliloquy and wishes he could redeem her in Gill’s eyes.
    Madysin writes a chapter in her book where her character is going through a rough patch, citing her own pain as inspiration.
    Madysin is approached by an admirer of Gill’s named Autumn, who solicits her help in getting Gill to notice her. Madysin explains she was shunned by Gill for doing the same.
    Madysin finishes her manuscript and dedicates it to Gill. Dylan is incredibly proud of her.
    The company sing through Madysin’s editing process until her draft is finally ready to submit to a publisher.
    Gill closes the act with a loop rendition of I Won't Quit, Can't Keep Me Down with a new verse added.
    Act II
    Gill records a new song in the studio for his first album Scotch Tape.
    His manager, Mr. Stanton, suggests changes to the lyrics that compromise the song’s message. Gill quits to find another label to produce his album.
    Gill inserts an extended verse of I Won’t Quit, Can’t Keep Me Down about being true to his work. His new girlfriend is revealed as none other than Rickie Spinoza.
    Gill continues livestreaming, performing a cover duet with Flight of one of Jerry’s songs for a radio station at Flight’s invitation.
    Gill is noticed by Flight’s manager, Mr. Stanley, who offers to produce Scotch Tape and give Gill the creative freedom he needs.
    Mr. Stanley gives Gill advice on a song he is stuck with and helps Gill get through his block. Gill and Mr. Stanley build on each other’s ideas to write the song.
    Mr. Stanton sings a heavily autotuned number about how Gill will never find success with Mr. Stanley, gloating at how much bigger his company is than his rival.
    Gill releases a promotional single from Scotch Tape addressed to Madysin. Madysin is shocked to listen t oit.
    Dylan reveals he sent Gill Madysin’s apology and Gill unblocked her. However, Gill has forgotten Madysin's contact information and changed his so as not to be bombarded with fan mail, so he wasn't able to contact her.
    Rickie, suspicious, tells Gill Madysin will probably never hear it anyway. Gill concedes she is probably right.
    Gill goes to a convention and Dylan and Madysin attend hoping to find Gill. They run into Autumn. The three of them join up looking to meet Gill.
    Gill performs the rap Ted helped him compose. Madysin sees him onstage with Rickie.
    Madysin is unable to get Gill’s attention but does run into Rickie, who gives her misleading information to keep them apart.
    Rickie sings about how she is jealous and won't let Madysin steal Gill, having no idea Madysin is not interested in Gill.
    Madysin despairs as she cannot find Gill, and Dylan says they’ll find him the next day. Autumn finds a program that reveals Rickie gave them false information.
    Meanwhile, Gill and Rickie get into a fight, as Rickie has been less than cordial to Gill’s female fans. However, they do not break up over it.
    Madysin goes to Flight’s table, asking where to find Gill. Flight takes her to his performance.
    Gill performs a mashup of his song and a one of Flight’s. Flight brings Madysin backstage.
    Madysin and Gill reunite and Rickie’s deception is discovered. Gill breaks up with her and shows interest in Autumn.
    Gill invites Madysin, Autumn and Dylan onstage and performs an extended loop rendition of I Won't Quit, Can't Keep Me Down for the finale.

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