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Old 07-15-2018, 07:05 PM   #1
sfoster
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Free Will vs Pre-determined Destiny

Someone engaged me in this age old philosophical question - do we have free will ?
Or are we wholly the product of our genes and environment.

What I'm here to discuss with you all however is a little different.
In the context of story do we give our characters free will?

I say No. We don't want our characters to have free will!
We want our endings to be surprising but at the same time inevitable, we want destiny to unfold and the audience to say "yeah that makes total sense, why didn't I see that twist coming!!"

We want plot and character choices to influence and inform the next scene as the story unfolds.

What we DON'T WANT is this .. lets pick a big famous movie, like say Shrek
Originally Shrek gets his swamp massively occupied, and his character doesn't like being surrounded by strangers in his swamp so off he goes on his farkwad adventure. His genes and backstory wholly motivate this reaction of his.

But what if he instead of reacting in character he made a choice?
He said "Whatever I'll adjust."

That makes for a terrible story because the choice is out of character.
We only want "choices" that are in character, choices that are 100% based on the genes and environment of our characters. Anything that deviates from "in character choices" we regard as bad, and therefore I propose that we don't want characters in story to ever make a real choice.
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Old 07-16-2018, 04:36 AM   #2
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Movie character don't have free will: the writer sets them up to go through shit.
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Old 07-16-2018, 06:29 AM   #3
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yeah its a pretty wacky question to ask about free will of fictional characters

maybe another way to look at is behavioral predictability.
we want characters in our story to be completely predictable if you were know them well enough

and then there is fun in getting the know those characters as we observe their behavior in different situations.
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Old 07-16-2018, 07:03 AM   #4
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It is like some endgames of chess:
at first there are many choices, but in the end moves can be forced upon a player.

But this happens a few times in a script: the events create a funnel where choices are being forced on the characters. They get pushed through the funnel and get into this new situation that builds up towards the inevitable.
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Old 07-16-2018, 07:16 AM   #5
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I think you have to watch ober. A downtrodden waiter decides to take up matters with the screenwriter determined to make him suffer.

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Old 07-16-2018, 07:30 AM   #6
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Alex van Warmerdam toch?
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Old 07-16-2018, 01:34 PM   #7
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Quote:
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Alex van Warmerdam toch?
Jup...got it on DVD. Think this one is better than Borgman.
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Old 07-16-2018, 01:46 PM   #8
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If an actor does something out of character, we may say "He would never do that. This is too unbelievable."

If an actor is too predictable we may say "Saw that coming!"

So isn't it a bit of toeing the line? But not a homogenized line, more of a... take the other fork in the road, twist, line.
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Old 07-16-2018, 02:09 PM   #9
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. take the other fork in the road.
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Old 07-16-2018, 02:11 PM   #10
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Fine. I'll take the other fork in the sky.

(I may be interpreting that wrong, but as the fork is the wrong way, all 3 paths lead to the same place... or it may just be a "funny" since it's a literal fork.)
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