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Conflict In Your Screenplay

Just as you must give your screenplay a main conflict in order to make your story exciting, so too must you create a main obstacle that your protagonist (hero) will struggle to overcome.

To create your obstacle, ask yourself several questions:

  1. What is your protagonist's goal? In other words, what is he trying to do, get, or achieve?
  2. Who is preventing the protagonist from obtaining this goal? The person who stands in his way is the antagonist (villain).
  3. What is the protagonist's main obstacle to achieving his goal?

In Raiders of the Lost Ark, archaeologist Indiana Jones wants to obtain the Lost Ark of the Covenant by digging for it in Tanis, an ancient city in Egypt. So, his goal is to retrieve the Lost Ark, which is reputed to contain the Ten Commandments and to possess the power of God.


The main obstacle to his goal is that a French archaeologist named Belloq is already helping an army of Nazis dig for the Ark in Tanis.

So, to overcome this large obstacle, Indiana Jones must pursue the Ark in several stages of action, each of which has its own smaller obstacles.

To structure the plot of your own screenplay effectively, you must create a goal for your protagonist, devise a main obstacle that is preventing him from achieving that goal, and break this obstacle down into smaller obstacles.

By using these techniques, you will write a screenplay that is exciting enough to captivate producers, directors, and literary agents.

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