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Using An Historical Rebel In A Script

Outstanding men and women in history can be very provocative subjects
for a screenplay, particularly those who were rebels. Historical rebels who have done exceptionally brave or daring deeds, like taking a stand against an established government or ruler, make fascinating subjects for screenplays.

In the film, Braveheart , William Wallace, a Scottish common man who lived in the 13th century, leads a rag-tag army against the tyrannical British who rule Scotland. The film, Gladiator, tells the story of one exceptional Roman army general, Maximus, who becomes a gladiator and seeks revenge against the powerful, self-proclaimed emperor, Commodus. 

There are very famous and lesser-known rebels in history whose stories can be transformed into exciting screenplays.


To write a screenplay using an historical rebel as the subject, ask yourself several questions:

1.  Who is the rebel (the protagonist)? Describe the protagonist in detail. Who
     is the antagonist (the villain)? Does the antagonist control an empire, a
     government, or an institution?

2.  What is the rebel's goal? What is the main obstacle preventing him from achieving
     this goal?

When does the story take place? What is the historical time period?

4.  Where does the main conflict take place? Identify the geographic location.

5.  Why does the protagonist fight with the antagonist? What motivates the

6.  How does the protagonist resolve the main conflict? Does he defeat the enemy (the
     antagonist)? Does the protagonist survive or does he give up his own life in the



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