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Writing A Screenplay Using The Theme Of Man vs The Evil CorporationThe Insider

There's no shortage of real-life stories and scandals about giant corporations harming ordinary citizens, defrauding people, even endangering people's lives for profit and greed. We read outrageous accounts of corporate greed in daily newspapers and magazines, and we hear reports on television and radio.

Enron, WorldCom, Tyco, savings and loan institutions, pharmaceutical companies, and many others come to mind. Because so many people are affected by corporate
wrongdoing, it has become a popular screenplay theme that has wide audience appeal.

The film, The Insider, is based on the true story of scientist Jeffrey Wigand (Russell Crow), who risked his career, his marriage, and his life to battle industry giant Brown & Williamson Tobacco. Working as a scientist inside the giant corporation, Wigand (the protagonist) was in a position to expose how the corporation deliberately ignored scientific studies showing that their cigarettes contained dangerous additives. He became a whistleblower, appearing on the TV news program, 60 Minutes, and stating that Brown & Williamson was making cigarettes more addictive. Ultimately, he sacrificed his personal happiness to exact justice.


Screenwriters who want to write a screenplay using the theme of man vs the evil corporation should keep in mind that the action must always be driven by the main character. To create a screenplay using this theme, ask yourself several questions:

1.) Who is your protagonist? Is he a doctor, lawyer, reporter, scientist, executive,
     factory worker? How does he use his skills or abilities to fight the antagonist, a
     person who is guilty of wrongdoing? Who is the antagonist? Is he a partner in a law
     firm, the administrator of a hospital, the owner of a newspaper, the owner of a
     chemical company, oil company, or tobacco company? What does he do to harm
     innocent people? What is his main character flaw? How does it lead to his downfall?

2.) What are your protagonist's physical and psychological characteristics? What is he
     trying to achieve? Is he trying to save innocent people from harm? Is he trying to
     clear his conscience? Is he seeking personal revenge?

3.) When does the story take place? Does it take place now, in the past, in the future?

4.) Where does the story take place? Describe the geographic location.

5.) Why do the actions of the protagonist determine how the main conflict of the story
     is resolved? Is the protagonist able to convince other people to support his crusade
     against the antagonist? How does he pursue justice or e
xact vengeance?

6.) How does the protagonist resolve the conflict? Does he save others from being
     harmed by an evil corporation? Does he exact justice for victims of the evil
     corporation? Does he sacrifice his own happiness or his life to resolve the conflict?



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