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Screenplay for The Mothman Prophecies

The Mothman Prophecies ....Subject: Plot Structure
The Mothman Prophecies

In "The Mothman Prophecies
," the collapse of the bridge overlooking the Ohio River serves as the main prophecy in the screenplay and functions as the climax of the story.

This incident is also the focus of the story, during the progression of which, the protagonist--John Klein (Richard Gere)--is given hints by a supernatural entity known as the Mothman that the residents of Point Pleasant, West Virginia, will be involved in a "great tragedy."

Klein, a Washington Post reporter, ends up in the town of Point Pleasant as a result of the death of his wife, Mary (Debra Messing). It is her death that is the inciting incident of the story and the beginning of the
cause-and-effect chain of events leading to the collapse of the bridge there.

After Mary is injured in a car accident, doctors find that she has a brain tumor. She dies a short time later, leaving behind a notebook of drawings depicting the Mothman, a being she saw during her accident.

To avoid dishonoring Mary's memory by going on a date set up by his friend, Klein leaves Washington, D.C., early for a business trip. Inexplicably, he ends up in Point Pleasant, WV, hundreds of miles away from his chosen destination.

He finds that he has traveled a long distance by car in an impossibly short amount of time. So, he uses his skills as a journalist to investigate this strange phenomenon.

During his investigation, he discovers that the residents of Point Pleasant are haunted by the supernatural Mothman, the very being depicted in his late wife's drawings.

He also falls in love with Connie Parker (Laura Linney), a woman police sergeant in Point Pleasant who assists him in his investigation of the Mothman.

During the climactic scene, the collapse of the Point Pleasant bridge, residents waiting in their cars on the bridge start to plunge to their deaths.

John Klein risks his life to save them and Connie, the woman police sergeant, who is in her police SUV on the bridge.

In this way, he tries to thwart the Mothman's prophecies of death and to renew his faith in life by preventing Connie's death--something he couldn't do for his wife, Mary.

So, we see that all scenes in "The Mothman Prophecies" revolve around the climax, the collapse of the bridge. This climax gives the story a
razor-sharp focus, revealing the motivation for John Klein's actions. In this way, character and plot become inseparable.

When structuring a screenplay, writers should use this film as a guide. By doing so, they can learn how to create a story whose scenes are part of a cause-and-effect chain of events leading to a climax.

The result will be a solid, tension filled screenplay.

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