Is there such a thing as too MUCH conflict? | Script Revolution
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Is there such a thing as too MUCH conflict?

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Clark Ransom's picture
Joined: Aug 2020
Is there such a thing as too MUCH conflict?

I have been watching the Amazon series, The Offer, and what a crazy story!  To me, it speaks to all the zany, stupid, immoral, and stereotypical things that could (and have) happened when trying to get a script to the screen.  What the characters go through in each episode is almost too real.  The problems and conflict thrown at the Al Ruddy character are so intense, so prolific, that it's almost exhausting to watch.  I almost feel like those beats were there, but they got edited out or otherwise for time or, that is what they intended us to feel.

So, it made me wonder if, from a writer's perspective, a script can be too intense, too jarring, and not have enough "down time" to let the audience take a breath.  But... it's a darn good story and it does hold me glued to the screen.  Thoughts?

Peter Gartner's picture
Joined: Oct 2019

Conflict works best when it is simmering tension, only to be released at certain points.

Cannon Rosenau's picture
authenticated user
Joined: Jan 2019

As a writer who is 1000000000% guilty of being too soft on the characters I love...yes, there can be too much conflict. Watching The Flinstones used to stress me out as a kid because I knew that Fred was gonna get himself into some kind of trouble. Although, on the flip's enjoyable if you know what you're getting into when you're watching. And it sticks with the viewer. So I guess my answer is, to each his own.

CJ Walley's picture
Joined: Jul 2016

I think it's purely a taste issue. I can definitely see the possibility that a script is seen as too much of a "downer" for mainstream consumers because it's just too full of conflict. I've had industry members comment that I 'never let my characters off the hook'.

Craig Griffiths's picture
Joined: Sep 2017

A conflict needs to have the possibility or avenue to resolution. Too much conflict is possible if it piles so high it cannot be resolved. People will not be interested. 

If you pile on a large number of conflicts I think it would become "one note". A bit like a video game, going level to level.

I see conflict as a flavour. It is possible to have to much of a flavour.

Vic Burns's picture
authenticated user
Joined: Feb 2017

No. Take 'Rain Man'. Tom's character is perhaps, unknowingly in conflict with HIMSELF for most of the movie. Had this had been resolved early on - short movie.