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Written by Leigh Whannell, directed by James Wan,

Who is the main character? – Josh Lambert

  • What is the main character trying to accomplish?
    Physical: Bring Dalton’s soul back to his physical body.
  • Emotional: Take the responsibility to help his wife whenever problems arise (or is this his flaw?)
  • Spiritual: Accept that there exists a spiritual world next to the physical one.

Who is trying to stop the main character? – The Lipstick-Face Demon.

What happens if the main character fails? – Dalton’s body will be taken over by the Lipstick-Face Demon and Dalton’s soul trapped in The Further: dead.

How is the main character an orphan in Act 1?
Josh distances himself from every problem that arises (parking tickets, Dalton’s situation). He also distances himself from the rest by not believing in a spiritual dimension.

How is the main character a wanderer in Act 2a?
After Josh learns that he is a “Traveler” just as his son, he leaves his physical body and travels into “The Further” to find Dalton. After some clueless wandering in the dark, a boy (the younger Josh/helper) points him to a house; after some clueless wandering inside this house, Josh ends up on the attic in front of a red door which he recognizes from a drawing of his son Dalton. However, a long haired demon (Deflector) appears and blocks Josh’s way (obstacle); the demon fights  Josh and almost wins until Josh hears Elise’s voice in his head, telling him that he is stronger than the demon because he is still alive (acquiring knowledge and skills) after which Josh pushes the demon far away; behind the red door is the chamber of the Lipstick-Face Demon where Dalton is chained to the floor. Josh tells him that these chains aren’t real (Josh uses his acquired knowledge) after which Dalton’s chains break open.

How is the main character a warrior in Act 2b?
Josh fights against the demons to get Dalton and himself back into their bodies.

How is the main character an martyr in Act 3?
Josh’s body has been taken over by an evil soul from The Further and is now trapped there (not by own choice though, so this is not a pure Martyr aspect).

The QuickPitch Formula:
(O) When a skeptical school teacher hears that his son’s soul is kept prisoner in a spirit world named “The Further” and learns that he too is a spiritual Traveler just as his son, (W) he searches for his son’s soul in “The Further” , (W) only to discover that not only he must fight the demon that is after his son’s body, but also against an evil soul that is after his own, (M) and is (being) forced to give up his body and become trapped in “The Further”.

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Posted by on November 23, 2015 in movies



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by Stephen King (original short story); Matt Greenberg, Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski (screenplay)

It’s an interesting movie to watch, however the movie doesn’t follow the typical hollywood structure close enough to fit the Contour structure. For a starter there isn’t a stakes character which is a major element in a typical Hollywood movie. That’s why I only posted the 1st act which does follow the Contour structure. Trying to fit the rest of the movie in the Contour structure would only result in a forced breakdown (the numbers between brackets are the minutes where these plot points occur).


Who is the main character? – Mike Enslin

What is the main character trying to accomplish?

  • Physical: Escape room 1408.
  • Emotional: Heal the relationship with his ex-wife.
  • Spiritual: Find inner peace over the bad relationship he had with his father.

Who is trying to stop the main character? – Room 1408.

What happens if the main character fails? – If Mike cannot escape from room 1408, he will die.

How is the main character an orphan in Act I?
Mike Enslin is divorced, his daughter died some time ago and he travels around the country alone to debunk paranormal occurrences.

How is the main character a wanderer in Act IIa?
Inside room 1408, Mike examines the room, and experiences unexplainable things: the radio starts to play music by itself. After ripping the clock’s electrical cord from the wall, the display changes into “60:00” and starts counting down from 60 minutes; When Mike is unable to hear anything, he opens the window to check his hearing; the window slams down, wounding his hand; Mikes wants to leave the room to go to a hospital; however his key breaks off; Mike has visions of his daughter in the hospital before her death; Mike sees his own father in a hospital or institution of some kind.

How is the main character a warrior in Act IIb?
Mike tries to get out of room 1408: He crawls through the air vents, where he meets a strange monster; he climbs out the window to enter another room, however suddenly all the other rooms on his floor are gone; he talks with his ex- wife via video-chat on his laptop, till the sprinkler system shorts out his laptop.Later his laptop works again and a person looking like him tells Lili to join him in the room (which would lead to her death.) The room fills with water; Mike is getting sucked under water and wakes up in a hospital. Free! No… Suddenly everything around him breaks down and he’s back in the room, the nightmare continues. The clock resets itself to 60 minutes and counts down, starting the hour of hell from the beginning. Mike gets a phone call, asking him if he wants to take the expressway out; hanging himself. Mike says no. The caller tells him that his wife is on her way to join him.

How is the main character an martyr in Act III?
Mike doesn’t want his ex-wife to get into the same problems as he has and decides to end this now. He sets the room on fire with a Molotov cocktail, sacrificing himself. (So, in fact, the hotel manager gave him the tool to end everything!) There are two versions of this ending: In the theatrical release, Mike Enslin is rescued, in the director’s cut, he dies. Still, dying or surviving, he made the sacrifice by wanting to die so his ex-wife would be saved.


Plot Point 1 – We meet either the Hero, the Victim/Stakes character, or the Antagonist: We see the hero, Mike Enslin, staying the night on the attic in “The Weeping Beach Inn,” a so called haunted hotel. Mike hopes to see any proof of an afterlife in the form of ghosts, but nothing happens.

Plot Point 2 – We see the hero’s flaw in relation to the Stakes Character:(4:50) Mike’s flaw is that he does’t believe in God, ghosts, poltergeists or the paranormal. He tells the four visitors in the bookshop who came to the book signing promotion for his newest book, that he would love to see a real paranormal event, but that he has never seen one.

Plot Point 3 – We meet the Antagonist, or someone or something symbolic of the Antagonist: (9:15) Here we see a symbolic event representing the villain (room 1408): While surfing, Mike almost drowns and awakens on the beach, gasping for air, in exactly the same way as later in the movie when he’s already captured in room 1408 in the Dolphin hotel. It’s a foreshadow of what’s going to happen. Next he goes to the post office where he finds the 1408 postcard. Later in the movie while being captured in room 1804, this office will change back again into the room.

Plot Point 4 – The Deflector slows the hero down, pulling him off the path: Mike calls the Dolphin hotel to reserve room 1408, but is told by Gerald Olin (Deflector), the hotel manager, that this room is unavailable, for ever. Mike talks with his publisher Sam Farrell and lawyer Clay in New York, who tell him that according to the law, if that room is unoccupied the hotel has to give it to him otherwise they can be sued. After a long debate with hotel manager Gerald Olin who is still trying to prevent him from staying in room 1408, Mike gets the key to the room and takes the elevator up. During the elevator ride, hotel manager Olin tells Mike how the room is being cleaned: once a month and always with the door open, but that one maid got trapped some years ago and had taken her own eyes with a pair of scissors. He warns Mike one more time not to go into the room (minutes 11-25).

Plot Point 5 – The Inciting Event happens, causing the hero to become emotionally involved: During the walk from the elevator to the room, Mike looks at the pictures of the victims who died in room 1804 (minutes 26-28).

Plot Point 6 – The hero’s goal is clarified as it relates to the Stakes Character and/or Love Interest. The hero’s problem is made clear to the audience: 28: Mike enters room 1804 and gets comfortable. He is not impressed by what he sees and is convinced that this is again a BS-ghost story. Mike is the stake character as well in this story, so this plot point is about Mike needing to save himself from the room. His disbelief in the paranormal is “his problem” that he needs to fix up till the end of the movie.

Plot Point 7 – An Ally aids the hero by propelling him out of the status quo: 31: The radio starts playing by itself (“it only just begun…”), there are 2 chocolates on the bed and the toilet paper is folded again (Mike ripped off a part earlier). Still, Mike believes that these are only tricks. Mike’s comfort zone is that he doesn’t believe in the evil of room 1804. He says “I have been in this situation before: it’s save.” What he needs is someone/something to wake him up and makes him understand that there is a paranormal dangerous world out there. That something is the radio singing “it only just begun…”.

Plot Point 8 – The hero seems ready to move forward toward a goal and/or Stakes Character, but can’t bring himself to do it: 32: Mike is still not convinced that the room is really evil and analyzes what just happened and concludes that the person who did these things is hiding in the room right now. He doesn’t NEED to free the stakes character (himself) from the villain (the room), because he is not in danger! (Changing your believe is hard and the rational mind raises all sorts of objections).

Plot Point 9 – Conflict with the Antagonist or a Deflector stops the hero or threatens the emotional stakes: 34: The heat in the room has gone up fast and Mike calls the front desk, asking to send someone up to fix this. On the phone we hear the same voice and the same question asked again: are you ready to check out? Mike’s mood has changed from being a non-believer to being a little worried and he wonders how many people must have being sick and died in this bed and that hotel rooms are by nature creepy places. What has been lurking in the background and begins to move forward are show via the room’s actions: turning up the heat and asking again on the phone if Mike wants to check out, in other words, kill himself, by which it’s threatens the stake character (Mike).

Plot Point 10 – The Severity of the treat is being showed: 36: With a UV-light, Mike checks the room in the dark and sees a lot of (normally invisible) spots spread over the furniture and walls; he imagines the persons who must have killed themselves here. The threat and the danger of the room becomes suddenly very real, because there is evident splashed all around the room and what is at risk here is Mike’s life! However, even now, Mike doesn’t feel the need to leave this room, he’s still not committed enough, still doesn’t believe in the paranormal evil which is this room.


Plot Point 11 – A Deflector threatens to take the Stakes Character  from the hero: 39:40 – The radio starts playing loud, again singing the line “It only just began”, meaning trouble is coming your way! The display chances to the number 60 and starts to count down. Mike repeats what the hotel manager had told him earlier: “nobody last more than 1 hour.” Here the villain (room) threatens to take the stakes character which is Mike himself.

Plot Point 12 – The hero decides to save the Stakes Character: 40: Things are getting more intense now: while looking out of the window onto the street, the window shuts down on Mike’s hand with force and wounds him badly. In the bathroom he tries to wash of the blood with cold water, but the water changes into a stream of boiling hot water, making him jump back screaming madly. Back in the bedroom, the radio starts playing loud again. He pulls it from the wall, the countdown display is however still showing, doing his job. The phone rings and he tells the woman on the phone that he is badly wounded and that she wins; he wants to check out immediately. When the woman ignores his request he shouts at her and threatens to sue the hotel. While waiting for the hotel manager to answer to complain about the room, the phone gets disconnected. Now, finally, Mike (being the hero/stakes character) realizes that he’s in real danger and has to get out room 1408 as fast he can.

With this realization, act 1 is complete: Escaping room 1408 alive is the physical goal. We already know Mike’s emotional- (healing the relationship with his ex-wife Lili) and spiritual- (finding inner peace over the bad relationship he had with his father) goals and therefor, Act 1 is completed.


Professional: Will Mike escape room 1408 alive?
Personal: Will Mike heal the relationship with his ex-wife Lili?
Private: Will Mike find inner peace over the bad relationship he had with his father?

André van Haren



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Posted by on November 22, 2015 in movies


Mama (2013)

Mama (2013)

Mama (2013)


Who is the main character?

Annabel. (Jessica Chastain).

What is the main character trying to accomplish?

To stop Mama  (Javier Botet) from killing Lili (Isabelle Nélisse) and Victoria (Megan Charpentier).

Who is trying to stop the main character?


What happens if the main character fails?

Lili and Victoria will be killed

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Posted by on March 25, 2015 in movies


Men in Black 3


  • Who is the main character? – Agent J. (Will Smith).
  • What is the main character trying to accomplish? – To stop Lobo Boris the animal (Jemaine Clement) from killing his friend Agent K. (Tommy Lee Jones) in the past and changing history.
  • Who is trying to stop the main character? – Boris the animal.
  • What happens if the main character fails? – Agent K. will be killed and history will be changed.

For me, the best way to see how a movie relates to Contour is watching it while filling in the blanks at the same time. The above Questions were easy to answer. The next sections take some more time.

While enjoying the movie, I fill in the Archetypes and the plot-points in the 3 Acts at the same time. It’s great to realize how this works in Contour:

The Act plot-points sections are describing the complete movie including all that is happening and all the characters that are involved. The Archetypes section on the other hand shows only how the main character (in this movie Agent J.) goes through these 3 Acts.

So to get a clear picture of what is going on at both levels, I am watching one act at the time (over and over again…) until I understand what is happening in terms of main character development (the Archetypes) and total story development (the Act Plot points). Let’s give it a try…



  • How is the main character an ORPHAN in Act 1? –Agent J. (Will Smith) is an orphan and grew up without a father. He is also being shut out by his friend, Agent K. After having worked with him for 15 years, their relationship is dry and unemotional.



Plot Point 1 – We meet either the Hero, the Victim/Stakes character, or the Antagonist: We meet the Antagonist one-armed Boris the animal (Jemaine Clement) in his prison on the moon where he has been captured for the last 40 years. Boris is set free by his girlfriend Lily (Nicole Scherzinger) and (after letting her die) swears to rewrite history, mentioning K.

Plot Point 2 – We see the hero’s flaw in relation to the Stakes Character: J. and K. are discussing emotion. K. wants to keep this out of his job, J. blames him that he is actually keeping it out of his life and asks him what he is going to say that night on Z.’s funeral (their old friend, the chef of the organisation). J. is worried that K. is too emotional closed and will give the speech without showing any feelings. K. tells him that it’s going to be OK and that he has written a great speech. During the funeral, however, K. only shares some impersonal information about Z. and his friend’s 40 years of working history, empty of any feeling. J. is surprised and disappointed. J. asks his friend what happened to him that he became so emotional closed. K.´s responds is that his secret for living a happy life is that he doesn’t asks questions when he doesn’t want to know the answer.

Plot Point 3 – We meet the Antagonist, or someone or something symbolic of the Antagonist: During an investigation in a fish restaurant where guests were suffering from intestinal problems caused by alien worms, agent J. tells agent K. that he never know his father and that every kid needs one. (This is the Private part of the Central Question that needs to made clear to the audience during Act I).We meet Boris at an electronic shop called “Going out of Business” where he is asking for a device that can let him travel back in time. His goal: to kill a man before he can take his arm.


Contour uses Landmarks. These are periods of more plot-points in which events/information are being showed. During the above plot-points 1-3, a very important Landmark is the mentioning of the Thematic Argument. The Thematic argument/Theme runs through the whole story and will show up at different Plot points/Landmarks. It will be amplified during the Plot point 6 – 8 Landmark in Act I. In Act II, during the 6-7 Yes, No’s, the opposite values of the Theme is stated. In Act III, during the Big Yes/No, the hero will have embraced the positive thematic argument. And finally, in Act III, in the Big No and Final Yes, the Hero will completely embrace and embody the positive values of the thematic question. (also known as “The Hollywood Ending.”)

So what could be the Theme in Men in Black 3? I think it could have something to do with the fact agent K. is emotionally shut down about something that happened to him in the past (I didn’t analyze the complete movie yet. This blog is a project in progress and will change while discovering things myself). For now, I believe the Thematic Argument could be when agent K. tells agent J. in plot point 2: “Don’t ask questions when you don’t want to know the answer”. Let’s see how this holds up during the rest of the movie.

Plot Point 4 – The Deflector slows the hero down, pulling him off the path: This plot point is actually happening in plot point 5 in the movie. This happens. After all, not all movies follow exactly the Contour structure because they aren’t all constructed with it. The Deflector is O. (Emma Thompson). While J. is searching for his friend K., O. keeps on telling him that K. doesn’t exists.

Plot Point 5 – The Inciting Event happens, causing the hero to become emotionally involved: J. finds out that his friend agent K. who he met the day before, is already dead for the last 40 years.

J. visits K.’s house, but he doesn’t live there anymore. For a reason he doesn’t understand, J. feels the need for chocolate milk that he grasps out of a child’s hand. – At the office, an agent in the elevator talks to J. as if he knows him. J. has no idea who this person is. It turns out to be his partner, agent W. – J. searches for K. but nobody knows him. O. tells him that K. is already dead for over 40 years and has been killed by Boris the animal. O. starts to realise that something weird is going on after seeing his longing for chocolate milk, and the fact that he experiences headaches, lost of balance, agitation and depressions. This could mean that there is a break in the timeline. – They suspect that Boris has time traveled and changed history. At that moment, an alien race called the Boglodites (Boris’ race), enters the solar system, planning to invade Earth. J. suggests to activate the ArcNet Shield (Earth Defense System) that was installed by agent K. However, K. has been killed 40 years ago, meaning that this system was never put in place.

Plot Point 6 – The hero’s goal is clarified as it relates to the Stakes Character and/or Love Interest. The hero’s problem is made clear to the audience: The only way to save Earth is by preventing K. from being killed by Boris in the past. O. tells him that he needs to find Jeffrey Price (Michael Chernus). His father created a device that makes time traveling possible. (This is he Professional part of the Central Question that needs to made clear to the audience during Act I).

Plot Point 7 – An Ally aids the hero by propelling him out of the status quo: J. meets Jeffrey Price, owner of the “Going out of Business” shop, and convinces him that he needs to travel back in time to prevent Boris the animal from killing his very good friend agent K. (This is the Personal part of the Central Question that needs to made clear to the audience during Act I). At first, Jeffrey doesn’t want to help him but when he sees on the T.V.s in his shop how the Boglodites are invading Earth, he is happy to help. He shows J. the time travel device and helps him to literally Time Jump from the top of a skyscraper to the year 1969.

Plot Point 8 – The hero seems ready to move forward toward a goal and/or Stakes Character, but can’t bring himself to do it: J. has his moments of fear to jump of the building (who wouldn’t!). “I’m not jumping of this building!”

Plot Point 9 – Conflict with the Antagonist or a Deflector stops the hero or threatens the emotional stakes: J. jumps of the building while being attacked by a Boglodite invader who hits the Time traveling device out of his hand. Without this, J. will hit the ground dead. But just in time he grasps the device, travels through a couple of important historical event and ends up in 1969.

Plot Point 10 – The Severity of the treat is being showed: Boris arrives on a motorcycle in an amusement park on Coney Island, where he is searching for the ArcNet device. He asks Roman the Fabulist about the Arkadian who is about to give the ArcNet device to the humans to protect Earth. Roman refuses to tell this and so Boris kills him. If Boris is able to get his hands on this device, his race (the Boglodites) can invade Earth. That’s a pretty big threat!

The depth of feeling between the hero and the stakes character is made clear:
After J. arrives in a stolen car on Coney Island and seeing Boris jumping around, he meets the younger version of agent K. (Josh Brolin). J. is extremely happy to see him and jumps at him with the intention to huge him, however agent K. thinks that he is attacking him and teasers J. into unconsciousness.

(Question: how did J. get on his glasses so fast after being pulled over by the police and they used the neuralizer on themselves?)

Plot Point 11 – A Deflector (younger agent K:) threatens to take the Stakes Character (older agent K.) from the hero (agent J.). If the younger K. erases J.’s memory, Boris will succeed in killing the older K. – J. wakes up in the headquarters of Men in Black (1969). After a short interrogation in which agent J. tells one lie after the other, young agent K. decides to neuralize the other’s memory. Just before this happens, J. tells him why he is here: he is a Men in Black agent from the future. He is here to prevent the Boglodites from invading Earth and Boris from killing Young agent K. And they have only about 90 hours to prevent this from happening!

Plot Point 12 – The hero decides to save the Stakes Character: Agent K. believes this story immediately. They leave the office, starting their search for Boris.

This is the complete Act I. The setup is done and we know now what the story is about. To make this even more clear to the audience, three questions about what the Hero´s goal is in this story have to be clear to the audience:


Professional: Will agent J. kill Boris the animal and install the ArcNet device to prevent the Boglodites from invading future Earth?
Personal: Will agent J. kill Boris and save his friend, K.?
Private: Will agent J. accept the fact that he never knew his father?

Once the Central Question is definitively answered yes or no, the film is over.

After having filled in Act I and the Central Question, I turn to the Formula to fill in the A-statement:


When an overconfident Man in Black agent:
A: finds out that his best friend is already dead for the last 40 years and Earth is on the point of being invaded by an alien race, just after an alien prisoner escaped from prison and has traveled back to the past,



  • How is the main character a WANDERER in Act 2? – J. returns to 1969 to find to how to stop Old Boris from killing young agent K.



Yes-No’s 1 — 3

Yes 1: J and young K in the car, starting their search for Boris (The hero gets help from Allies and Aides, often in the form of a Mentor Character). Again, there is the mention that they don’t communicate in the future as partners (K: “What kind of partners are sitting in the car all day every day for 14 years and don’t talk?” J: “Exactly!”). This seems to be the theme of this movie. Young K shows J a matchbook that he found on Roman the Fabulist’s dead body. They head to the address on it: Cosmic Bowling Lanes (Hero begins the learning process).

No 1: At Cosmic Bowling Lanes, J and young K meet two employees and demands to see their boss. The men refuse to help after which J shows up and uses a man’s head as bowling ball until he agrees to let them talk to his boss (The hero meets with low-level opposition). However, the boss turns out to be killed by Boris’ hand spikes. It’s clear that there is a romantic thing going on between K and O while they talk on the phone (the love story, comedic runner, or secondary story begins in earnest). New clue: Young K realises that both victims are from the same solar system. Another planet in that solar system is Glamouria where all supermodels on Earth come from. Young K and J head to the place where the supermodels hang out: “The Factory” (hero’s learning process continues).

Yes 2: At The Factory, they interrogate Andy Warhol (Bill Hader), who is actually an undercover MIB officer.

No 2: Andy tells young K that their information is wrong, the third planet in the solar system is not Glamouria, it’s Arkadia. The only Arkadian on Earth is a guy named Griffin (learning process). This is the guy Boris is after to steal the ArcNet from and kill.

Yes 3: Griffin (Michael Stuhlbarg) is at this party as well. He is a 5th dimension alien and can see all possible futures at once, but never knows which one is about to happen. Griffin touches the subject of J’s Father who gave him a watch (C.Q.: private problem). Griffin also tells Young K and J that he has the ArcNet (hero gets help from Allies).

No 3: However, Griffin has hidden the ArcNet because he knows that Young Boris is about to burst through the door and tells them that if they can find him again, he will give it to them. He gives them a clue by saying: “what a game, amazing, it’s a real miracle” (learning process). Based on the events around him, Griffin predicts what’s going to happen and runs off. Seconds later, Young Boris bursts through the door. Young K and J chase after him and Griffin, but lose them both (low-level opposition). J is desperate now they lost both Griffin and Young Boris.

Yes 4: In a coffee shop while eating pie: Young K talks about his relation with O in a happy mood after which J asks him what happened with him that he became so closed later on. Young K says that he doesn’t know this because it didn’t happen yet (C.Q. Personal problem). J realises what Griffin meant when he said “what a game, amazing, it’s a real miracle” and know now where to find him: the football stadium where the Mets are about to win the World Series for the first time. J and young K head over to the arena, where Griffin is watching a future version of the Mets game. Griffin touches Young K and J so they can see the future for a second as well. Griffin gives the ArcNet that will save the world from the Boglodites to J. (C.Q. Professional problem).

No 4: However, Griffin was so distracted by the story he was telling that he missed a possible coming future: young Boris zooms in on a motorcycle and snatches Griffin, taking the ArcNet with them.

Yes 5: Young K and J race back to the car to grab their own MIB space cycles, and chase after him. They use the “Texas Two-Step” move K taught J in the future to snatch Griffin and crash Young Boris’ motorcycle. Young Boris manages to escape with what he thinks is the ArcNet. Griffin and the ArcNet device are save with J and young K!

No 5: However, meanwhile, Old Boris has arrived in the past, the morning of July 16th 1969, and he heads to the warehouse where he knows his younger self likes to hang out. He tries to warn Young Boris that he’s about to get his arm shot off, but Young Boris is pretty cocky and doesn’t want to listen. Young Boris opens the box that he believes contains the ArcNet, and realizes it’s empty. He is furious, and agrees to do what Old Boris says.

HINT: Something that really helps me to stay on track within Contour and the movie is translating the Landmark-comments given by Contour into the movie itself. For example, the Landmarks for the Yes/No’s 6 – 7 reversals would be: K.’s life is brought in serious danger by Boris. – FINAL YES solution is shown, but J. is not recognising the importance of it right now. – Opposite value of Theme is stated: (maybe, “Earth isn’t worth anything” by Boris?) – J knows now how to save the world and his friend, J. – Boris’ plan is explained by/to J or to others. – J arrives at Cape Canaveral.

Yes 6: Griffin gives the ArcNet to J and young K, and tells them that it has to be brought into space with the help of the rocket launch on Cape Canaveral. The device will expand in space and protect the Earth against the Boglodite invasion.

No 6: The threat to the Stakes Character increases to the point of life or death/Boris’ plan is explained by/to J. or to others: However, J tells young K that he can’t go to Florida to put the ArcNet on the rocket because he will be killed by Boris. Griffin tells J that young K has to do it as he did before, only he can save the Earth.

FINAL YES solution is shown, but J. is not recognising the importance of it right now: When J asks Griffin if he will be able to saves K’s life, he gives him a hint: “Yes, but where there is death, there will always be death.” J doesn’t understand what Griffin means.

Yes 7: All 3 of them return to the MIB office where they meet O. Young K asks J if they will have a good relation in the future on which J answers: “Don’t ask questions if you don’t want to know the answer” (Opposite value of Theme is stated?). – Young K, J and Griff strap on jet-packs to fly to Florida because they don’t have that much time left till the launch of the rocket. – There is a short romantic moment between young K and O (C.Q. Personal).

The hero knows all of the rules: J knows now what to do to save both Earth and K. Time to travel towards the Warrior section!

The hero enters the Villain’s world: J, young K and Griffin arrive at Cape Canaveral.

No 7: However, at the entrance of launch base they are immediately stopped by a group of soldiers.

MIB 3 is 1 hour and 40 minutes in length. At this point the movie is at 1 hour and 20 minutes, this means that there are only 20 minutes left for the complete Warrior and Martyr section! According to the Contour system (and actually most screenplay structure systems), the second act is made of 2 equal length parts, this is clearly not the case in this movie.

Having filled in the Wanderer section, it’s time to fill in the Wanderer statement in the Formula:

FORMULA (continuing):

B: he learns that he needs to travel back to the past as well to stop the alien from killing his friend, giving him the chance to install the a device that will protect Earth agains the alien’s invasion,



  • How is the main character a WARRIOR in Act 2? – Agent J teams up with the young Agent K and Griffin to fight the young and old Boris.



Yes-No’s 8 — 10

Yes 8: J wants to use the neuralizer on the soldiers, but Griffin tells him that the only reality in which the ArcNet is successfully installed, is the one they tell the truth. So J tells the soldiers that they are MIB from the future and need to put a device on the top of the rocket to avoid an alien invasion (the hero makes a direct attempt to resolve the Central Question).

No 8: The soldiers do not believe this story and arrest them. The commander arrives and is questioning them, telling them to NOT lie to him. However he doesn’t believe the story either.

Yes 9: Griffin touches the commander’s arm and shows him just a little glimpse of the future, this convinces the commander of the importance of their task and leads them to the rocket (the hero meets with some initial success, although this was not the work of the hero but of his ally/mentor figure Griffin). In the elevator, Young K compliments J that he is a good man and that he can see why he recruited him, on which J asks him again: “what happened to you?”, that he changed so much in the future. Young K answers: “I told you, It didn’t happen yet.” (C.Q. Personal/The thematic question is being discussed?).

No 9: They are being attacked by old Boris. J falls out the elevator while young K continues to the top. Old Boris throws J of the platform and thinking that he is dead, goes after young K (the Villain tightens the screws on the hero’s goal).

I was wondering for some while if it shouldn’t be J, being the hero in this story, who should go to the top of the rocket to place the ArcNet. But according to the story, it’s K who has to do this because this is what he did in real Earth’s history before Boris changed it. So it’s J’s job to make sure things are being done the way they are suppose to happen and keeping Boris out of K’s way.

Yes 10: At the top of the scaffolding, young K climbs towards the rocket’s head to attach the ArcNet (action to resolve the Central Question).

No 10: However, young Boris attacks young K, making him loose the ArcNet which falls on the platform floor, almost falling off (the Villain tightens the screws on the hero’s goal).

Yes 11: Young K shoots at young Boris which makes him jump of the platform. J is on his way to help young K. Young K is on his way to pick up the ArcNet of the floor (Intense, direct conflict takes place between the hero and the opposing force/Villain).

No 11: However, while from above Boris aims his spikes at young K, the whole platform is moving because of the coming rocket’s launch, making all of them (including the ArcNet) almost falling of. Young K’s foot is getting stuck and he can’t move. The rocket’s launch is getting closer now, counting down. Old Boris aims his spikes at young K from above.

Yes 12: Just before Old Boris shoots his spikes at young K, he gets hit down from behind by J.

No 12: However, old Boris isn’t impressed and trows J of the platform (the hero realizes he still lacks the skills needed to succeed). – J is able to grasp the platform before falling to his death (the hero enters his darkest internal space, often physically expressed by a tight, enclosed place).  – Young K is still stuck and unable to free himself and Boris is aiming his spikes at him again, this time it seems that he will kill him.

Yes 13: J insults Boris to get his attention by calling him Boris the Animal (the hero emerges from his near death) – J’s insult works: Old Boris pulls him from his awkward hanging life threatening position and tells him: “It’s just Boris!” J tells him that he is going to loose.

No 13: However, Boris throws J way back on the platform and returns to point his deadly spikes at young K who is still struggling to free himself.  J looks desperate at how his friend is going to be killed, unable to save him as he was planned to do (“What’s the worst that can happen?” happens. The Villain gains the ultimate upper hand.)

There isn’t a No. 14 Yes-No reversal in this movie, we go straight to Act III in which J the hero will make a sacrifice (kind of…).

Having filled in the Warrior section, it’s time to fill in the Warrior statement in the Formula:

FORMULA (continuing):

C: Only to discover that he has to fight against the future and present alien apperance to save his friend and the ArcNet device, while at the same time getting of the rocket in time to avoid becoming vaporised by it’s starting engines,



  • How is the main character a MARTYR in Act 3? – Agent J risks his life by throwing himself and Boris from the high rocket scaffolding (although because of the possibly of the Time travel device, this isn’t a real sacrifice).



BIG YES: J provokes Old Boris by calling him an Animal and gestures him to fight him. Old Boris stops his plan of shooting spikes at young K and shoots them at J instead. J runs towards Old Boris while being hit and jumps of the platform while holding him. On their way down, J activates the time travel device which brings both of them back to the moment before this last attack. Again, J insults him and gets shot at by Old Boris. But this time knows what is going to happen and avoids being hit by the spikes and falling of the platform. He kicks Old Boris of who falls into the depth.

Young K still stuck is being attacked by young Boris who grasps the ArcNet. Young K grasps his gun and blasts young Boris arm off, young Boris falls of the platform, leaving the ArcNet behind.

Young K grasps the ArcNet and runs towards the rocket top that is going to be launched any moment now. He attaches the ArcNet to the top. Now it’s time to get off the rocket!

Young K slides down to the beach where the commander is waiting for him. – Old Boris is burned in the flames when the rocket takes off. – J slides down to the beach in another slider, watching young K and the commander talking and the rocket being launched. – C.Q. Professional Conflict is solved: The ArcNet installs itself around Earth, avoiding the future attack from the Boglodites.

NO: J watches from the bushes while Young K chats with the commander. Young Boris jumps out and shoots the commander in the head with his palm spike. Young K pulls his gun and Young Boris says, “Go ahead, arrest me.” Young K says, “Not this time,” and shoots Young Boris dead: C.Q. Personal Conflict solved: Young K kills and not arrests young Boris, avoiding that he will be killed by the future Boris.

BIG NO: An adorable little black boy runs over and says, “Daddy, Daddy! What happened to my daddy!” Obviously it’s Young J. Young K says, “There’s one thing you need to know, son. Your father is a hero.” C.Q. Private Conflict solved: J understands that the black commander is his father and the little boy himself when he sees the watch in the little boy’s hands. This makes him also understand what the secret is that K never wanted to tell him and that made him emotional closed for the rest of his life. J understands now that K had know him all his life and taken care of him.

FINAL YES:  J. travels back to the future. – J and old K in the restaurant. J shows him the watch his father give him. K understands and is finally at peace that this secret between them is in the open.

And here is the last part of the Formula:

Having filled in the Martyr section, it’s time to fill in the Martyr statement in the Formula:

FORMULA (continuing):

D: and he understand that the only way to save his partner and Earth is by throwing himself from the rocket platform while holding the alien, falling to his own death (although it helps to have a Time Travel Device to fix this!)

There you have it, my first complete movie break down in Contour! It’s interesting to see that the movie follows the Contour structure pretty close and only misses it on a couple of moments.



Posted by on July 24, 2012 in movies


My love for movies

Hello and Welcome!

My name is André van Haren, and this is my first post on this blog. It’s going to be about movies and about a way of looking at them, using Contour.

Contour is a software program created by Mariner Software and is based on a movie structure approach by Jeffrey Alan Schechter.

I am not a screenwriter, nor am I part of the above mentioned company. My reason for starting this blog is completely out of love for movies and my love for seeing how they tick, why they work, and after trying out a lot of story structure systems I decided that for me, Contour is the one I want to work with.

In my daily life I work as a composer, arranger and music engraver, which takes up a lot of my time. Because of that, this blog will not be updated daily, but I hope to post at least one movie breakdown a month.

Movie breakdowns will be posted one section at the time, when ever I can find a free moment in my busy life and will follow the work flow as used in the Contour software:

Questions – Archetypes – Formula – Orphan – Wanderer – Warrior – Martyr.

I am curious to see how movies will fit in the Contour story-structure approach. Although Contour can in my opinion deliver a good structured story, not all stories are made with Contour what probably will leave me with empty or half filled in Plot Points in the Acts Sections in Contour. So be it.

I am open to discussions with other Contour Users and Film Lovers, so just drop me a post when ever you see something that could be/should be/Really Should Be broken down different. Also, because I will post a movie breakdown piece by piece, jump in whenever you feel like it and make comments on the section I am working on.

Now let’s have fun…


Posted by on July 19, 2012 in Uncategorized



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