Writer/Instructor and Script Consultant Shannan an E. Johnson (The Professional Pen): We need to know what it is, period. We need to know what they’re trying to achieve so that we can track the progress or regress of it.
Film Courage: How can you explain smart goals for your protagonist?
Shannan: Good question. I actually do a series called story elements on my Youtube channel and one of them is on goals and I talk about smart goals. Smart goals is an acronym for Specific-Measurable-Attainable-Relevant and Time-Bound. Smart goals actually was not created for story but it works so I have adapted it from a business model to use it to teach my students how to make goals for their protagonists. Specific means we need to know what it is, period. We need to know what they’re trying to achieve so that we can track the progress or regress of it. How will we know that they were successful if we don’t know what they were looking for in the first place? Your goal needs to be specific. The second one is Measurable. That again goes back to being able to track it. We need to know are they getting closer to it or farther from it which is why I always talk about your external goal being the personification of the internal goal. If someone’s goal is to not grieve anymore, how do I track that? What does that look like and if you can attach grieving to something external or not grieving to something external then we’ll know that when they reach that external thing. Then they reach the goal and their grief has probably subsided. The third one is…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).
CONNECT WITH SHANNAN E. JOHNSON
After grad school I became a junior creative executive at NBCUniversal at the Syfy Channel. I was there for the rebrand. Remember Sci Fi? Yeah, not really. Anywho, it was my job to help writers and producers take their ideas from pitch to production. I co-exec’d on Alphas, Being Human, Haven, Sanctuary, Warehouse 13, and more Syfy dramedies. This is how I honed my skill in all stages of the screenwriting process…(read more here).
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